When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, home buyers should treat it like they do when they need to find a qualified professional that will be handling any other important aspect of their life.
Many people rely on their gut instincts or simply hire the first real estate professional they meet. However, asking the right questions can help you narrow down your options and lead to a better experience.
1. How much experience do you have?
For most people, purchasing a home is the largest financial commitment they will make for their entire lives. Surprisingly few, however, delve into the length and type of experience a real estate agent brings to the table with them.
While there is no single length of time that is optimal, the agent you choose should have enough sales completed to provide them with some knowledge of the area. Don't forget to ask candidates about any listings they've worked with recently.
2. What types of properties do you specialize in?
You'll want to find an agent who knows the area where you want to live well. Regulations and codes can vary widely between cities, towns and rural areas. Knowledge of these is vital when it comes to matching you with the right property.
Pay attention, too, to the way that a real estate professional brands him or herself on social media. You can glean a great deal of information via this method and weed out those that focus only on houses when you want to purchase a condo, for example.
3. Which methods of communication do you use?
In some cases, timing makes all the difference between being able to have your offer accepted, contingent on a few conditions and having someone else who is more readily available scoop it up. Today, a real estate agent needs to communicate with you quickly via the method that works best for you.
While a phone call or text might work well if you are at home a lot, others may prefer an email if they work in an office environment. Some have found that video calling is a good option if their connection is generally strong.
4. Do you have references that I can contact?
While interviewing real estate agents that you might want to use is one step in the process, contacting their references provides you with another angle from which to gather information. Ask each real estate professional you meet if he or she maintains a list of references that you can contact.
Be sure to spend some time talking to these past clients in order to gain insight on the relationship that the real estate agent fosters. Another thing to ask is what percentage of the real estate agent's business is due to repeat business or referrals.
When interviewing real estate professionals, don't rely on your memory. Take some time to jot down the answers to your questions and make notes during your chats with their references. These interviews don't have to take a long time but the benefits you reap can be huge in terms of being able to find the right home in a timely manner.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
The #1 Real Estate Team in Tennessee and #4 RE/MAX team in the world!