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How to Choose a Realtor: 8 Tips

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So, you’ve made the decision to stop renting and buy your own home.

Buying a house is one of the most exciting things you can do in your adult life—but you can’t just wake up one day, decide you want to buy a home, and get the keys that same day.

You need to financially prepare to buy your first home. And once you’re financially able to actually buy a home, then comes the hard part: finding one that you like.

Fortunately, that’s what realtors are for. There is a lot that a realtor can do, with both buying and selling homes.

A realtor can help you find your perfect home at a good price, but a realtor can also advise you on how to properly price your home as a seller. In fact, 90% of home sellers were assisted by a real estate agent. So whether you’re buying or selling, finding a realtor that you trust is imperative. 

But how do you go about choosing a real estate agent that’s right for you? We’ll be going over that, and more, below.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how to pick a real estate agent, what to look for in a realtor, steps to take when picking a real estate agent, and more. Choosing the right real estate agent is an important part of the process and can make buying or selling your home so much more manageable.

Continue reading or use the links below to dive into the details of how to choose a real estate agent.

How Do You Choose a Realtor?

Learning how to choose a realtor can significantly improve your home-buying experience. When choosing a realtor some things to look for include whether you need a realtor or real estate agent, what kind of experience they have, and their track record.

Basics to Know Before Picking a Real Estate Agent

There are a couple of key basics that you should know before picking a real estate agent, regardless if you’re selling your home or buying a new home:

  1. Understand what a real estate agent does: 

A real estate agent helps people buy and sell homes. A real estate agent’s responsibility is to guide their clients through the homebuying or selling process and connect them with other professionals, like home inspectors. 

  1. Know he differences between a realtor vs. real estate agent vs. broker: 

Real estate agents aren’t the same as realtors. A real estate agent is professionally licensed to help people buy, sell, or rent homes. To become a realtor, a real estate agent needs to be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). 

As of 2021, the NAR had over 1.5 million members. Being a part of the NAR is widely respected and members must pledge to abide by the association’s standards. 

But, a broker is different from both of these. A broker goes above the responsibilities of a real estate agent and must complete additional training to get their real estate broker license. Prospective brokers will learn more in-depth about real estate, like real estate legal issues. In order to become a broker, you must have several years of real estate agent experience.

It wouldn’t hurt to brush up on some real estate terms before getting started so it’s easier to communicate with your real estate agent. Of course, your realtor should be able to answer any questions you may have throughout your buying or selling process no matter what, but it helps avoid misunderstandings.

Listing Agents Vs Buying Agents

Before you can choose a realtor, you also need to know the difference between a listing agent and buying agent. 

  • Listing Agent

A listing agent is someone who works for the seller: they list and market their home, show it to prospective buyers, and assist in negotiations. A listing agent is very knowledgeable about the local housing market so they know the best price to list your home at. They get paid when the home is sold and their commission is a percentage of the sale price.

  • Buying Agent

A buying agent is someone who works for the buyer: they find properties to show the buyer, contact the listing agent to arrange a showing, negotiate an offer on the buyer’s behalf, and guide the buyer through closing. Having your own buying agent is crucial if you’re buying a home. They will help you ensure that you get the best possible price and achieve the outcome you want.

What to Look for in a Realtor

When picking a real estate agent, there are a few key factors that you may want to look for, which we’ll get into more detail about below.

Expertise

The realtor you choose should have knowledge about the specific area where you are planning to buy or sell. If you’re buying a home, you want a realtor who will find properties within your budget. And if you’re selling your home, you want a realtor who will list your property at a fair price.

Your realtor should also know basic information about the area, like what the crime rate is, what the property values are, and what the impact of inflation has been.

Credentials

According to the National Association of Realtors, all realtors selling homes must be licensed by the state they work in either as an agent or as a broker. Before you work with a realtor, it’s important to take some time to research them and their credentials so you can make sure they have an active real estate license in good standing. 

In addition, find out what other designations the agent holds. The better trained they are, the better equipped they may be to help you close on a profitable deal. 

Personality

Above all else, you want to choose a realtor who you get along with. Chances are, you’ll be working with this person for months and will talk to them on a regular basis. So, it’s crucial to find someone who is compassionate, friendly, and understands your wants and needs. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s inevitably going to be a stressful process, and you want your realtor to be patient and understanding throughout it.

Steps to Take When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

When choosing a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, there are a few steps that you should follow to make sure you choose the best one for you:

  1. Compare real estate agents online

Even if you love the first agent you find, you should still compare your options so you can see how they stack up against others. Check the agents’ credentials and references and find one that suits your needs.

  1. Look at the local housing market in person

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s a good idea to take some time to get a feel for the local housing market whether that’s browsing online—there are a variety of marketplaces that feature listings. See what else is out there and look at what other houses are going for in your neighborhood. Or you can even stop by an open house nearby and connect with the real estate agents who are there. You might just find your perfect real estate agent at a local open house.

  1. Ask good questions

Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices to a few agents, you should meet with them so you can get a better feel of their personality and business style. And when you’re meeting with them, it’s crucial that you ask questions that help you come to a final decision.

Some questions you should ask include:

  • How many homes do you help buyers purchase a year?
  • How many active clients do you have at a time?
  • Will I be working with you individually or with a team?
  • Do you have references I can call?
  1. Discuss your goals

It’s important that your real estate agent has a clear understanding of your goals. If you’re selling your home, you may want to discuss how many showings you want to do and how you want your property to be marketed. If you’re buying a home, you’ll likely want to discuss what you’re looking for and what your price range is, including what you want to put down for your down payment. A good real estate agent should be understanding and work with you to accomplish those goals.

  1. Make sure you agree on important details

A good real estate agent is someone who you will agree with on important matters. If you’re selling your home, this can include your commission structure, listing price, and contract length. And if you’re buying a home, this should include what exactly you’re looking for in a home and what your budget is. 

How to Choose a Realtor to Sell Your House

Knowing what to look for can help you ensure your selling experience goes as smoothly as possible. The right realtor can make all the difference when it comes to how long your house is on the market and how much money you get for your property. 

When choosing a real estate agent to sell your house, make sure you thoroughly research all your candidates so you can find someone who is experienced and qualified. You should also meet with them so that you can vet their personality and make sure they’re someone who you actually like working with. You also want to understand your agent’s marketing plan to ensure it aligns with what you’re looking for. 

How to Choose a Realtor to Buy a House

A good real estate agent will help you find your dream home—or the closest thing to it—at a price you’re comfortable with, and guide you through the entire closing process.

When picking a real estate agent to buy a home, you should look for someone who has good communication, positive reviews, and reliable experience. They should also be knowledgeable about the local housing market in your area. A good real estate agent will be there for you throughout the entire home buying process, from start to finish. 

You can use an online realtor search to find realtors in your area. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, do further research about their experience and use the tips above so you can find the perfect match.

Get the Most Out of Your Home Buying Experience with the Right Help

Home buying and home selling are equally stressful experiences, but having the right help from a good realtor can make the whole process that much more enjoyable. A good realtor will be there with every step of the way, because they want to have the best possible experience as they help you either find your dream home or sell your home.

If you’re planning on buying a home in the near future, you should start saving as soon as possible. And if you need help with budgeting to buy a home, you can use the Mint app. You can use a home budget template or the Mint app to keep track of your goals and make sure you’re saving enough each month to buy a house and planning ahead for expenses.

Saving for a home is a huge undertaking, but Mint can help take away some of that stress and make budgeting seem a lot more manageable.

Sources: National Association of REALTORS® | Realtor.com 

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