When buying a property, choosing a real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you can make. It helps you make wise decisions, and avoid costly mistakes.
Buying a home itself is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in life. Thus, it is important to get it right. A real estate agent or realtor helps you do that right.
This is why I’ll guide you through how to choose a realtor.
What Does A Realtor Do?
A Realtor is an independent contractor who helps people buy and sell real estate. Much of what they do happens behind the scenes. They are continually working all hours of the day.
A realtor helps you navigate during the property buying process. From start to finish, they are to help every step of the way. A realtor helps you find a suitable property according to your budget, taste and location. They then accompany you to the chosen property and act as a mediator with the listing agent.
If there is a deal, the realtor also steps in to negotiate the deal on your behalf, help you schedule a home inspection and help with the necessary paperwork.
That is a lot of duties if you ask. That is why choosing a realtor is of utmost importance when buying a new property.
When Do You Need to Hire a Realtor?
Realtors usually charge 5-6% of the total sale price of the home. This amount is usually split between both the seller and the buyer.
I know what you are thinking.
What if, I refuse to hire a realtor, and close the deal myself?
Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not going to work. Unless you have extensive experience in purchasing properties or have a close personal relationship with a real estate lawyer, that is a no-no.
A realtor offers much more than just completing the paperwork. A realtor has extensive knowledge about the real estate business. You ask a realtor, what a foreclosure is or what an Appraisal contingency is and they’ll be sure to explain it to you.
Another advantage of hiring a realtor is that they know the neighbourhood. You saw your dream house, and everything seems perfect. But the realtor will tell you the kind of neighbourhood you will be moving into.
Are they notorious for crimes, break-ins? Or the neighbours are just terrible? The realtor knows that.
And since I know you want a pleasant neighbourhood, let me tell you how to choose a good realtor.
How to Choose A Realtor
There are a lot of realtors out there. Some are good at what they do, while others are just awful. How do you ensure you choose a good realtor? Worry not. I’ll be listing some tips on how to choose a realtor.
1. Set Your Priorities Straight
The first step when choosing a realtor is to set your priorities straight. What kind of realtor are you looking for? The aggressive shark who will bully his way into a deal? Or the gentle charismatic person who will charm his way to a closed deal? It’s all up to you.
2. Ask People You Know
One of the best ways to hire a realtor is to ask around friends, family and colleagues. Someone you know might just have bought a property recently.
Ask them for referrals. If you hear them raving about how good their realtor is, you can ask them to set you up. Already you have set your priorities straight, and you know the realtor you are looking for.
Once they fit the bill, set a meeting up.
Or wait for this next step…
3. Search Online
Of course, searching online is one of the best ways to find a good realtor. Or anything really.
There are lots of platforms you can use to choose a realtor, like Zillow’s Agent Finder. Utilize them.
Browse through the realtors, and check reviews and user ratings. Find out the one that you feel is best for you.
You can also search online based on your location.
You can search “Realtors in My Area” and the search engine will show you all the available realtors near you. Just be sure not to depend on online search only. Do some ground research as well.
Good luck finding one.
4. Review Credentials
By now you must have seen a lot of realtors who caught your eye. This is the time to filter out. You don’t want your realtor lacking the necessary credentials, do you?
You should lookout for a realtor who belongs to the National Association of Realtors, a professional organization for realtors.
Other features you could look out for include the Green designation, for realtors who specialize in green features or the At Home With Diversity (AHWD) certification. The latter are trained realtors with experience in areas around diversity such as race, culture religion or sexual orientation.
Be sure to take this step seriously, as it is one of the best ways to hire a realtor that most people ignore.
5. Set Up an Interview
Now that you have checked the references, the next step is to set up an interview.
Contrary to most beliefs, you can actually interview more than one realtor. You should interview at least three. This will give you a chance to explore your options and choose the best realtor.
Here are some of the questions you should ask a realtor;
- How long have you been working in real estate?
- Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers?
- How many active clients do you have at a time?
- Do you have referrals from other clients?
- Are you part of a team?
- What’s your specialty?
- Are you equipped to handle my unique situation?
- Do you work as a team?
- Can you put me in contact with some references?
- Will you represent my interests?
- How much will you be paid?
- How is the neighborhood like?
- How available are you?
- Do you have a list of recommended sources?
6. It Is Time to Go Hunting
Once you find a realtor who answers all your questions, it is now time to go hunting for a property. You list out the specifications you want, and your realtor will get back to you.
But before that…
Here Are Some Tips for Buyers
Realtors work for both buyers and sellers. If you are willing to buy a property, here are some tips to choose a realtor.
- Look for an agent who represents only you. Most times, realtors represent both parties in the deal; both the seller and the buyer. This is known as dual agency. Avoid this arrangement before you hire a realtor. This will allow the realtor to represent you better and have your best interest at heart.
- Talk out communication strategies. When interviewing the realtor, make sure you discuss how to communicate. Will you communicate on phone or through emails? Do you work with the realtor’s assistants? Make sure you work this out, as it is one of the ways to choose a good realtor.
- Ask the realtors style. How will the agent find listed homes in your price range? This is one of the best tips to consider before you hire a realtor. Also, ask how they intend to negotiate with the seller and the challenges you might face.
Realtor Tips for Sellers
Hiring a realtor as a seller is different from when you want to choose a realtor as a buyer. Here are some tips to help guide you;
- Ask what your property is worth. This should be one of the first things to ask a potential realtor. Don’t just choose the one with the highest price. Do they have the stats to show for it? This is very important.
- What do I need to improve my home? Before you sell your property, you must improve the conditions to attract the best buyers. Your realtor can help you do that. Depending on the local demand, your realtor will recommend what to improve and the rewards for doing so.
- Enquire how they intend to market your home. This is one of the most important tips. Realtors probably list your property on multiple real estate sites. You can ask them for other requirements, like a tour, photos. Also, the cost of marketing may be low, depending on the demand and the location. Discuss all these.
- Discuss why you are selling. Are you pressed for cash quickly? Are you struggling to meet a deadline? Trying to avoid taxes? Then you should discuss this with your realtor. This will help your realtor make informed decisions regarding the sale.
- Agree on important details. You must agree on important details like commission, price, contract length and more before you finally choose a realtor.
Many tips will help you choose a realtor. Realtors are important whether you are selling or buying a property. A realtor will help you navigate your way throughout, most especially if you are a first-time homeowner help negotiate the deals, complete the necessary paperwork.
What is important is you hire a realtor that has the best qualities you desire and has the requirements.
Good luck hiring a realtor.
Yes, you do. A realtor offers you unique insight, help explain terms and help you close a deal. In short, whether you are a buyer or seller, you need to hire a realtor when purchasing or selling a property — unless you have a close relationship with someone experienced.
There are lots of general questions you can ask your realtor, and they include;
How long have you been working in real estate?
Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers?
How many active clients do you have at a time?
Do you work as a team?
Will you represent my interests?
How much will you be paid?
How available are you?
Before you choose a realtor, it is important you interview as many realtors as possible. Many people only just talk to one realtor and hire them. To get the best deal, you must interview at least three realtors.
You can find realtors for hire online by searching for realtors near you. You can also use platforms such as Zillow to help you choose a good realtor. You can also check on social media, as well as referrals from friends.
It depends. But most realtors or real estate agents charge based on commissions. Most realtors charge 6 % of the sale ( 3% for both agents) If a home sells for $200,000 at a 6% commission, the seller’s agent and buyer’s agent might split that $12,000, and each receives $6,000.
It depends on your situation and your preference. Generally, reliability, ability to protect your interests, competency, great negotiating and communication skills are mostly desired.