When you're ready to buy or sell a home, it's important to choose a real estate agent that you can trust. After all, buying or selling property is a major financial endeavor, and a realtor is your advocate during this process. With so many realtors available across the country, how can you be sure that you're choosing the right person for the job? Here are some tips for finding the best realtor for you:
Know what you are looking for
Knowing what your looking for is the first step in choosing the best realtor to work with. If you are, for instance, looking to enter the Buckhead real estate market as a seller, you’ll want to work with a Buckhead realtor, as opposed to an Atlanta realtor who primarily works in other parts of the city. Within a large city such as Atlanta
, each neighborhood’s real estate market has nuances and trends influencing home sales. These trends can turn on a dime, so it’s important to find a realtor who is an expert in your area’s real estate market.
The ideal realtor has a history of buying and selling the type of home in the same neighborhood at a similar price point to yours. By identifying these parameters beforehand, you will have an easier time finding an agent whose background and experience best align with your needs.
Research and ask for recommendations
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Once your know what you are looking for, follow these steps to identify the best candidates.
Begin researching local real estate agents online. When searching, utilize each agent’s webpage. Their website should include client testimonials and other crucial information to decide if they are the right fit. Look into how long they’ve been in the business, what awards and accolades they've achieved, and other benchmarks and milestones that signify prowess as a realtor in your desired area.
Ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations. If someone you trust has had a good experience with a particular realtor, that's a good sign that you will too. Conversely, if you hear of any red flags with certain realtors, take note.
Visit your desired neighborhoods and check out “for sale” signs. See who is listing homes in the area. This will give you a sense of which realtors have a foothold in the places you are looking to buy or sell. Online third-party resources can also be useful in researching which realtors have the most experience in a given area. Oftentimes, a single realtor or a few realtors will dominate a neighborhood’s real estate transactions. These realtors will make strong candidates.
Schedule consultations with a few different realtors to get a feel for their personalities and see how well you connect with them. Ultimately, you want to find a realtor that you trust as an advocate for your needs. Find someone with excellent communication skills.
Choosing a realtor is an important decision, but if you take the time to do your research, you can be confident that you'll find the right person for the job.
Consider attending a realtor’s open house
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One of the best ways to get a sense of whether or not you will be confident working with a particular realtor is to attend one or more of their open houses. This is a chance to see them in action and get a feel for their style and approach. Pay attention to how they interact with potential buyers, what kind of information they share about the property, and how they handle questions and concerns. By taking the time to attend an open house and observing a realtor in action, you can get a good sense of whether or not that particular realtor is the right fit for you.
Meet with potential realtors to see if they are a good fit
Once you’ve identified a batch of qualified candidates, schedule interviews. Here are some questions to ask potential realtors:
If you're a buyer:
How familiar are you with the area I'm interested in?
What types of homes do you normally work with?
What's your process for helping buyers find their dream homes?
What are your thoughts on negotiating the price?
If you're a seller:
- How familiar are you with the current market conditions in my area?
- What's your strategy for pricing my home?
- How will you market my property?
- What's your experience with staging homes?
Here are some tips for making the most out of interviews with potential realtors, whether you are buying or selling:
Take note of how well they listen to your needs and answer your questions. Pay attention to whether they seem truly interested in helping you find your dream home or are simply trying to make a quick sale.
Ask about their experience in the industry and get a sense of their track record.
Trust your gut - if you don't feel comfortable with someone, move on to someone else.
Interviewing at least three agents is recommended, especially for first-time buyers. While it may be tempting to go with the first realtor you interview, interviewing a few will give you a stronger sense of your selections, allowing you to make a more informed decision.
Follow up regularly to ensure you are getting what you expect
Once you hire a realtor, it is important to ensure that they are holding up their end of the deal. Streamlining communication and having a contract in place will help to make this process much smoother. If you decide later on that the realtor isn't working out for you, don't be afraid to end the relationship and find someone new. While this should always be seen as a last resort, it is important to work with an agent who you feel comfortable with and who is providing you with the service that you need.
Looking to buy or sell an Atlanta area home? Expert realtor Heather Cummings would be happy to help you start the process.
*Header photo courtesy of Pexels