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Buying a home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be overwhelming at times. That’s why many home buyers choose to work with a real estate agent who can guide them through the process. If you’re on the hunt for an agent, remember that not all real estate agents are created equal. So how exactly can you find a top real estate agent? Here are some essential questions to ask when evaluating a prospective agent.
1. What do past clients think about the agent?
Looking into an agent’s past real estate transactions can give you a good sense of what you can expect for your home purchase. Start by searching online to see what others have to say about the agent you’re considering. Online reviews only tell part of the story, so be sure to also ask friends, family, and neighbors about what they’ve heard. You can also request client references directly from the agent as well.
If you get the chance to speak directly with a past client, ask them more detailed questions. How long did it take to find their home? How proactive was the agent during the home search? What was the original listing price, and how much did they end up paying? This feedback can give you an idea of the agent’s customer service and negotiation skills.
2. Is the agent a local expert?
A top agent will have the neighborhood knowledge you’ll need to navigate your home search. For example, a local agent is usually up-to-date on the latest listings, so they can share homes that fit your criteria as soon as they hit the market. A real estate professional who actively follows local market trends will also have the insight you’ll need to make a competitive offer.
You can get a feel for an agent’s local knowledge by asking about their sales volume in the neighborhood and if they’ve recently worked with clients with similar criteria to yours. You should also ask them about local schools, transportation, and neighborhood developments that might affect your home search.
Tip: An agent who’s well-connected in your neighborhood may be able to share listings before they hit the market, giving you a chance to land your dream house before the competition kicks in.
3. Does the agent have the right qualifications and experience?
A house is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so you need to ensure your agent is qualified for this important job. Many states have an online real estate database where you can find an agent’s licensing status, brokerage information, and real estate education history.
Beyond licensing, a top performing real estate agent with experience that’s relevant to your home purchase will likely be able to handle any potential road bumps with ease and confidence. Do they specialize in what you’re buying in terms of price range, location, etc.? If you have a unique situation, say you’re buying a home with an FHA loan, is the agent familiar with the additional steps you’ll need to take? All of this information can help you determine if you can trust this agent with your home search.
4. Does the agent fit your personal home buying needs?
Ultimately, the top real estate agent will be the one who works best with you. After all, the home search can sometimes be a challenge, so it’s essential to have an agent that you feel comfortable with and understands your needs. When you first interview a potential agent, take some time to ask them some questions about their working style. That list includes:
- Communication style: How often do they communicate with clients? In what format (email, phone, etc.)?
- Team support: Do they work independently? Or do they have a team of real estate professionals that will also work with you?
- Educational resources: If you’re a first-time home buyer, are they willing to guide you through the process?
- Turnaround time: How often will they send you new listings? If you’re interested in a home, how quickly can they tour it with you?
While these questions can help you get a feel for whether or not you’ll work well with this agent, you should also pay attention to what the agent asks you. If they take the time to get to know you and your home buying goals, that’s a strong sign of excellent customer service in the future.
Get matched with the perfect agent
Need help identifying top agents? At Orchard, our Home Advisor are licensed Realtors® who have a strong track record of success in your neighborhood. To get matched to an Orchard Home Advisor, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.