Understanding how to choose a good real estate agent is crucial whether you’re looking to buy or sell a house. Instead of spending hours searching the internet, you can simply trust your real estate agent to walk you through every step of the procedure and answer all of your financial, tactical, and technical questions. A smart realtor will also be well-versed in the ins and outs of the local real estate market.
You will be trusting this person to help you make a big decision so first, let’s distinguish the difference between a buyer’s agent and a listing agent.
A buyer’s agent
Buyers agents help their clients to find properties mostly using multiple listing services and they contact the listing agents (whose role will be explained later) to set up showings, and later present offers. Basically, a buyer’s agent is the representative of the buyer.
Selling agents and buyer’s agents are the same thing. A buyer’s agent becomes a selling agent when they bring in a buyer to purchase the property.
A Listing Agent
Listing agents are the real estate agents that represent a home seller. They are the ones to guide you through the market, help you with negotiations, and more. As mentioned above, when a buyer makes an offer, your listing agent is the one to receive it first.
A transaction broker
Here’s a new term for those who are wondering “what if an agent is dealing with both the buyer and the seller?” If a single real estate agent is dealing with both parties, they are called “a transaction broker” because they are not representing an individual but they are representing a transaction.
So, now that you know the difference between different types of real estate agents, let’s take a look at how to find a good real estate agent whether your purpose is to sell or buy a house.
We have prepared this guide for you! If you feel like you need guidance with your real estate adventures, especially in the Naples region, you can contact us right here!
How To Find And Hire A Real Estate Agent
There are plenty of real estate brokers seeking jobs via postcards, yard signs, and internet ads but with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right one. To ensure that you hire the best real estate agent, you should pay attention to the following.
Inquire among your friends and relatives to see if they can recommend a realtor with whom they have had a positive experience. You’ll want someone who has worked with clients comparable to you in the past. For example, the needs of first-time buyers differ from those of repeat buyers or homeowners wishing to downsize.
Also, there’s a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent. A Realtor is a member of the NAR (National Association of REALTORS). It’s a trademark that is protected by federal law. Think of it this way, every Realtor is a real estate agent but not every real estate agent is a Realtor.
Having a capital R means that they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and have pledged to follow the organization’s code of ethics. Some Realtors have credentials demonstrating that they have completed training in a specific area of real estate such as Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR).
You can visit different open houses to chat with various real estate agents. Especially if you’re looking to buy a house, open house visitations will allow you to both view a potential purchase as well as talk with a realtor. You can also see how the realtor is interacting with people which will give you an idea about their personality!
Having an online presence is a must in the real estate market so start by checking out the agent’s website and social media pages to see if they are active, their previous deals, and more. Also, take a peek at their internet reviews. One or two unfavorable reviews aren’t a big deal, but more than that could be a warning sign.
Check with your state’s real estate authority to see if an agent you’re considering is licensed and if they’ve had any disciplinary measures taken against them.
Also, check the website of your local Better Business Bureau to discover whether any of the prospects you’re interviewing have received any complaints.
Visit Their Offices
Once you have narrowed your search to a number of realtors, you can pop up to their offices to have a chat. It’s important to have chemistry with your realtor so having a one-on-one talk with them about your intentions and current situation will give you a good idea of whether that real estate agent is “the one” or not!
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they communicate with you, so take a chance to see if your potential real estate agent is a good listener or not, whether they will keep your best interests as a priority, and more. You and your real estate agent will be spending lots of time together so keep in mind that your realtor needs to relate to you!
Interview at least 3 real estate agents before deciding
An interview allows you to obtain a sense of the real estate agent’s personality and background. Furthermore, you want a real estate broker that is familiar with the area and understands your budget and requirements. As mentioned above, clicking with your real estate agent is important.
Interviewing more than one real estate agent will also allow you to compare them and what they offer in service. Most people settle with the first real estate agent that they meet, we recommend you to treat this as a job interview.
