How To Pick a Real Estate Agent
If you’re looking to buy your first home, you’re probably also looking for a real estate agent you can trust. A real estate agent makes the home buying process simpler and often faster, which can be a real benefit in your busy life.
However, if you’ve never been through the process before it can all be little intimidating. How do you know what to look for or who to trust?
Below you’ll find a quick guide to choosing the right real estate agent for you.
Picking a Real Estate Agent: What to Look For
Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to find someone you can trust with such a big financial decision. Here are some things look for when choosing a real estate agent or Realtor to help you feel confident in your decision:
- References: Start by asking friends and family who they would recommend. Try to ask someone who has recently bought or sold a house—it’ll be easy for them to share their thoughts (both positive and negative) since it will be top-of-mind. That way you’ll also be getting up-to-date information.
- Comparisons: It’s a good idea to meet with several agents before narrowing down the field. The first one you meet with might be the perfect fit, both professionally and personally, but if you stop there, you won’t have anyone else to compare them to in order to ensure you’ve made the right choice.
- Knowledge: If you’re buying a home for the first time, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. That’s okay—that’s what an agent is for. When you meet with them for the first time, pay attention to how they answer your questions. Do they seem familiar with the local market? Do they know about area ordinances that might affect you or what the school district is like? If they’re on the ball, they should be able to rattle off answers as quickly as you can think of questions. You can also use these 10 questions for choosing a real estate agent put out by US News & World Report to help you pick the right agent.
- Experience: It’s a good idea to get someone with a few years under their belt if you can. However, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid a new agent if the only negative thing you can find about them is their lack of experience.
- Personality: This might seem like a silly thing to care about for a professional transaction, but you’ll have a lot of contact with your agent for the next few months. They’ll be one of your main points of support throughout the homebuying process, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s a good match. Listen to your gut—does the agent seem like they have your best interests at heart?
What Should a Real Estate Agent Do for You?
Once you’ve hired a Realtor or real estate agent, these are the three basic things you should expect from them:
- Regular Communication: Your agent should be in frequent contact and be available for your questions that may arise (within reason—a 3 a.m. phone call is never welcome in any profession, no matter how dedicated your agent may be). You should expect to be kept informed of new listings that fit your needs.
- Writing Offers: If you’re interested in a house and would like to put in an offer, your agent will take care of the paperwork. A good agent will also be a trusted partner when it comes to deciding just how much to offer, keeping your budget in mind.
- Knowledge of Required Documents: When it comes time to buy a house, your agent should be on top of the required documents for things like local regulations, homeowner association rules, etc.
First-Time Homebuyers: Mercer Savings Bank is Here to Help
While you’re in the process of looking for a Realtor or real estate agent, you can also get a good start on the homebuying process by getting pre-approved at your local bank. Getting pre-approved tells you how much you can afford. It also gives you some negotiating power when you find a house you like because it proves you’re in a financial position to buy the home.
Mercer Savings Bank is here to help you as you begin the process of buying your new home. We’ll work with you to make the mortgage process as easy as possible—we even have an online loan application that can be filled out in as little as 20 minutes. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.