Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
How to choose a real estate agent may seem like a simple question, but it’s really two questions. First, we will look at how to find a real estate agent using the tools that are out there. Second, we will look at finding the right fit between you and an agent.
Your relationship with a real estate agent or REALTOR® is an important part of beginning your hunt for a new home. It may be even more important if you are looking for an agent to help you sell your home. Choosing the right real estate agent can make all the difference. But with so many agents to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, we will examine the “hows” that make up the real estate agent search.
Tools for How to Choose a REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent
One of the first places to start when looking for real estate professionals is with friends and family. If someone you know has recently bought or sold a home and had a positive experience with their agent, that agent should be considered “strongly recommended” on your list. But don’t stop your research just because of a friend or family referral. It’s important to keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for you, so it’s still important to do your own research and make your own decision. Some REALTORS specialize and that may help you narrow your search.
At Homes for Heroes, have created a specialization for agents who want to serve community heroes. These agents are committed to helping community heroes find their dream home (or sell their home so they can find their next dream home). Our community heroes include:
- Military Service Members (Active Duty, Reserves and Veterans)
- Teachers and Educators
- Healthcare Professionals
- Law Enforcement
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
If you are in one of these hero groups, you may want to consider working with our local Homes for Heroes real estate specialists. They can help you buy your new home, sell your current home or refinance your current mortgage. Our Homes for Heroes local specialists also include mortgage lenders, inspectors and title companies that can take you through the whole process. Then, after closing, we send you a Hero Rewards® check that averages about $3,000, or $6,000 if you buy and sell a home with our local specialists. This is how we say thank you for all you do for our country and local communities.
“There is no substitute for a good real estate agent when it comes to negotiating the sale or purchase of a home. Their expertise and experience can make a big difference in the outcome of your transaction.” – Investopedia
Who Not to Choose
It’s also important to know who not to choose. Avoid agents who pressure you to sign a contract before you’re ready, or who promise to sell your home for an unrealistically high price. You should also watch out for agents who do not seem very familiar with the local market or communities you’re interested in.
Other Tools to Help You Choose a Real Estate Agent
One of the best tools for finding a real estate agent is the internet. There are many websites that allow you to search for agents by location, experience, and other criteria. You can also read reviews from past clients to get a sense of an agent’s reputation.
- Online Directories: There are a number of online directories that can help you search for agents in your area. These directories often allow you to filter your search based on criteria such as location, experience, and specialty.
- Referral Services: Some companies and organizations offer referral services that can help match you with a real estate agent who meets your needs. Homes for Heroes can refer you to agents who have committed to helping community heroes like you. Some referral services may charge a fee for their service, but Homes for Heroes actually rewards you with a check after you close. That’s another way that we are just a bit different.
- Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be a great way to find and connect with real estate agents in your area. Some agents have professional profiles on these platforms and may share updates about their listings or industry news.
- Local Listings and Advertisements: Don’t overlook traditional sources of advertising, such as local newspapers and magazines. Many real estate agents advertise their services in these publications, and you may find a good match for your needs.
- State Licensing Boards: Your state’s real estate licensing board can be a valuable resource for information about licensed agents in your area. You can usually search for agents by name, company, or location, and find information about their license status, disciplinary actions, and other details.
No matter which tools you use, it’s important to take the time to research and compare different agents before making a decision. Look for agents who have experience and a track record of success in your local market, and don’t be afraid to ask for references or to read online reviews from past clients. Using these tools, you should be able to come up with a narrowed list of potential candidates that can help you buy or sell.
How to Find the Best Fit
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential agents, it’s important to find the right fit. Look for someone who is knowledgeable about the local market, responsive to your needs, and who communicates well with you. That last one may be the most important: there’s no substitute for good communication between you and your agent. It will affect every aspect of your relationship with them. You should always feel comfortable asking them questions and expressing any concerns you may have.
“A great real estate agent is like a conductor, guiding a group of resources towards a final goal: the sale of your home. As a result, it’s important to choose an agent with whom you feel comfortable and who is knowledgeable in your market.” – Forbes
What Should I Look for in a Good Real Estate Agent
When choosing a real estate agent, there are several important factors to consider. Some of these include:
- Experience: Try to land on an agent who has at least a few years of experience in your local market.
- Communication Skills: You want an agent who will keep you informed throughout the buying or selling process. If anything, you want them to over communicate. In a tight, competitive real estate market, you want to know what’s going on as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to tell your agent how you prefer to communicate, e.g. text, phone calls, emails, etc.
- Marketing Skills: If you’re selling a home, you want the right agent, one who knows how to market your property effectively. It’s a good sign if they can show you their prepared marketing plan or strategy.
- Negotiation skills: A good agent should be able to negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal – when either buying or selling.
- Professionalism: Look for an agent who is professional in their demeanor and who follows through on their commitments. Good follow up can tell you a lot about an agent.
9 Questions to Ask a Prospective Agent
To help you determine whether an agent is a good fit for your needs, here are some questions to consider asking:
- How long have you been in the real estate business?
- How many homes did you sell last year?
- How many clients are you currently working with?
- What is your experience with homes in my price range/neighborhood?
- What marketing strategies do you use to sell homes?
- How often will you communicate with me during the buying/selling process?
- Can you provide references from past clients?
- How do you handle multiple offers?
- Have you had experience with my type of real estate transaction (single family residences, condos, townhomes, etc.)?
Types of Agents
Finally, it’s important to know that there are different types of real estate agents: a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent. The agents who work exclusively with prospective buyers are sometimes called a selling agent, while others who work exclusively with sellers are often referred to as a listing agent.
There are also dual agency agents who represent both the seller and the home buyer in a transaction. Approach those with caution; conflict of interest is a real concern with dual agents.
Some agents work for a real estate brokerage, while others work independently.
You’ll want to find an agent who specializes in your specific needs and who is a good fit for your personality and communication style.
Read the terms of the Listing Agreement
When you are working with an agent to sell your current house, it’s important to read and understand the terms of the listing agreement. This document outlines the agent’s responsibilities, including their commission rate, the length of the contract, and any other fees or obligations.
By taking the time to carefully review the agreement and ask any questions you may have, you can ensure that you and your agent are on the same page and that there are no surprises later on.
Homes for Heroes Agents (Specialists)
Choosing a great agent is key in buying or selling a home. Homes for Heroes can help you find and choose the best agent for your needs. Our pool of real estate agents specifically work to help community heroes like you. They joined our network to help us in our mission to thank every hero in the United States.
In addition to connecting you with a talented and committed local real estate agent, if you’re planning to purchase a home, we also connect you with our local loan officer, home inspector and title company to assist in the process and save you the most money along the way.
Once you’ve worked with the Homes for Heroes team, after you close on the home, we will send you a check. These checks average about $3,000, if you buy or sell, $6,000 if you buy AND sell with our specialists.
Sign up today and find out if our local specialists are a good fit for you and your needs.