There are more than two million real estate agents in the U.S. Remarkably, only about 1.4 million can call themselves Realtors. Only licensed real estate professionals who subscribe to the Realtor Code of Ethics can be members of the National Association of Realtors.
Buying and selling real estate is hard work, and only half of all agents spend 40 hours or more a week working on real estate transactions. This is why choosing the top Realtors can make the difference between failure and success in home purchases.
How do you go about finding great real estate agents? Read on to learn!
1. Ask Around to Find Top Realtors
The chances are good that your circle of friends, family and business associates has worked with an agent at some point. Agents get 30% of their business from repeat clients or client referrals. Ask people you know and trust for a good recommendation.
It may be in your best interest to ask your banker for a referral. Getting a mortgage and closing a real estate transaction happens at the same time. You need an agent and a mortgage company working together.
Don’t let referrals be the only deciding factor. Do your own due diligence and research potential agents, no matter who recommends them. The top Realtors for your friends or family might not be a good fit for you.
2. Use the Internet to Search
Not only does the internet allow you to narrow down your search for the right property on your own, but it also allows you to perform research on agents, even when you are new to an area.
There are lots of websites to refer agents to you. There are no real assurances of quality. Most websites refer agents based on fees or advertising.
Look to rating sites like Yelp or local neighborhood sites like NextDoor for more candid feedback. Just be aware that they may also be biased.
A better bet is to use the internet to find the top real estate companies in your area. Go to those websites to find their top agents. The top Realtors are often represented by the top area brokers.
3. Ask Lots of Questions
Try to interview at least three candidates before you select an agent. You need a person who knows the area well and who can show you homes that meet your needs. Personality and knowledge go a long way.
Probe your agent’s personality. Examine their energy level and plan to get you into the perfect home. Look for working hours that mesh with your own.
When you look for insight into their experience, ask if they own property in your target area. When they list years of experience, listen for clues about the quality of that experience. 5 years completing paperwork for a more established agent is a different experience than performing the duties as a primary.
Make sure that your agent is licensed. Check with the state department in charge of real estate professionals to verify the information. Since only a member of the National Realtors Association can be a Realtor, ask that question, too.
4. Check References for Your Candidates
Ask for references from people the agent has personally assisted. Then call them! Ask open-ended questions such as ‘How did Agent XYZ help you in your purchase transaction?” Questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no don’t give you the evidence to make a decision.
Ask references what kind of support the agent provided during negotiations, how they presented offers and how they closed the deal. Ask if they would use the agent again or how they would change the agent’s role in the transaction.
5. Get down to Work with Your Agent
Many agents ask you to sign a contract for them to represent you through the process.
Take a good look at the terms. Pay close attention to the length of the contract. No contract should last longer than six months in a fast-moving market.
If the market has many homes for sale, you may find yourself in the perfect home in less than 30 days. Of course, some searches take longer. Keep your options open. If an agent doesn’t work out, you want some wiggle room to pivot to the next person.
The contract spells out all of the agreed-upon terms. A traditional agreement has the seller paying a commission of 6% on the final sales price of the home. This commission is shared with the agent for the buyer. The commission rates are negotiable.
Sometimes It Comes down to Chemistry
Finding the top Realtors can be a matter of due diligence and gut instinct. The right partner to listen to your needs and guide your offer is out there. If you find it difficult to choose between Realtors, try listing out the pros and cons for each agent on paper.
Putting your likes and dislikes, needs and wants down on paper can make this exercise clear. Once you have made your selection, meet with your Realtor to sign a representation agreement. This will give clarity and legal standing to your relationship.
Once a contract is signed, let your Realtor in on your home criteria. If you have done any research on your own, be sure to provide that. Finding the right home is much more than the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. There’s your budget, a need for schools or parks, the home amenities you need, etc.
If you have not already pre-qualified for a mortgage, your Realtor should be able to help you with that. After completing these steps, your agent should be ready to show you some houses, submit offers, and negotiate the perfect home.
Ready to find your perfect Table Rock Lake home? Talk to an experienced agent now. Contact us today!