How to find the right real estate agent

Dated: 03/03/2020

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How to find the right real estate agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is an important decision that has the potential to be stressful as well. However, if you go into an interview with the right questions in mind, you can help eliminate that stress. Prior to meeting with an agent, it's important to think about the characteristics that are important to you. For example, do you want a friendly, casual relationship with an agent, or a more formal one? Do you want a fast, aggressive sale, or do you want to take your time? Once you have thought about your preferred characteristics, there are a few questions that can help you get to know an agent better.

Background and Bio Questions

The first thing you will want to know about an agent is what his/her background and experience is. There are several areas under this category that you may want to know about:

  • Years of experience: Knowing and understanding the local market, negotiating, paperwork expertise, and navigating all the loopholes is something that takes time to master. It's important to know not just how long an agent has worked in real estate, but also how long he or she has been in this specific area.
  • Type of experience: Does the agent have more experience as a seller's agent or a buyer's agent? It's important for an agent to have extensive knowledge of both sides of the transaction.
  • Typical clients: What price range does the agent usually operate in? You will want to find an agent who is very familiar with your price bracket.
  • Familiarity of neighborhoods: If you're looking to sell and the agent has experience selling in your neighborhood this can be a great advantage.

Client Relationship Questions

You will be working closely with your real estate agent. Consequently, you want to ensure that you have similar expectations for your "relationship." Here are some things that are important to talk through:

  • Personality: Some agents are more casual. When they call they don't get right to business, but spend some time just catching up. Other agents are more formal and to the point. Neither is wrong - it's just what suits you best!
  • Communication strategies: Do they prefer to call, text or email? How quickly do they respond to messages?
  • Time expectations: Will you hear updates from them daily or weekly? How often will you see your agent? What times of the day is your agent available to meet?
  • Transparency and advice: How much information does your agent typically share with clients? Is your agent willing to share his personal opinion? Some agents see themselves as an impartial mediator between and buyer and seller, and will hesitate to give advice and personal opinions. Others consider themselves to be a home-buying coach there to guide you through the process. You need to decide which approach is better suited to your needs and preferences.

Getting down to the money

One of the important statistics to learn from an agent is the list-price to sales-price ratio. When you're purchasing homes, you want an agent who is able to negotiate a lower sales price than list price. However, if you're selling, you want an agent who is able to negotiate a deal that is not significantly below list. Comparing list to sales ratios can be a helpful way to compare agents.

Always ask for references

A reputable agent should always be willing to provide references. It's wise to ask for three references for an agent. These references will help you verify the information you have gained from your interview, and will give you confidence that you have selected the right real estate agent.

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Tricia McCullough

From farming in Warden, WA, to living in Australia and then back to Wenatchee, I’ve always been profoundly aware of the fundamental need to help others. Whether through their financial picture or he....

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