Whether purchasing or selling a home, working with a reputable real estate agent is important. You can tell if someone is a good fit for you if you know the correct questions to ask them. Read this article to learn more about how to find a real estate agent.
Real estate agent basics
Finding a real estate agent can be easy if you research and plan it well. But before diving headfirst into it, knowing what to expect from an agent is important.
What does a real estate agent do?
Realtors are instrumental in the home-buying and -selling processes. Agents can educate their clients about current market conditions, guide them through each process step, and make referrals to other relevant professionals, such as real estate attorneys and home inspectors. Their particular titles depend on who they represent in a real estate transaction.
- A buyer’s agent helps buyers to find and shop listed homes, negotiate with sellers, and make competitive offers.
- A listing agent helps sellers to price, list, and market their homes and work out deals with buyers.
While it is possible for an agent to represent both parties in a single transaction, having someone who is firmly on your side throughout the process is always preferable.
Realtor vs. real estate agent
Realtors are a subset of real estate agents. A Realtor is a National Association of Realtors member and a professional real estate agent. Members will commit to upholding the values and ethos of the organization.
To legally represent clients, real estate agents must hold a valid license in each state in which they operate. Agents need to take classes and pass a test to earn their licenses. To verify a real estate agent’s licensing status, visit the website of your state’s real estate commission.
Agents, Brokers, and Realtors: What’s the Difference?
To earn their broker’s license, real estate brokers must complete training beyond that required of agents. Brokers, like agents, are required to take and pass exams in order to practice in their state. A broker might manage a team of real estate agents, report to a managing broker, or strike out on their own.
How to find and interview real estate agents
Your personal network.
Get some recommendations for potential agents from people you know. Research the agents’ online profiles and websites, learning about their areas of expertise and previous clients’ experiences.
According to the NAR, this is the case for almost 40% of home sellers. Inquire from anyone you know, such as friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who may have just bought or sold a home. Take advantage of your social media followings as well. A recommendation from someone you respect might be very helpful.
Investigate each broker’s internet profiles, such as their social media accounts and reviews from past clients. Attend open houses in the area to meet Realtors and real estate companies that are active in the market.
Evaluate each agent based on their approach, level of expertise, and ability to connect with you. Is this someone you could see yourself cooperating with? Choose an expert agent whose methods mesh well with your own.
Contact a referral agent.
If you need to employ an agent in another state but don’t know enough people to recommend one, a real estate referral agent can help. A local agent you know and trust, such as one who has listed your property, may suggest you to another agent in exchange for a percentage of the profit that the agent earns. Choose three potential agents to question and learn more about how they would assist you.
Official referral sources.
If you want to locate agents who are involved in the community where you plan to buy or sell, you might want to contact the local chamber of commerce. NAR members can be located via the organization’s Find a Realtor form or a location-based search. You might also get in touch with real estate brokerage firms; for this, you could go with a well-known, national firm or a locally-based, independent one.
What buyers and sellers should ask real estate agents
Will the agent represent my interests?
Any real estate agent you hire will suggest what’s best for you. However, real estate agents are not always legally compelled to take a side in a transaction as a buyer’s or seller’s agent. A “dual agent” is someone who represents both the seller and the buyer in the same transaction, while a “transactional agent” assists both parties without owing any special loyalty to either.
It’s crucial that you have a firm grasp on the agent’s responsibilities as you work together. The Consumer Federation of America suggests that you confirm with any prospective agents that they would act solely in your best interests throughout the entire process and that you get this confirmation in writing.
What kind of experience and training does the agent have?
You should check how long this representative has been serving customers, and what kind of credentials does he or she hold? Choose a broker who has a history of success helping people like you.
How much will the agent be paid?
The real estate commission is usually split between the listing and buying agents, with the seller footing the bill. The standard commission rate for real estate is 5% to 6% of the purchase price. According to the Consumer Federation of America, if you are the seller of a very expensive house, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate.
It’s possible that agents won’t budge on the commission, but it never hurts to ask.
Will the agent or assistants work with me?
It’s not uncommon for agents to have support staff at their disposal. Do you plan to spend most of your time with the agent or helpers? Even if the team is very competent, you still need to be able to communicate effectively with the agent.
Were recent clients satisfied?
Check the agent’s references and speak with former clients over the past year. What was their opinion of the agent’s performance? Tell me about the good and the bad. How did the agent react when faced with difficulty? Find out if the agent is a suitable fit for you by talking to their recent clientele.
Finding a real estate agent: Tips for Buyers
What challenges will I be likely to face as a buyer in today’s market?
A smart real estate agent will help you manage your expectations by giving you an accurate picture of the number of homes on the market and the intensity of the competition you’ll face.
How will you help me make more competitive offers and negotiate with sellers?
Choose a broker who will keep you realistic about your options and will help you stay within your budget.
How will you help me find listed homes in my price range?
Ask about current cases in which clients like you were helped by the agent. You can gauge the agent’s suitability for your needs based on this information.
Finding a real estate agent: Tips for sellers
What should I try and do to improve my home?
Depending on the health of the local real estate market, you may need to make some repairs before listing your house for sale. Take in the rationale behind the suggestions for home repairs and upgrades that you hear.
What are the comparable listings in my area?
A good real estate agent will produce a CMA (comparative market analysis) that details recent comparable sales in your area.
What do you think my home is worth, and why?
The highest-priced agent isn’t necessarily the best option. Choose a broker whose advice is supported by solid market expertise.
How will you market my home?
Putting your home on Zillow and the Multiple Listing Service is a common recommendation made by real estate agents. Find out how the agency intends to advertise the property. This may include using photographs, a video tour, and other methods. A home’s marketing budget needs to be tailored to the local real estate market. When there are more potential buyers than sellers, you might need to do less advertising.
If you’re looking to buy a home in today’s competitive housing market, when little inventory and high prices can severely limit your purchasing power, having a reliable agent on your side can make all the difference. Finding a real estate agent can be easy if you research and plan it well.
You’ll be working with your chosen agent during a financially crucial and potentially stressful time in your life. Be sure you can trust this person by taking your time and doing as much research as possible. Get every one of your concerns addressed. And don’t settle; recommendations from people you trust can be invaluable in this respect.
What should you look for when choosing a real estate agent?
Experience, Relevant Certifications, Local Knowledge, Availability, Level of Personal Attention, Commitment and Contracts, Marketing, and Technical Skills are some of the things to consider when choosing your real estate agent.
What percentage commissions do most Realtors make when you buy a home?
Usually, the standard commission rate for real estate is 5% to 6% of the purchase price.
Is it possible to buy a home without a real estate agent?
There is no requirement under the law that you use a real estate agent when purchasing a home. Yet, doing so is usually a good idea. Agents know the market and can help with the search for a home and the subsequent contract negotiations.
What is a Realtor agent?
When someone needs assistance with any of these tasks, they should contact a real estate agent. To work as a real estate agent, one must pass their state’s license exam and complete the necessary pre-licensing education at an approved school. Once an agent has obtained their license, they must sign up with a real estate firm.
What is a real estate agent’s salary?
Agents are paid mostly on a commission. Most real estate agents receive a commission of between 5% and 6% of the final sale price. This is often paid by the seller after the buyer has provided payment for the home in the United States. The commission is then divided amongst the agents into both sides of the transaction, with each agent’s broker or brokering firm receiving a part.