In 2020, there were more than 3 million people who held a real estate license. There is no shortage of real estate agents available to help you buy or sell your home. But how do you choose the one that is right for you? Selecting the right person is critical to a successful experience, whether you are looking for a new place to call home or wanting to sell your current house. This guide can help you find a realtor who works for you.
Get Prepared Before You Find a Realtor
Before you begin the process of looking for someone to help you buy or sell a property, make sure you’re ready. Getting prepared reduces the stress of the process and can save you time in the long run.
As a buyer, it’s important that you understand the mortgage process and know what you can afford for your new residence. Take into consideration what you can reasonably allow for a down payment. Down payments can range anywhere from 3% to 20% and impact your loan amounts and interest rates.
When possible, secure your loan before you find a realtor. It saves the guesswork in determining how much house you can afford. With this information in hand, you can come up with a list of features you want in your new home. Be sure to designate non-negotiable versus wish-list items. Get an idea of what neighborhoods you prefer as well to help narrow the search.
When selling your house, do as much as you can to get it ready for listing before you place it on the market. You should start the process as early as possible to allow time for any remodeling or major repairs needed to sell quickly.
When you find a realtor, an agent can help you determine what changes or repairs are critical for selling.
Know What To Look For When You Find a Realtor
Whether you’re buying or selling, getting the right person to walk you through the process is essential. You need to know that the realtor has your best interests in mind. That they have the experience to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. Here are a few things to look for in an agent.
Experience in the Role You Need
All licensed agents must meet certain requirements to obtain licensure. Each state has its own licensing standards and regulations, but they all generally include:
- Education standards
- Age requirements
- Real estate course completion requirements
- Licensing exams
- Background checks
- Continuing education requirements
While you want to find realtors who are licensed, you also want to know that they have experience as an agent for buyers or sellers, depending on the role you need.
Geographical Expertise in the Target Location
Working with an agent who knows the local real estate is important. Realtors with experience buying or selling in your target area understand the local market. If you’re buying a home, find a realtor with local expertise who can give you advice on neighborhoods that fit your needs with homes that match your requirements. When selling, a local expert can tell you what buyers are looking for in your area and what homes are selling for. In both cases, realtors with specialized knowledge of your target location understand the trends in the local market.
Degree of Commitment and Availability
There is nothing quite as frustrating for sellers or buyers as realtors who don’t seem invested in their outcomes or isn’t available when needed. Some real estate agents only work part time and may not have consistent availability. Likewise, when realtors get overbooked, they may not be available for last-minute showings. Some buyers and sellers find working with a team of realtors serves their needs better than working with an individual realtor.
If you’re selling your home, find a realtor who charges within the going rates for commission. Though there are no official rates established, most agents charge between 5% and 6% of the sale price. The seller generally pays the commission fees, and the listing and buying agents split the fees collected between them. Depending on the agent, the market, and the expected sales price of your home, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate.
Do Your Research on Local Realtors
When you’re ready to hire a real estate professional, do some research on agents in your area. With potentially thousands of people to choose from, narrowing your options helps you find a realtor quickly. You can talk to friends and family who have recently bought or sold a house to find out what their experiences were. If they have recommendations for you, put their agents on your list of potentials.
It’s also a good idea to expand your list to include realtors who specifically match your criteria. Searching through a database that allows you to establish search criteria can help you develop a list of agents that meet your unique needs. Though personal recommendations are great, seeing firsthand what type of experience and specializations realtors have, along with published ratings and reviews, can give you a better idea of which agents are right for you.
Finalize Your Choice
Once you’ve created your list of finalists, conduct a few interviews to find a realtor who fits the bill for what you’re looking for. Make sure every potential agent answers any questions you may have about what to expect when you work with him or her. Creating a pros and cons list for each one can help you make your final choice, but you should also trust your gut and go with someone you feel comfortable working with.
Use a Trusted Source To Find a Realtor
FastExpert has helped over 400,000 clients find a realtor. Our database connects you with agents in your area who are qualified, experienced and able to meet your needs. Getting results is fast, easy and free. If you have any questions or need any help, get in touch with a member of our team.