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How to Find a Realtor

Find out how to locate your dream realtor with this complete guide.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent or Realtor

Before you search for your dream home, you’re going to need to search for your dream real estate agent. It might be tempting to rush through the process and just choose the first realtor you find, however you must remember that a realtor is your partner in the home searching process. It’s important to do your due diligence before you make your choice. Your realtor will be the most experienced and knowledgeable person you’ll have on your side during this stage in the home buying process. Ultimately, your real estate agent is your life line. You wouldn’t settle on the first house you find, so you shouldn’t settle with your realtor choice either. The real estate agent you choose can be the difference between a frustrating, long and winded house hunt, or a delightful, simple process which ends with you purchasing your dream home.

Finding the right real estate agent doesn’t have to be a difficult process. In fact, it can be simple if you utilize the resources available to you today. Many online websites like Homebird are ready to assist you in your search. In this article, we’re going to walk you through all of the criteria you should be aware of when selecting the right realtor. We know the house hunting process can be daunting, and finding your real estate agent can be even scarier, but this article should help take the guesswork out of it.

What Makes an Exceptional Real Estate Agent or Realtor?

An exceptional real estate agent is somebody who is truly on your side and can fight to find the absolute ideal home for you. Your realtor should negotiate the seller down and aggressively strive to save you the most money possible. It’s important that your realtor be knowledgeable of the market you’re house hunting in and have good relationships with lenders who can save you money. Don’t be afraid to interview a lot of realtors. It’s helpful if you have a personality match and build rapport. Every real estate agent you meet can show you what you are and are not looking for. Evaluate what you want out of your experience. This will lead you to your next question, what type of real estate agent do you need?

What Type of Real Estate Agent Do You Need?

It’s important to ask yourself what type of real estate agent you need. Local real estate agents will absolutely provide a different perspective and relationship than remote online realtors. Local real estate agents will potentially be able to have a better grasp on the market you are looking in if that market is in your area. If you’re looking out of state, then of course, an out of state or even online realtor might be more appropriate. No matter the geographic location, the bottom line is that you are going to want a real estate agent who meets your specific needs.

Types of Real Estate Agents or Realtors

Not all real estate agents or realtors are going to have the same qualities or offer you the same benefits. Actually, most people don’t realize that a real estate agent and a realtor aren’t exactly the same thing. A real estate agent is a real estate professional with a valid license. Agents help people buy and sell both commercial and residential properties. Real estate agents can become realtors, who are active and paying members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). 

A big differentiator between a real estate agent and a realtor are their lender partners. Different lenders will offer different products, which will benefit different types of buyers. You do not have to agree to borrow from your real estate agent’s preferred lender, but it is helpful that your agent and your lender have a history. This will allow the eventual process of securing a home loan to run much smoother. 

You can learn about your realtor by simply asking about their experiences. There’s no shortage of qualities that separate agents. Some specialize in luxury homes and some in suburban areas. Depending on their expertise they may have more experience in the residential or commercial market. You may be working with an inexperienced realtor or someone with years of market knowledge. By figuring out what their strengths might be you can know if they are a good fit. 

Feel free to consult your lender about their real estate partners and get their opinions on what qualities you should be looking for in a real estate agent. It’s better to reach out to a lender first and then find a realtor once you’ve figured out the loan amount you’re qualified for. 

  • Problem solver mindset
  • Self-motivated entrepreneur 
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Hustle and tenacity
  • Interest in houses and architecture
  • Engaging personality 
  • Attention to detail
  • Understand the local housing market
  • Build a network of connections
  • Knowledge is power

An Exceptional Real Estate Buyer’s Agent

A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional who is legally licensed to represent the buyer and their interests in real estate transactions. A buyer’s agent represents you, the homebuyer, as opposed to a seller’s agent who has the seller’s best interests at heart. Often, as a potential homebuyer, the best way to ensure that your interests are protected is by signing a contract with a dedicated buyer’s agent. 

