How to find the best real estate agent for you
Buying a home is a huge commitment, so how do you find a reputable real estate agent to guide you along the way? You'll need t…o know where to look and how to tell if a prospective agent is right for you.
Where to look
1. Referrals are by far the best way to find a good agent. A friend, family member or co-worker who has recently bought a home can give you an honest opinion of his or her agent's performance. You need to get to know the agent yourself to make sure that person is a fit for you, but referrals are a great start. Just make sure the referral relates to a home purchased within the last year. The real estate market changes so quickly, and you want someone who is up to speed.
2. Online real estate sites feature agents attached to each listed property. Besides a name and phone number, you can find a short biography describing experience, a listing of homes they've represented for buyers and sellers, pictures and prices of those homes and even client reviews. You can take your research a step further by visiting the agent's website and social media sites and emailing the agent with questions.
3. Open houses give you the opportunity to meet agents face to face and get a feel for what kind of personality you feel comfortable with. You can get an idea of an agent's knowledge of the market by asking about the particular home they are showing and how it compares to similar homes in the area. If the showing agent does not represent the sellers, he may not have that information, but should get your name and contact information to call you back with answers. If you think an agent might be the one for you, you can always take his or her card and make contact later.
How you know if an agent is right for you?
Once you've found a potential agent, you'll need to ask him or her a few questions about the market and how he or she works, before committing to a partnership. Use some basic questions about the market or their experience levels to uncover whether or not this is the right person to partner with.
After getting to know an agent a little, ask yourself if you think this person would be a competent advisor who would protect your best interests. More importantly, ask yourself if you like and feel comfortable with the agent and if you communicate easily with this person.
Be honest with yourself and don't settle for someone you don't feel is right for you. Finding and buying a home can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. You want to be able to talk with and trust this person, so take your time in making your choice.
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