5 Tips for Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

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Homebuyers face a difficult problem set. The real estate market is a fickle one, with sellers and buyers competing for great prices and prime location, and of course with real estate agents trying to stay neutral in the middle and broker a deal that makes everyone happy.

The trouble is, some agents are lousy negotiators, and others are working for the other side of the transaction. It can be hard to find the right real estate agent to work skillfully for your interests, but they are out there—and they’re easier to find then you might think.

For buyers: Make sure your agent is on your side.

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Going through an Exclusive Buyer Agent is the best way to ensure that your real estate agent is working for your best interest and not as the seller’s agent, or as a dual agent representing both sides. The lines can quickly get blurry here if you aren’t careful. Using an Exclusive Buyer Agent cuts out the potential conflict of interest issues before they can get off the ground.

In many states, a real estate agent can perform both functions at the same time, but human nature means that someone is bound to be unhappy, even if your agent does everything by the book. If you use a different agent to hammer out the details there is no room for speculation, giving you greater peace of mind and the best possible terms without any doubts.

Get references.

All agents want what’s best for you. By extension, a quick sale with no extraneous loose ends to tie up means that he gets paid faster. But this does mean that some listing agents will cut corners to try to broker the final deal as quickly as possible. Asking for references is a totally reasonable thing to do, and your agent—if you’ve found a great one—will respect you more for it. Ask the questions up front to understand the person you will be working with through this journey.

Evaluate your evaluator.

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A real estate agent will want to see your property before listing it. Take notice of what she does. Note her punctuality, whether she shows up looking professional in petite suits or something similar. Watch the way she appraises your home.

A conscientious agent will always be on time, ask a lot of questions, and of course, answer all of yours. You want someone knowledgeable and approachable to sell your home. Take the time to understand their approach to the selling process along with their experience on paper in the market. The personal touch is essential, above and beyond credentials.

Consider your options.

When the appraisal is done, your agent will suggest a list price. You should collect a few quotes from realtors in order to understand the true value of your property, especially if it was your first home. Sellers often feel attachments to their property, occasionally making them irrational with regards to pricing. If you are given a few figures all in the same ballpark, you can go into the negotiation process well-armed with information that will help you close the final sale with the best possible terms.

Stay in the loop, but don’t be overbearing.

While your home is on the market it may be tempting to take one of two approaches. Many sellers either disengage completely, allowing their agents to navigate the entire process alone. Others are constantly nagging their real estate agency for updates. Remember that selling a home is a long process, so stay involved in the routine updates, but let the professionals do their job. It’s what you hired them for, after all! Real estate transactions can take mountains of paperwork and patience. Just have faith in the process and your team, and everything will fall into place.

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