When it comes time for you to buy or sell a home, a professional real estate agent can help make the process as smooth as possible. A real estate agent with expertise and experience should guide you every step of the process, help answer any questions you may have, and ensure that the sale closes out in a timely manner. With so many agents to choose from, you may be wondering how to go about choosing a top agent. Here are some key tips to help you vet your real estate agent to ensure a great homeselling or homebuying process.
Questions to Ask When Getting Started
When choosing a real estate agent, don’t be afraid to question your prospective agent. We always recommend interviewing several agents before landing on one to make sure that you find the best agent for your needs. Like a job interview, asking the right questions helps you see if the candidate is experienced, professional, and reliable. Some key questions to ask include:
- How much and what type of experience do they have?
For example, if you’re looking to purchase or sell a home, a commercial real estate agent would not be your best option. Though credentials are not always indicative of someone’s capabilities, it is good to explore their experience as a real estate agent.
- What do their reviews suggest about their performance?
Examining the agent’s past testimonials or reviews from previous clients can give you an outsider’s view of what to expect. In general, good reviews are a sign you’re more likely to be pleased with a real estate agent.
- What is their style? How do they like to market homes?
It’s a good idea to get an idea of your potential agent’s style and approach to buying and selling homes. This can help you determine if their approach matches your unique needs. One way to check out an agent’s style is to look at the other listings they have. Their website and social media platforms are other great places to go to get a feel for their styles and personalities.
How to Vet for Credibility
When looking for a real estate agent, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Asking around is a great way to get a preliminary list of agents to interview. Below are a few extra pro tips for choosing the best agent for your needs.
Pro tip: When researching candidates, the candidate’s website and social media pages are great places to go to gather information. You can also get a feel for their credibility on sites like the Better Business Bureau, which will show any complaints they’ve received.
Pro tip: When it comes time to interview your candidates, ask them to refer you to some clients they have served in the past year. Ask these clients about their experience with the agent, what the agent did to support them through the process, and if they’d use them again in the future. This kind of testimony can be very telling.
Pro tip: If you’re working with a real estate agent, check that they are a REALTOR®, which indicates they have professional accreditations through the National Association of Realtors. A REALTOR® abides by a Code of Ethics, based on professionalism and protection of the public. Among other duties to clients and customers, REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.
How to Find a Great Fit
Credentials and experience are only part of the total picture when choosing a real estate agent. There are many qualified real estate agents out there; however, it is important for them to also be a great fit for you personally. Some questions to ask yourself as you meet with agents are:
- Do they seem passionate and honest?
- Does the agent clearly understand what your desires or needs are?
- Do they have strong core values?
- Do they seem like they can handle potential hurdles and help mitigate risk?
These questions are just a few ways to help you determine if the real estate agent is a good fit for your personal needs. A common misconception is that all real estate agents are created equal. This is simply not true. A good real estate agent does not mean they’re necessarily a good real estate agent for you.
Misconceptions & Tips to Keep in Mind
- Pay attention to the methods of communication available.
A common misconception is that real estate agents are shady or will not be upfront about their intentions or commissions. When choosing an agent, look for someone candid and honest. Many real estate agents will answer questions directly and make themselves an open book! Honesty is the best policy, and that applies to the real estate industry, too.
- Before signing your contract, take a close look at the details.
Look at the listed commission rate as well as the length of the contract itself. A good contract is typically around six months or less, which allows you to keep your options open if you want to change agents during the process.
Looking to buy or sell your home soon? Get in touch with one of our expert local agents! We are here to serve your needs and answer any questions you have regarding residential real estate, commercial real estate, property management, or relocation in Fredericksburg Virginia, Stafford VA, and surrounding areas. Schedule your appointment to talk with us today!