If you’re in the market for a new house, your real estate agent will be one of your most important assets and resources during the home buying process. Finding the right one, though, can be tricky, especially if you don’t know exactly what qualities to look for. Don’t just call up the number on the first lawn sign you see. Here are a few characteristics of a good real estate agent you should keep in mind when picking one out.
This may seem like a given, but you’ll want someone who’s both experienced and knowledgeable. Look into the backgrounds of potential agents, paying attention to how many properties they’ve closed and how many years they’ve worked in the industry. The more deals they’ve helped close, the more experience they have under their belt. Experts recommend selecting an agent with at least five years of experience, but that certainly isn’t a magic number. It’s also suggested that you find an agent who works full-time so their attention is focused on their clients and securing the best possible deals for them.
Look into some information about real estate or the housing market and ask potential agents questions about them to see if they know the answers. If they know less than you do, then you should move on to someone else—that definitely isn’t a good sign. Additionally, find someone who has plenty of local area knowledge—neighborhoods, schools, commute times, and any pertinent information that may not be known to those outside of real estate.
An effective real estate agent is one with plenty of connections and a wide network of contacts. Good and experienced agents will typically know others in the area and have healthy, professional relationships with them. You don’t want an agent who doesn’t know anyone or isn’t willing to work with other agents. From your pool of potential agents, ask each individual one if they know another on your list. Gage how well-respected they are.
It can also help to Google their name to find out if any previous buyers or sellers have encountered problems with them. One quick means of doing this is to add the word “complaint” alongside their name when searching. If bad reviews start turning up, you may want to abandon that ship.
You’ll want a real estate agent who can give you the amount of attention you require. A busy agent is a good sign—it means they work hard and are valued by plenty of buyers and sellers. However, an agent that is too busy may not be able to provide you the sort of care you need during the home buying process, which is a stressful situation whether you’re a first-timer or a vet.
Also ensure your agent is available to reach online, with both mobile and laptop access. Today’s world is so connected, working with an agent who is unable to communicate with you via text or e-mail will only end in frustration.
You definitely don’t want someone who performs in an unprofessional manner. There needs to be some sort of trust built between yourself and your agent, and one who acts unprofessionally can never maintain that sort of trust. During your review process, find out if your potential agent has a history of canceling or showing up late to appointments. If they do, you should probably pass. Having an agent that does not value professionalism will only hinder the home buying process and make it needlessly frustrating.
Once you’ve found an individual who meets these requirements, you’ll be well on your way to a—hopefully—easy and stress-free purchase. If you ever have concerns, don’t be afraid to reach out—your agent will be there to help you every step of the way.