You can also learn about the agent’s preferred form of communication and availability during the interviews. If you prefer texting and plan to tour properties after work hours on weekdays, you’ll want to find a real estate agent who is willing to do the same.
What To Look For In A Realtor When Buying A Home
While interviewing your potential realtors, it’s important to ask some questions!
Will they negotiate on your behalf?
Knowing whether you can trust your realtor to negotiate on your behalf is important. But for them to be able to negotiate for you, they need to have a clear understanding of your budget and situation as a whole. Also, you’ll want a real estate broker to help you understand the market and what type of terms are appropriate when submitting an offer on a home.
There are many things to be negotiated while purchasing a house, not just the listing price. When closing a deal, the buyer usually ends up paying the closing fee, surveys, taxes, etc. But closing fees can be paid by either party, so it’s important to have a realtor who will look out for your best interest and negotiate their way in!
Will they scour and report to you potential listings?
You need to know how much your realtor is willing to do for you so you won’t have unrealistic expectations. Ask them about their schedule so that you can find out how many clients they are working with and how much time and contact you will receive. It’s important to know how much effort your agent will put into servicing your needs. For instance, you should know if your agent is willing to search the area to find you your next dream home if there’s nothing suitable for you in the current listings.
Do they provide concierge service?
A real estate concierge service goes above and beyond to link buyers with a recognized list of service providers who can help them get their houses ready to move-in. Realtors who provide concierge services can assist their clients in navigating builder alternatives, decorating, or renovating the property to the buyer’s personal tastes or needs, whether they are buying a new construction or a resale home. If you want a “ready-to-move-in” house you might wanna know if that’s included in the service offered.
How does the commission work?
Before engaging in a partnership with your agent, have a good grasp of how they are compensated just like you would with any other financial transaction.
Generally, home buyers do not pay commissions to real estate agents. The seller pays their broker fees, and the commission is split with the buyer’s agent. The proportion varies by agent and market, but both the buyer’s and seller’s agent commissions are typically around 6%.
What To Look For In A Realtor When Selling Your Home
When you contact a listing agent for an interview, they will set up a listing appointment for you. Most real estate agents understand that they aren’t the only listing appointments on your calendar, so they should go all out to earn your business. Here are some questions you should ask them during the interview.
How well do they know the local market?
Your potential realtor should be able to know the local real estate market to be able to value your property correctly so you don’t end up losing money or not getting any offers. If they know the prices in the area then they can help you get into the market competitively.
An agent’s listing presentation should include facts such as their average list-to-sale ratio. This is the mean size of a final sale amount compared to the home’s original list price. This may be found on a Multiple Listing Service. Their personal ratio should ideally be greater than the national average, but it should at the very least be comparable to the national average.
Did they advise you on how to add more value to your home?
For your house to be valued correctly your realtor has to examine the property. During the examination, a good realtor should be able to tell you how to increase the value of your home. For instance, if there are any issues with the house such as leaky pipes or old doorknobs, you might wanna change those before putting your house up for sale. Maybe paint the walls or trim the plants and even add a patio.
If your realtor is giving you advice on how to increase the value of your home that means he or she is keeping your best interest at heart.
How do they plan to market your home?
This is a very essential subject for full-service agents. You’ll want to know how your agent intends to attract buyers for your property because every agent has a slightly different strategy for marketing their customers’ properties for sale. The most common marketing method is to use listings, professional photography, and social media.
Knowing the marketing strategy will allow you to be more involved in the selling process and make sure both you and your realtor are on the same page.
So if you’re unsure about the location of your next home or simply looking to purchase a condo in a warm place to enjoy your summers, even winters, check out our properties in Naples! Lots of people are buying their second homes in Naples solely to enjoy the warm days and spectacular sunset views from the beach. With art galleries, fashionable boutiques, and delicious restaurants you will never be bored in this amazing coastal city!
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
After obtaining the real estate license in 2022, Kris joined eXp Realty and launched Homes by Ardor, the platform that was built to be the fastest way to buy or sell a house. Homes by Ardor also provides leads for its partner companies and realtors.