When searching for a buyer’s agent, it’s important to distinguish what makes them exceptional. It’s very important that a buyer’s agent has your best interest and needs in mind rather than just their bottom line and final paycheck. The terms of your relationship should be made very clear. If anything about your interactions seems off, be sure to seek clarity or be cautious of any dealings. Another quality of an exceptional buyer’s agent is that they will connect you with other professionals who will alleviate the stress of the home buying process and will aid to securing you the best possible deal on the ideal home for you.

An Exceptional Real Estate Seller’s Agent

If you’re planning on selling your home, you can definitely expect a list of expenses. One of the largest expenses is always the commission you pay the seller’s agent. The expense will typically be around 6% of your home’s selling price. This fee pays the seller’s agent for the valuable work they do such as preparing the home, marketing it, showing it to potential buyers and helping you through the selling process.

You’ll find that some home owners try to save money by not working with an agent. They attempt to list their homes “for sale by owner”, or FSBO. However, FSBOs require a lot of time, effort and previous real estate knowledge. FSBOs also incur their own expenses that home owners who hire listing agents don’t have to pay. Ultimately, for most homeowners, it actually saves a lot of money to hire a seller’s agent.

Where to Find the Right Real Estate Agent?

When searching for the right real estate agent, it pays off to utilize all of your resources. Firstly, you no doubt have friends or family members in the real estate business. If not, maybe a co-worker or a friend of a friend knows somebody. Either way, exhausting all of your closest resources should be step one. After gathering all reliable recommendations from your inner circle, where else should you turn other than the internet. There’s no shortage of realtors on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram wanting to work with you. If social media isn’t your forte, then websites like Homebird.com will help you in your search. Wherever you turn to, you just have to put yourself out there and start making connections. Begin dialogue and have many conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions and don’t be afraid of being picky. Settling really is not an option when you’re in the business of buying your dream home. 

Open houses will become second nature to you while you’re working the process of finding your new home. The question now becomes where to find open houses? Well, your realtor will be of exceptional assistance in helping you see many open houses that fit your specific needs. If you’re on your own at first, open houses are constantly listed on websites like Facebook, Zillow, and Craigslist. A simple Google search for “open houses near me” will surely produce valuable results and you’ll be able to comb through the results with your needs like location, home size, and so on. 

You’ll want to bring a checklist and a notebook with you to all the open houses you attend. This can be physical paper or a digital app on your phone, but whatever method you prefer, it’s imperative that you keep track of the homes you tour. It never hurts to take a lot of photos and videos as well. By the end of this, you’ll be so familiar with the process that you’d be able to host your own open house like a pro. 

If you’re looking for a realtor online, there are many websites to search through that make the hunt pretty simple; Homebird, Trulia, Zillow, Homefinder, Realtor.com, Dwellr, Xome, and Redfin to name a handful. Targeting your search will be made simple on many of these websites with their different filters on their searches. It’s really just up to you to determine what it is that you’re looking for. Once you’ve determined your criteria, you can narrow your search of realtors. Find their profiles with information and reviews from other home buyers. At this point, feel free to contact the realtors that seem promising. Conversations with them will make it much clearer who will be a good fit for you. 

Questions To Ask a Real Estate Agent

Once you’ve found at least three potential real estate agents, make sure you’re prepared with the questions you need to ask them. Here are some that we think are extremely pertinent. 

  • How long have you been in the business? 
  • What’s your average List-Price-To-Sales-Price ratio? 
  • What’s your best marketing plan or strategy for my needs?
  • Can you provide references?
  • What are the top three things that separate you from the competition?
  • Can I review documents ahead of time?
  • How will you help me find other professionals?
  • How much do you charge?
  • What kind of guarantee do you offer?
  • What haven’t I asked you that you think I should know?

As we said to do with open houses, take notes during your interviews with these real estate agents. It will help later when you’re making your final decision. 

Finding the Right Agent for You

Ultimately, finding the right real estate agent for you comes down to who will work best for you. When making your final decisions, request references, consider their real estate experience, and lastly, listen to your gut. You’ll know what the right decision to make is. Return to this page whenever you need a reference and a guide in your hunt for the right real estate agent. On Q Financial is also available as a resource. Reach out to us to get a referral of qualified real estate agents who might be ideal for you.

* This material provided is for information and educational purposes only.