Before you shop for a new home, or sell your house, you need to shop for a new real estate agent. You could pick someone out of an ad or just call an office and ask for whoever is free. But, that isn't likely to get you the best agent for your needs. How can you find the pro who will work on your behalf and make the most of your home search? Check out these tips for finding an expert who meets all of your needs.
Visiting Online Listings
If you're selling your house you want to know how the potential agent will present it. The online listing (along with web-based marketing) is key to presenting and selling a home. Take a look at how the agent is photographing the home or which types of photos they're choosing. Ask yourself if you'd buy the homes that the agent is listing. If not, ask what the issue is. Do you think the photography is sub-par? Do the marketing promos seem flat? If you do like the look of the listing (and any related marketing), you may have found your agent.
Ask Around Town
Maybe you've never bought (or sold) a home before. You might not know what to look for in an agent. Of course, there are lists of questions that you "should" ask an agent. But, a scheduled interview may only get you rehearsed answers. Talking to friends, co-workers, or family members who have used the agent in the past (or currently do) may just get you the best results. Ask for specifics. What did the agent do to market your friend's house? How many homes did they take your co-worker to in an afternoon?
Look At Scheduling Availability
Let's say you work until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. You need an agent who can show you homes during the evenings as well as the weekends. If the possible agent has to take care of their kids on the weekends or isn't available after 7 p.m., you'll need to keep looking. But, if the agent's schedule matches up with yours (or they are truly available any time you need), you're in luck.
The agent you're considering has a string of letters after their name. What do they mean, and are they important to your decision? Probably. Abbreviations (such as SRS, CRS or ABR) are credentials that show you that the real estate agent has more than adequate training. There are a variety of designations and credentials to look for. The National Association of REALTORS maintains a list of these (with explanations of what the credential or designation means).
Finding the just-right real estate agent can make the difference between an easy experience and one that isn't exactly comfortable. With some careful observation and a bit of talking (especially to people who've used the agent) you can find the perfect agent for your buying or selling needs.