Buying your first house can be a scary and exciting adventure. Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone. You can, and should, hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the sometimes confusing waters of real estate and house hunting. You don’t want to hire just any real estate agent, however. You want to hire an agent who you can easily work with, and who knows the market of where you are searching. A good local agent will be your best tool during your house hunting.
How do you make sure that you choose the right agent? There are some simple questions that you can ask that will help you make the best choice. And it is a lot like an interview. After all, you are hiring a real estate agent to represent you.
Ask: About Their Experience
The first question that you are going to ask your potential real estate agent is how long they have been in the business. You want to know how much experience they have in this marketplace. This doesn’t just mean that you should hire the real estate agent with the most years of experience.
An agent that has handled more buyers successfully will be better than one with more years of experience. It’s also going to depend on if the agent is full-time or part-time. Obviously, a full-time real estate agent has made this their day-to-day job. It’s what they do. A part-time agent will have divided time and attention. This might not necessarily be a bad thing, but you will need to decide for yourself.
Ask: About the Area and Types of Properties
When it comes to buying your dream home, or even selling your home, neighborhood expertise is of vital importance. Neighborhoods, even right next to each other, might behave very differently in terms of real estate, and you want an agent that has that information. Certain real estate agents might have a specialty in the type of property that they handle.
For instance, if the real estate agent you are considering advertises that they handle rural properties, and you are looking for an urban property, you would want to find a different agent. They might be the best real estate agent in the area, but they won’t know as much about urban properties because they don’t deal with them.
Expertise goes beyond just the types of properties and neighborhoods that a real estate agent specializes in. Some agents are better suited for different buyer needs. If you are using Veterans Affairs financing, you’ll want to use an agent that has experience with that type of situation. The same is true if you are relocating or buying your first home.
Ask: About Their Communication
While the how might not be as important, you will need to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently with your real estate agent. If there is a lapse in communication, you might have just lost the perfect house to a competing offer. You are going to want to find an agent that communicates quickly and responds quickly. Your agent should be willing to communicate in the manner that suits you best, be it via phone call, text message, email, or even a video chat.
Communication becomes even more important if you are looking for a house in a different city that you can’t get to easily. If you are relocating, you might not be able to actually be present. In this case, you will want an agent that can communicate quickly and clearly. You might even need them to record videos of a home tour so that you can see the house. Even if you aren’t far away, solid communication is important.
You might want to ask who your main contact will be. Some agents use assistants to handle most day-to-day responsibilities and communication. If that is an issue, you will want to know before you hire them.
Ask: About References
You don’t have to take the real estate agent’s word for it. Ask for references, such as past buyers and sellers. This way, you can talk to other people that have worked directly with the real estate agent. Not only does this remove some of the self-promotion from the agent, but you can get a really good idea of what working with them would be like. Plus, you can ask any questions without the real estate agent present. This can give you a realistic picture of what working with the agent is like.