You’ve heard it all before: Good realtors need to be good communicators or they need to be ready with a list of comparable homes or lots in the area should you request it. The fact is that these are things all real estate agents should be able to do! The good ones, however, will take things a step farther.
Want to know how to find a great agent? Here are a few tips that will help you narrow your search.
The best real estate agents share one thing: They know that their business thrives or fails based on their reputation. For an agent, one of the best ways to build a reputation is to create a network of trusted professionals. Whether you need a mortgage broker, home inspector, contractor, insurance agent or any other professional, your realtor should be able to put you in touch with the best of the best, not the guy who happens to be your agent’s best buddy.
It’s tempting to go with the real estate agent that you know personally – and in fact, a 2014 study shows that 40% of homebuyers found their realtors through friends or family. If that agent happens to be an expert in the area that you’re shopping, wonderful! If not, you could be missing out.
When an agent is truly an expert in their area, they’ll be able to offer you much more information than what can be gleaned through the MLS:
Properties that are soon to hit the market
FSBOs they've heard about
Local housing trends
What services and utilities are available
Which communities are quiet and which are active
In short, a local agent should be able to answer nearly any question you have about a particular property or the neighborhood it’s situated in.
You should also look for a full-time realtor, not a part-timer. Full-time agents are more likely to be immersed in their markets, whereas the night-and-weekend agent may not have the time to learn all the ins and outs of the neighborhoods they represent.
Most realtors have a specialty, whether that’s high-end homes, residential areas, commercial real estate, rental properties or something else. If you’re building a custom home design, then you’re looking for empty land (either suburban or rural) that can be developed. That means you’ll need an agent that specializes in buildable plots. If you go with an agent that prefers, say, commercial real estate, they’re unlikely to prioritize your needs over those of their other clients.
Finding the right realtor is almost as important as finding the right piece of land or the perfect house plans. However, it’s worth the effort; the right agent will make a huge difference as you shop for a place to call home.
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