Real estate services can be confusing, that’s why it’s important to be comfortable in your approach to finding a real estate agent.
So how do you go about finding a real estate agent (or REALTOR)?
First, you need to decide what you want to do. Are you looking to buy a home? Sell a home? Buy an investment property? Rent a property? Or really, any of the above and what services are you looking for in order to help you with the task at hand.
In a lot of cases, and it’s common knowledge that a real estate agent can help, but to what extent of help are you looking for? Have you decided what types of services you might want to engage? Let’s look into that a bit further.
MLS and what does it mean to you?
With the deregulation of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) it’s quite evident that real estate has become a little more consumer friendly. Most, if not all of us, have at one time or another looked at a website in order to see what a property might be worth, or even how much our property, or even properties in our neighborhood might yield as a result of a sale. It’s human nature to be curious, so that’s exactly why we do it. But that doesn’t exactly make us real estate experts, now does it.
So it comes down to change: way back when (really, not that long ago), we needed real estate agents to help us identify properties to look at (as buyers) and also assess our neighborhoods to see what our properties could sell for (as sellers). But, with consumers doing a lot of the “homework” on their own these days, the stage at which we bring in real estate agents is a bit different. Which, in a nutshell, is why real estate services can be confusing and why the industry has changed.
Ok, so we know if we want to buy or sell; and we have a rough idea of what we can spend and/or what our current property is worth. Great…now what?
Finding a real estate agent
There are all sorts of great ways to meet an agent. Asking friends and family is a great way to start as well as looking online to see who might be prevalent in your area. Or, perhaps even calling up an agent that you see on one of those MLS listing type sites might work for you.
The one thing to remember, is that whomever you decide to engage in conversation, it’s important to make sure that they work the same way you do and they are available to you when you need them to be. Here are a few other tips you might find interesting.
What exactly do you need?
Now comes the question of what exactly are you looking for out of your real estate agent relationship. Yes, we said “relationship”.
Buying and selling homes is a huge investment of time and money, so it’s important that you treat your real estate relationship just like you would any other, in business and in life. It’s important that you are comfortable and that you see eye-to-eye on everything, and that you never feel pressured. It’s also important that the real estate agent you choose to partner with is an expert and can cater to your individual needs.
Sometimes, we fall short on this. It’s generally because the “smoke-and-mirror” show is fantastic at the beginning of the relationship, but it doesn’t always follow through. Too many times we hear people complaining that their real estate agent just doesn’t call them back when convenient, or that their marketing strategy just doesn’t seem to be working, or even that they want out of the relationship because it’s just not optimal (at which time most are stuck within a contract that can’t be broken). Well, in our opinion, this should never happen.
To avoid these outcomes, it’s important to know what you are looking for and make sure that whomever you choose, is the ideal real estate agent for you.
Being up front
A lot of times this is where the problem starts. Most individuals who are buying and/or selling, really don’t know what they should be asking in the first place. For example: what time of day is most convenient for you and is your agent going to be available at those times? How familiar are they with your area: is it their primary focus or are they really experts somewhere else? Are they experts in buying, selling or both? Do they have client that are looking for a place to live in your area? What is your preference for communication: live, phone, email, text and do they have the capability to give you what you need? Do they have the industry partners you are looking for: lawyer, moving company, home stager etc.?
There’s definitely a lot to think about. If you need some assistance with this, perhaps this article on 10 tips for interviewing real estate agents might help.
Making a decision
It’s not uncommon for individuals to do their research and interview at least 2-3 real estate agents prior to making a decision. For each, in order to get an apples-to-apples comparison, you should prepare your list of questions and see how each real estate agent does in answering them. And, if you feel pressure at any point, walk away: it’s better in the long run to work with someone that you are completely comfortable with right from the start and never feel like you are getting yourself into a scenario where you can’t get out.
Sundaybell is all about real estate relationships and taking the confusion out of real estate. With our tools and service, our goal it to get you started on the right foot and ensure that whatever real estate agent you choose to work with, is a good fit for you for both now and in the future.