One of the most important steps to buy a house is to find a good real estate agent. As the seller typically pays the commission fees, there’s really no reason for any buyer not to hire one. The only question is, what qualities to look for to ensure you’re getting the best?
Experience in the Local Housing Market
The agent must have a good understanding of the local housing market you’re searching in. They should know all about a city’s neighborhoods, such as which communities are best for families and which areas are best for singles or retirees, for example. They’ll also be aware of the types of homes that are getting the highest offers and which have been sitting for weeks or months.
The benefits of an experienced realtor are many, but one you may not consider is that they will also have an in-depth knowledge of the local real estate laws. It takes time working in a particular area to get familiar with it, including everything from rules and regulations to property values.
If you can’t trust your real estate agent to give you good advice and help you handle problems as they arise, you’re better off with someone else. Honesty and reliability are critical characteristics for a positive homebuying experience. The only way to truly know if the agent you’re considering has those qualities is to talk to previous clients. But don’t just ask for references, as the agent will give you only the names of those who’ve had the best experiences.
Ask realtors for the contact information of their most recent clients and follow through by making phone calls (or emails). Some of the questions you might ask include how helpful the agent was, whether they felt pushed into making a quick decision, what their availability was like, and if any issues arose, how they were handled, and what the outcome was.
When such a significant amount of money is involved, you have to be able to trust that your realtor will do the right thing.
Motivated and Responsive
The agent may be one of the kindest people you’ve ever met, but if they aren’t really motivated to find the home you want, it makes the entire process more challenging. You don’t want to have to chase them down to get answers to questions, as many are bound to come up. They should be quick to respond while helping you negotiate the entire process.
Good Communication Skills
You need a real estate professional who listens to you and communicates well. This not only goes a long way in the negotiation process but everything from start to finish. By listening, they’ll understand what you want in a home and its location, as well as the importance of sticking to your budget. Of course, as mentioned, this also carries over to keeping in touch with you regularly while responding to your phone calls and emails promptly.
A Vast Network of Connections
In real estate, it’s all about who you know. The agent you choose should have a long list of contacts within the market they serve to provide buyers with the best experience. That includes brokers and other realtors, as well as other players in the industry, like home inspectors, appraisers, and mortgage loan officers.
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