Are you thinking of buying a house or selling a house? One of the first steps you'll want to take is to find a good realtor. There are many local realtors advertising their services, so the process of finding the right one can be quite daunting.
There are a lot of factors to consider, so how do you know which to work with? Consider the following tips to help with your search:
1. Look for Plenty of Referrals
They say the best predictor of future performance is past performance. A realtor with strong knowledge and experience will invariably have a substantial list of past clients. These will either be past home buyers or sellers.
So don't hesitate to research online testimonials and ask for a list with contact information. If clients had a good experience working with that realtor, they won't mind sharing it with you. You should also expect to find good reviews online as well.
There are several very useful questions you can ask past clients, like:
- Were they happy with the services rendered?
- Were they a good negotiator?
- Was the home in question bought or sold for an agreeable price?
- If it's a seller, did their home sell within an acceptable timeframe and for an acceptable price?
- If it's a buyer, did the realtor listen to their needs and find appropriate properties?
- If a home sale, did the home sell in a timely manner?
- If a home purchase, did the agent listen to the client's needs
- If a home purchase, did they work within the price range?
We recommend contacting at least a handful of past clients, as it will help you compare and contrast answers to develop an accurate view of a realtor's level of competence.
2. Verify Their Licensure
Every state in the country requires realtors to obtain licenses before conducting real estate transactions. Before hiring a realtor, your first priority should be to verify that they are licensed.
A real estate license indicates that a realtor is complying with the rules and regulations that govern the industry. Furthermore, a license imposes an expectation of ethical behavior and honest business practices. It's a good way to ensure that the realtor you're working with is accountable.
More experienced realtors will have certifications and licenses beyond the standard state license. Ask any prospective realtors about these. The more they have, the more effort they have put into becoming knowledgable about their industry.
3. Remember that Experience Matters
When it comes to finding the right realtor, it's absolutely crucial to verify that they have extensive experience. There are several questions you can ask to get the information you need, such as:
- Does the agent understand the in's and out's of the local real estate market?
- How many clients have they worked with?
- What price range of homes have they been involved in buying/selling?
- Which specific neighborhoods have they worked in?
This is not to say that a novice can't effectively represent you. However, it is generally best to find someone who really knows their stuff.
4. Communication is Key
Buying or selling a home often is often a long and arduous process with much back and forth interaction. If your real estate agent lacks communication skills, it can make the process feel even longer.
There are many ways to tell if an agent knows how to communicate well. An agent who communicates well will pay close attention to your instructions and act accordingly. Furthermore, they should update you on all pertinent information regarding your home sale or purchase. If you call or email requesting information, you should expect a prompt reply.
Part of good communication also includes replying to information requests, keeping you informed, and negotiating on your behalf. When it comes to real estate, good communication is key for successful transactions.
Perhaps most importantly, an agent who communicates effectively will be stronger during negotiations. They won't hesitate to speak up and articulate your interests. Also, they won't shy away from contentious exchanges, which often occur during real estate transactions.
At Pursuing Homes, we've successfully helped many home buyers and sellers throughout the Sacramento area. If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate, you've come to the right place!