A real estate agent can make your life quite a bit easier when you’re ready to buy or sell a home. With their contacts, experience, and insider knowledge of the industry, they can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that every stage of the process goes smoothly. Let’s look at some of the most important considerations to keep in mind while you’re choosing a realtor.
Advantages of Using a Realtor
There are several benefits to using a Realtor when buying or selling a home.
Realtors have the very latest listings and can connect buyers and sellers rapidly. It might take you a lot longer to find the right home or sell a home on your own.
Knowledge of laws, contracts, and terminology
There are many legal issues involved in buying and selling real estate. Zoning laws, building permits, liens on a property, and many other factors can cause problems if you don’t have an expert working on your behalf.
Helps you negotiate
Real estate negotiations can be tricky. If you’re selling, you don’t want to ask too much or too little. If you’re buying, you want to make the right offer. Realtors are experienced at these negotiations and help you avoid mishaps.
Knowledge of the area
If you’re researching a new city or neighborhood, a realtor can advise you about the best locations for your needs.
How to Find the Right Realtor
To get the maximum benefits of using a realtor, you need to choose the right one. Not all realtors have the same degree of experience and commitment. Not all are necessarily ideal for your needs. So let’s look at the most important criteria to help you find the right realtor.
1. Interview Several Realtors
When hiring any type of professional, it’s always a good idea to interview several candidates. Realtors are no exception to this rule. Buying or selling a home is a major life event and not something you should approach without plenty of research. Call up a few realtors or stop by their offices. Another effective strategy is to attend open houses. This gives you a chance to see how the realtor interacts with others. When talking to real estate professionals, you should also look for someone who’s a good match for your personality. Remember that this is someone with whom you’re going to be talking to and working with for some time.
2. Inquire About Their Experience
It’s helpful to find a real estate agent with at least a couple of years of experience. People enter the real estate profession at all stages in life, so you can’t go by age alone. There’s nothing wrong with someone just starting out in real estate. However, there are advantages to working with a seasoned professional who’s well versed in every aspect of the trade.
3. Make Sure They’re Familiar With the Local Area
If you’re looking to buy a home, especially in an area you’re not very familiar with, make sure you choose a realtor who’s very well acquainted with the area. Neighborhoods and even blocks can make a big difference and it helps to have someone who knows the terrain. This is someone who can advise you on the finer points of a neighborhood such as proximity to stores, access to major highways, average home price, and other factors. When interviewing a prospective realtor, ask how familiar he or she is with the area you’re looking at. The same is true if you’re selling a home. You should find a realtor who’s able to guide prospective buyers about the pros and cons of different local neighborhoods.
4. Seek Recommendations
Just as it makes sense to ask for recommendations before going to a dentist or hiring an attorney, you should do the same when choosing a realtor. Ask friends, family, and neighbors if they can recommend a realtor. At the same, keep in mind that everyone’s needs aren’t the same. Make sure you inquire about the particulars of their experiences. For example, your friends may have used someone who works in a different area, with different types of properties, or with homes in a different price range than yours. However, referrals can help you identify realtors who are experienced and dedicated and help you avoid ones who aren’t as good.
5. Ask About Their Marketing Strategy
If you’re selling your home, choosing a realtor with a proven marketing plan is crucial. Nowadays, you can assume that a realtor has a website and uses social media. However, there are differences in how extensively and aggressively agents market properties. Ask for some specifics on how they plan to market your home. There are many effective approaches to real estate marketing whether the focus is on old fashioned networking or the latest technology. However, it’s important to verify that a realtor has a definite strategy for promoting your home.
6. Find Someone Who Can Connect With Other Professionals
Buying or selling a home is a complex transaction that involves many details. Your realtor can help you with many of the important tasks. However, you also need to consult with other professionals. This will vary depending on the particulars, but you may need a home inspector, a contractor, mortgage broker, or landscaper. It helps to work with a realtor who can help you connect with the right people in these and other fields. Experienced realtors often have a wide net of connections spanning many fields and industries.
7. Make Sure You Understand All Terms and Conditions
If you’re not seasoned at buying and selling real estate, the process can seem complicated. There are lots of contracts to sign and terms to understand. While you may not understand every point on the contract, it’s essential that you are clear about the fundamentals. This includes the realtor’s commission. This doesn’t mean you should always choose a realtor who charges the lowest commission. It may be to your advantage to find a more experienced realtor who charges a little more. However, it’s crucial to calculate this into your planning. Some agents will give you a discount if you use them to sell one home and buy another. Make sure you’re clear about all this before you sign a contract.
Buying or selling a home is a serious and sometimes stressful endeavor. The right realtor can make everything simpler and more straightforward. If you keep the above points in mind, you’ll be able to find someone who meets your requirements. You need to look at qualifications and experience as well as pay attention to your own personal feelings. Finding the right real estate professional will help your transaction proceed smoothly and without misunderstandings.
Tim Conroy specializes in residential real estate in the Iowa City Area. He enjoys working with clients and helping them discover Iowa City and the surrounding communities. He prides himself on customer service, creative marketing, and helping clients navigate transactions.