Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

6:46:00 PM

When I first started blogging I wrote a post titled, "75 Things I Wish I learned in High School." I touched upon the fact that I wish I had learned how to buy a house. It's such a huge step in our lives and yet there's no one that really tells us the right way to do it. That's why I decide to write a blog series about my experience and tips on buying a house!

My first post in this series was, of course, the introduction titled, "We Bought A House!" In that post, I explained that I wanted this series to be both educational and entertaining. Buying a house is pretty serious and I want to help others figure out the best way to do it!

"Finding the Right Mortgage Lender" was the second post in this series. In that post, I shared my experience with finding a mortgage lender and six tips on finding your own.

Today's blog post is on finding the right real estate agent. When my husband and I began discussing the possibility of purchasing our first home, we called his dad. We explained that we already talked to a mortgage lender and that the mortgage for a three bedroom house would be cheaper than the rent for our two bedroom apartment, so we decided to go for it! His first piece of advice to us was to find a  real estate agent with a well known company; he recommended Weichert. 

Although we did end up with Wiechert, we didn't go straight there. We had begun our research a little early and picked six houses that we wanted to see. It turned out that three of them were being sold by Weichert, so that's why we ended up contacting them for an agent. It just so happened that the first one we spoke with turned out to be the one!

However, we wouldn't have known that without these tips!

Make sure that your agent contacts you in a timely manner!
The amount of time it takes for the agent to contact you is incredibly important. How long it takes for initial contact will give you an idea of how long it will take for them to get back to you throughout the entire home buying process. Ideally, we would like our agents to reach out within the first hour of being contacted, but that's just not realistic. Of course, expecting a response between 24-48 hours is the norm.

Make sure that your agent is online!
Part of a good response time includes various forms of contact. Knowing that your agent can be reached through different methods is idea! Not only do you want to know that they are up to date with the current trends, but that they can be reached different was as well. 

In addition, it's also ideal to know their online because you'll be able to do a little bit more research on them before your meeting. Many real estate agents have profiles with the companies that they work for, Linkedin, and various listing websites like Trulia and Zillow. This is a great way to read up on their experience and reviews. 

Make sure that you've interviewed several agents!
Honestly, My husband and I didn't interview several agents, but our circumstances were a little bit different then most. We had two weeks to find and secure a house before our current lease was up. By the time that we decided we were going to purchase a house, there weren't many options available.

However, if you aren't in a rush, I highly suggest interviewing several agents. It is imperative that you find the right one before signing any documents, especially a buyer representation agreement. You should feel comfortable enough with your agent to discuss everything you're looking for and see a couple houses before making anything permanent. You want an agent that listens to you and doesn't push you into a different direction or just says what they think you want to hear. 

Make sure that your agent knows the area!
My husband and I got really lucky! Our agent has lived in the area for 22+ years and has raised her children locally. She knew everything there was to know about the houses, the market, and the schools. She was a huge help when it came to discussing each house and neighborhood. I recommend finding an agent that lives and works locally because they should know the area the best!

Make sure you do your research!
More than likely, your agent will give you a little pamphlet or brochure about themselves during your meeting, but you'll want to know more than what they provide. Just like any resume, you put your best skills and attributes on the paper. You need to know the nitty gritty details though!

When researching your agent, I recommend looking them up in a basic search engine and reading more about them. Check out the various websites that mention them and learn all that you can. Usually, you'll be able to find reviews and even articles regarding them and their work. Of course, you'll also need to remember to take some reviews with a grain of salt. Not every agent you find is going to have a perfect star rating. Try to find the one that has a great rating and fits your needs. You could be working with this agent for quite some time.

Make sure that your agent is experienced!
In the midst of your research, I am sure that you'll stumble upon your agents resume or some sort of profile. When you do, make sure to check out their experience. Some key thinks to look at include:
  • When they got their training/certifications
  • How long they've been working in the industry
  • Whether or not they are a full-time agent
  • What additional certifications/awards they may have acquired
  • How long they've been working in the area
While all of these questions are important, that last one can be a pretty big deal! If your agent has been in the area for a while, they may already have a good relationship with other agents and lawyers in the area. Not only that, but they may also be able to provide recommendations for local inspectors, repair men, and more. 

That's all I've really got on finding the right real estate agent. It is just one of the many steps of buying a house, but it's a very big one! There are tons of agents all over the place, it's just a matter of time until you find the right one.

I hope this has helped all of those looking into the process of buying a house! Let me know if these tips helped in the comments! 

Also, feel free to ask any questions that you'd like to see answered in upcoming posts in the "Buying A House" series!

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