When it’s time to move home, you will probably need to employ the services of a real estate agent. Around 83% of movers choose to use a real estate agent to help them navigate the complicated process of buying and selling homes. Unfortunately, not all real estate agents are created equally. You can trust that they all want to make a sale because they will be getting a fat commission check at the end of it. However, some of them truly want to help you. Others want to get as much out of you as possible. Here’s how to choose the right real estate agent.
Check out the local housing market in person
One of the best ways to get ahead of your real estate agent is to check out the local housing market in person. A bit of local knowledge will stand you in good stead when you’re talking to them about your move. It’s also a great way to find a new estate agent. Walk or drive around the neighborhood you want to live in, check out the houses with a ‘For Sale’ or ‘Sold’ sign outside, and contact the agent directly. This way, you can guarantee that your estate agent has experience in the local area and will know that you have done your research.
Talk to an agent in person at an open house
You will often make your mind up about someone within the first few seconds of meeting them. And your first impression is often right. That’s why you should talk to the agent in person. You can either visit their offices or go to an open house and see how they interact. If you get a warm and trustworthy vibe from an estate agent, give them a chance. If they appear cold and uninterested, steer clear.
Compare real estate agents online
The internet is a great resource for comparing estate agents. Do a quick Google search on your local estate agents. One thing to look into is their website and online presence. An estate agent that invests in its social media presence is likely to be successful. You can also look at online reviews. However, read each review with a pinch of salt. Almost every company in the world will have some bad reviews. What you should look for are common trends and themes. For example, if an estate agent is regularly rude to clients, it will probably come up multiple times in their online reviews.
Get a referral
Getting a referral is one of the best ways to find an estate agent. Ask your trusted friends if they have used an estate agent they can recommend. Also, ask them about the experience and determine if there is anything else you should know about them. Word of mouth is one of the biggest reasons that an estate agent becomes successful, so it’s a great way to find the right one.
Meet with at least three agents
Like choosing a house, you shouldn’t choose an estate agent without seeing at least three more. This will give you some perspective and give you a chance to compare their offerings. Remember that you are the customer, and (to some extent) they should be fighting for your business. Once you have seen three, you should get a feeling which one is best. You might feel that none of them are right, in which case you should keep looking.
Ask the right questions
No matter how trusting you are, you can’t assume that the estate agent will do everything for you. That’s why you need to go in armed with information. You need to know the average property prices locally, how far your budget will stretch, and what sort of commission is typical in the local area. This will allow you to ask the right questions. Also, ask if they have specific knowledge of the type of property you’re looking at. For example, if you are looking to buy an apartment in an assisted living facility – like Oak Park senior living – you should be confident that they understand how that differs from a house purchase.
Explain your communication preferences
Do you want your estate agent to call you late at night? Probably not. Do you want them to bombard you with emails about new properties they’ve found? Maybe. You need to let your estate agent know how you would like to communicate with them. Agree on a communication preference before you start looking at new houses and arranging viewings. This will stop them from overstepping the mark or underdelivering.
Let them know your motivation to sell
Everyone has a different reason for selling up. Some people are looking to move to a bigger place. Others want to downsize. Some people want to sell the house of a deceased relative as quickly and as painlessly as possible. There are tons of different reasons for selling a property, and it’s important to let your estate agent know exactly why you’re selling. This will allow them to act appropriately for the circumstances.
Discuss selling strategy and number of showings
If you don’t talk to them beforehand, some estate agents will start inviting people to see your property straight away. You could be months away from being ready, and you’ve suddenly got prospective buyers turning up, expecting to look around. This is all part of the estate agent’s selling strategy, and it’s definitely something you should discuss with them beforehand. The right estate agent will respect your privacy and only invite people around when it’s appropriate to do so.
Agree on all the important details
If you want a stress-free relationship with an estate agent, you need to be super clear on all of the important details. Let them know how much your budget is, exactly what types of property you want to see, where you want to live, and your selling strategy. All of this should be agreed upon in writing, so they can’t overstep the mark. The more information the estate agent has, the easier it will be for them to deliver.
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