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Tips for Finding the Perfect Real Estate Agent for Your Home Purchase

If you’re preparing to buy or sell a home in a hot market like this, you can’t afford to walk into the situation unprepared. And with hundreds of agents to choose from in your local market, you ultimately have to decide which person is the right fit for you. Knowing how to properly vet and select an agent is a skill that will serve you well in your search.

5 Tips for Choosing an Agent

In a hot real estate market, you can’t take anything for granted. If you’re buying or selling a house, you must take the time to fully prepare for the process by hiring the best possible real estate agent for your needs. 

Here are several strategies that homeowners use to streamline the selection process and find the best fit.

  1. Get Referrals

Start with your own personal circle of influence. Make a list of the top people you trust in your area (including neighbors, friends, coworkers, or family members). Think of the ones who are the most connected and ask them for their top recommendation.

As you gather referrals, look for any common suggestions. If you see the same name pop up a couple of times, it’s a good sign that you’ve found someone. Either way, you should meet with at least three different agents to get a feel for their personalities and hear about their recommendations. (This is especially important if you’re hiring a listing agent, as it’s a good idea to listen to their recommended listing price and other details.)

  1. Evaluate the Two E’s

When it comes to analyzing an agent, there are two E’s that we recommend accounting for:

  • E – Experience. How many years has the agent been in business? There’s a big difference between an agent who just got a license, an agent who has been in business for two years, and an agent who has been practicing for 10 years. The more experienced an agent is, the more they’ve seen different versions of the market come, go, and repeat themselves.
  • E – Expertise. A generalist usually doesn’t provide the best services. You want someone who specializes in transaction type (buyers, sellers, foreclosures, etc.), location (specific neighborhood), or property type (residential, condos, etc.).

You’ll find many inexperienced agents who have a so-called “expertise” in one niche or area, as well as experienced agents who lack any specific expertise. The key is to find someone who brings both to the table. 

The Kay-Grant Group in Arizona is a great example. Their agents have decades of experience working with buyers and sellers in very specific neighborhoods throughout Scottsdale and Phoenix. This gives them a distinct advantage over inexperienced agents who take a generalist approach.

  1. Review Past Listings

Study the agent’s past listings to see their track record. 

  • Do they have a lot of activity? 
  • How quickly do their properties sell? 
  • Do they sell above or below the asking price? 
  • What do their online reviews say?

You can find most of this information on websites like Zillow. You may also try Googling an agent’s name to discover more.

  1. Look for Full-Time

As hot as this real estate market is, you’ll find a lot of agents who have secured their license in hopes of selling two or three homes a year and adding some supplemental income to their full-time job. But if there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s a part-time agent.

Part-time agents give you part-time attention. They have to place phone calls on their lunch break and wait until they clock out to schedule a showing or put in an offer. This pace might work in a cold market, but it’ll kill your chances of getting a deal done in an active market.

  1. Consider Personality Match

It might seem like a small matter in the grand scheme of things, but the agent’s personality is a big deal. You’re going to spend hours of time with this person over the next couple of months. You’ll send hundreds of texts and make dozens of phone calls. There will be times when you’re frustrated with the process and need a voice of reason. There will be other times when you’re highly emotional and need someone to balance you out. Having the right built-in support is extremely important. You don’t have to be best friends with your agent, but your personalities should complement each other and mesh well.

Adding it All Up

It’s easy to find a real estate agent. It’s much more challenging to find a good agent who is the right fit for you, your family, and your real estate needs. Be intentional with your approach and choose wisely.