(800) 713-0463
"Providing Service Nationwide!"

How to Find an Excellent Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is your first line of defense when buying a home. They have industry knowledge and expertise. Theyíll filter out the homes you arenít interested in, they know more about the neighborhoods than you do, and theyíre familiar with the paperwork process. Hiring a real estate agent is the first step in a successful home-buying process. But how do you find a truly excellent real estate agent that will keep your best interests at heart? Here are a few pointers.

1. Ask around. Your friends or family have probably bought homes before. If theyíre in your area, ask what realtor they used.

2. Hire a realtor, not just an agent. A real estate agent is licensed in your state to sell real estate. A realtor is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors. Membership to the NAR requires them to adhere to a strict code of ethics, and also provides them with professional connections.

3. Check out the agentís website. If the agent has a lot of experience, thatís generally mentioned on the site. If itís not mentioned, itís likely that the agent is new. While new agents arenít a bad thing, more experienced agents will be able to anticipate problems that newer agents havenít yet experienced. The website will probably list any awards or special recognition the agent has received.

4. Ask potential agents about their list-price-to-sell-price ratio. A good buyerís agent should be able to consistently negotiate a price that is lower than the list price for their clients. Their ratio will show you how often theyíve been able to do that in their experience.

5. Check the agentís references. The agent should provide you with some- if they donít, ask for them. Make sure the clients listed arenít related to the agent. Once you have the list, call the former clients and make sure they were happy with the agent.

6. Make sure the agent can provide you with other necessary professional contacts. When you buy a home, youíll also need a good home inspector and a title company. A good realtor should be able to provide you with a list of these companies. However, make sure they arenít ďaffiliatedĒ with the companies, meaning they get kickbacks when you use those specific companies.

7. Find an agent thatís available based on your preferences. Your agent should be open to communicating with you over the phone or via email, whichever you prefer. Will the agent be willing to send you new listings once or twice a week? Are they available after hours? Are they too busy to answer emails, meaning you might miss out on a great property?

8. Go to open houses in your area. Realtors attending those open houses are going to be more knowledgeable about your local neighborhoods. Itís also a chance for you to watch the agent in action- are they ignoring people who walk through who donít look wealthy? Are they paying equal attention to everyone, being polite and professional, and handing out appropriate materials?

9. Donít use dual agencies. These agents represent both the seller and the buyer in a transaction. This leaves the door open for a conflict of interest, and you can bet the agent wonít have just your best interest at heart.

10. Pick an agent who is used to working in your price range. An agent who generally deals in million dollar homes wonít give you the best attention when you want to buy a $180,000 fixer-upper. Agents used to your price range will be more familiar with the needs of people in your potential neighborhood (you might, for example, need the name of a good landscaping company, but not a good maid service).