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  • August Muske

How to Find Your Perfect Real Estate Agent

The Basics

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

In short, real estate agents are there to help people buy and sell their homes. It is an agent's duty to educate their clients on market conditions, guide them through the sale, and ease any roadblocks that may arise during throughout the process. Obviously, and agents job varies depending on their representation:

  • A buyer's agent helps find homes and arrange showings for their clients. They also aid in creating competitive offers and navigating the negotiation process.

  • A seller's agent helps clients in the pricing, listing, and marketing of their home.

It is entirely possible for a single agent to represent both parties in the transaction, but this limits the confidential duties and agent owes for both clients.

Finding your Real Estate Agent

You won't find much difficulty in finding a real estate agent to talk to. They will be lining up at your door if you show even a slight interest in buying or selling. Finding a good one is the tricky part.

Reach out to family and friends for referrals if they were satisfied with their agents and ask what they did that made the process better for the client. Never go with the first agent you meet. Over 70% of consumers make this mistake when really you should be meeting with at least 3 agents before making your decision. Make sure you look up each online to find more information about them through socials, websites, etc.

Questions For Buyers and Sellers to Ask

What experience and training does the agent have?

What kind of track record does this agent have? Have they been in the business for a long time? A good agent will have a plethora of experience to use to your advantage in the real estate market.

What does this agent owe me in representation?

Often times a real estate agent will only represent your best interests, but this isnt always the case. Some agents may represent both the buyer and seller in a transaction, also known as dual agency. In this case, the agent owes both sides a fiduciary relationship.

Don't be completely put off by this however. These transactions are incredibly common and it's not worth losing your dream home over a representation dispute.

What has the agent done to go above and beyond?

Ask for examples where the agent has really taken the next step for a client. What do they do well? Do they have any references you can talk to? Etc.

What does the agent charge for their services?

Typically, the seller pays the real estate commission, which is then split between the seller and buyer agents. This commission commonly is 5% to 6% of the sale price.

This rate is negotiable by law but many agents typically don't budge on this. However, it's always worth asking. Also, cheaper isn't always best. That agent who is willing to drop their commission significantly isn't always going to get you the highest price for your house. You often get what you pay for in this industry.

More Tips for Buyers

What challenges will I face as a buyer in today's market?

You want a realtor that paints honest and realistic expectations for you. Housing availability and demand is always changing and your agent should make this clear to you.

How will you help me in making offers and negotiations?

Look for an agent that understands the important aspects of housing and how different factors can be leveraged in negotiations.

How will you help me find homes in my chosen area and price range?

A good realtor will demonstrate how they go about finding homes that meet your demands. Ask for examples of how they have done so for other clients.

More Tips for Sellers

What do you think my home is worth and why?

Just because an agent recommends a higher price than others does not mean you should choose them. Overpricing can leave a house on the market for too long causing greater issues down the line.

What can I do to improve my home?

Seasoned realtors know what improvements are worth making before selling, and which ones aren't. Listen for solid reasoning on how they feel about certain improvements.

How will you market my home?

Arguably the most important question. You don't want an agent that lists your home and forgets about it. They should have a strong marketing plan for the whole selling process planned.

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