Buying a home. It’s arguably the biggest, most impactful purchase a person will make in his or her lifetime, and there’s a lot to consider. Location, time of year, family size, architectural style, a “must-haves” list and the general housing market all factor into finding and purchasing your dream home.
A good realtor will be able to help you navigate all of these home-buying aspects systematically and at the right pace for you. She or he can assist you by filling in any knowledge gaps about the entire process, from touring homes to the final signature on your closing paperwork. Working with a realtor ensures you’re entirely represented, in your search, negotiations, potential building, inspections, repairs and more. And after the keys are in your hand, your realtor can be a resource to provide you with information on your surrounding communities, direction on beginning life in a new place, or a repository of contacts from painters to plumbers.
Notably, this is a big job with a lot more responsibilities than simply getting you into the home that’s right for you. So, how do you find the person that’s going to represent you best, while also connecting with you on a personal level (this is, after all, a big time in your life!)? Take a look at the list below:
Check with family and friends who have recently moved to see if anyone had a fantastic experience with their agent. There’s also the textbook “Looking for Recommendations” Facebook post as a good place to start; then, you can do your own internet research to narrow down those you’d like to reach out to. And, if you’re moving somewhere totally brand new, keep in mind that the realtor you used previously may have a nationwide or even worldwide network of great agents to refer to you to!
If an agent doesn’t have any reviews, it doesn’t mean they’re not a good agent. But if they do have reviews, it means that this particular agent was so good that people felt compelled to share their experience. It’s worthwhile to browse a realtor’s Zillow, Facebook or even Google page for reviews to see how their clients feel and felt about working with them.
3.) Current Listings
If you already have a name or two or in mind, take a look at their current listings to see if the homes they’ve listed are similar in price range, location and style to the ones you like. Many agents have their own sites with an “Our Listings” tab, or you can use tools like Zillow’s Agent Finder (click the Agent’s name then scroll down to “Our Active Listings”). Find Realtors with Realtor.com has a similar option.
4.) Consider Years of Experience…
…but don’t fully base your decision on the number. With the right training, even a newer agent can absolutely dominate the role, especially if they’re part of a renowned company or have a great leader. An agent working in real estate for a long time learns the cycles of the market, the nuances of the area, and they’ve had considerable experience partnering with all types of people. If an experienced, exceptional agent leads a team, you can usually place great confidence in the fact they’re only going to pick the best agents be a part of their team, too.
5.) Active on their Social Sites
These days, social media can be a good look into who a person is or what their business is all about. The same goes for real estate agents! Do they have a business Facebook page, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.? What sorts of content are they posting? Is it relevant, helpful, and do they put their clients first? Does it align with what you’re looking for?
6.) Your Own Instinct
It’s completely acceptable to meet with more than one agent to find the right person to represent you. This is your experience and a very personal one, at that! Work with someone you connect with, who shares relevant knowledge with you, and puts you, as the client, first. You want someone who is professional but also relatable and won’t push you to make a decision to work with them on the spot. Sometimes it takes a few tries, and you have every right to say you’re just beginning your search but may give them a call back!
Once again, remember this home search is all about you! A good real estate agent will do everything they can to make you feel that way, and to make it a good experience. Best of luck as you begin your home buying journey!
Written by Maddie Scurfield, GBG Marketing