How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent for You
Finding a trusted real estate agent to help you in your home buying or selling journey is important. You're investing your time and money, so of course you want a real estate professional who is reliable and effective to help you navigate the real estate market with ease and efficiency. But how do you go about finding the best realtor to fit your needs? How do you know you'll have a good working relationship and a positive experience with the outcomes you desire? Good questions! Here are a few tips to help you find the best real estate agent for you.
Know the Credentials
Have you ever wondered what all of those letters after a real estate agent's name mean? You're not the only one. It's best to familiarize yourself with real estate titles and credentials to give you a feel for what specialties and training real estate agents have acquired in their field. That can help you to make an informed decision and assist you in choosing a real estate professional who has the knowledge and experience that is most helpful for your personal situation. A few of the most common terms, titles and credentials are listed below.
- Real Estate Agent: Anyone who’s earned a license to sell property, which typically entails taking 100+ hours of course work and passing a state exam.
- Broker: Someone who’s continued his studies and can hire agents to work under him.
- Realtor: Either an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and has formally pledged to adhere to support a code of ethics.
- CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): An agent who has completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
- ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative): An agent who has completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
- GRI (Graduate, REALTOR Institute): A real estate professional who has achieved a national designation that requires a skill level across the entire landscape of real estate with in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, and the sales process.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): An agent who has completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
- SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification): An agent who is certified in helping buyers and sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales and foreclosures.
Do Your Research
As with any investment, doing some research in advance is worth the time and effort. There are several ways you can do this.
- Research Online: Learn more about your potential real estate professionals' web presence and get a feel for their online profile by visiting their webpage, viewing their listings and paying attention to any comments or recommendations you come across in your research.
- Ask Around: Asking your friends and neighbors for recommendations is often a first step in the right direction. Word of mouth speaks volumes in this industry. But don't stop there.
- Meet with the Realtor in Person: Phone calls, emails and texts can only go so far. It's important to meet with potential agents in person and talk face-to-face. How real estate agents present themselves is important, as they will be a liaison and point of contact for you and the other parties in your real estate endeavor. First impressions matter.
- Talk to More Than One Real Estate Agent: Don't rush through and just go with the first agent you talk to. Speak with at least a few professionals in the field and compare and contrast what they have to offer. Seek out the qualities you deem most important when working with someone and don't be afraid to ask questions and get clarification when needed.
Having a list of important questions to ask your realtor can give you many of the answers you're seeking. This is better accomplished in person, but even if it's over the phone, you'll have a baseline for the experience and knowledge of the agent you may choose to work with. Some important questions to ask are as follows.
- How long have you been a real estate agent? You want a seasoned agent with at least a few years of experience under their belt.
- How long have you lived and/or worked in the area? Having familiarity, experience and a local working knowledge of the area is definitely a plus.
- Are you an independent agent or do your work with a team? Standalone agents are a viable option, but don't overlook the value of your agent being part of a team. Oftentimes you'll have additional resources available to you if your particular agent happens to have an extremely busy day and isn't available at your moment of need.
- What is your schedule? Make sure your schedules are compatible and that you'll be able to communicate or meet up when necessary.
- Do you have any areas of specialty? Learn more about the strengths and experience of the realtor and if they match your real estate needs.
Review the Agent's Real Estate Listings & History
There is no better predictor future behavior than the past. Explore your potential agent's current listings and talk to people they've worked with in the past year.
- Check Out Current Listings: See what properties the agent currently has on the market. Look at the real estate company's page and their individual page (if they have one), as well as on other sites like Realtor.com or the Multiple Listing Service.
- Make Sure Listings Look Appealing and Professional: You want a realtor who has expertise in making the most of the marketing for your home. Look for appealing online listings that offer comprehensive information, highlight the best features of the property, and display a professional appearance.
- Talk to Past Clients for More Insight: Don't be afraid to ask for at least a few of the agent's previous clients and speak with them. It is also helpful to request a list of what that agent has sold in the past year with a list of contact points for you to reference.
Are you looking for professional and experienced real estate agents in Emerald Isle, NC? Let Sun-Surf Realty's real estate professionals work for you and help you to make the dream of owning coastal property a happy reality. Let us know how we can help!
What do you look for in a real estate agent? What traits and qualities stand out to you?