If you haven’t bought or sold a home ever or in some time, it can be daunting to decide the first few steps. One big choice is who will represent you as your real estate agent. Most communities have quite a few agents available, so how can you know what the best options available to you are? Here are some basic steps to make sure you select a great fit.
Before You Even Start, Know What you Want
If you’ve ever worked with a real estate agent before, you probably know a few things that you wish had gone a little differently. Do you want someone who communicates a ton, letting you know even when there’s no news on offers, for instance? Or do you prefer someone hands off, who will only get in touch when they need something from you? Getting to know your own communication likes and dislikes gives you an initial template through which to look for the right fit.
Get to Know Who Gets Results in Your Area
If you want to narrow down a wide field of options, looking at the data is a great option. For instance, Homelight makes it possible to review how many homes their top real estate agents have sold, and they survey their agents every quarter to get insights into the industry. The goal is to find something objective to work from as you pick your first few options: see who is selling a lot of houses, houses that are staying on the market for only a little while, and other metrics.
This is a place to note what matters to you again: do you want a really high price, a really fast and easy sale, or some other priority? You don’t have to pick an agent who does everything perfectly, just one who has strong stats in what matters to you.
Talk to Friends and Family For a Referral
Once you’ve got some names, start asking friends and neighbors about who they know: while numbers are great, you also want a personal connection. Often, a real estate agent who is well-connected to a lot of your community will know a valuable details they can help you use to contextualize a sale or purchase of a home.
If you don’t know people who know the real estate agents personally, however, you can absolutely request references that will also provide you that personal touch and let you know what the process is like with this person.
Talk to Two or Three Top Contenders
Don’t leave everything to others, however; plan to talk to at least two or three real estate agents in person if you can, or on the phone. Many people don’t realize something they are looking for in terms of ‘fit’ for an agent until they’ve already chosen someone, so committing to talking to two or three (rather than just saying “she’s the one!” after the first one) can really help you. Even if you come back to that first person after all, you’ll come with additional knowledge about what you really want.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Back to the Drawing Board
Part of why agents get commission is that they provide a truly valuable service, and are your guide during a fairly complex and potentially stressful process. If you end up really not getting a good feeling from your ‘finalists,’ don’t be afraid to open the pool back up again and find someone different! You’ll have new insight as you approach the options again, and you deserve a real estate agent who will really smooth this process for you!
The goal when choosing a real estate agent isn’t just about finding whoever has the splashiest advertising or seems to be associated with strong real estate success in your area. While those things may indicate a great agent, there also may be a great up-and-coming agent out there whose initial numbers are good and who really went the extra mile for a friend of yours. Keep an eye out for how you can get the things that matter the most to you in the sale, such as a fast sale or a high price, and acknowledge that many different kinds of agents could provide your path to success.