6 tricks to discover an excellent actual property agent

A real estate agent can make or cancel your home purchase

When you buy a house, your real estate agent can be a strong asset.

They show you houses and recommend great finds as soon as they hit the market, and provide valuable insight and advice on the buying process.

Still, more than a third of the youngest buyers say they won't reuse their last real estate agent.

So how can you make sure you choose the right person for the job?

The trick is to learn to review recommendations to find an agent that best represents your needs.

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How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Here are six steps you can take to find a real estate agent who is helpful, experienced, and has your interests as a home buyer in mind:

1. Talk to a lender before you find a real estate agent

Your impulse might be to immediately contact a real estate agent so that you can view houses.

However, you want to contact lenders first to get an idea of ​​the mortgage programs available in your area and to qualify for a mortgage.

A mortgage pre-qualification or pre-approval gives you an estimate of how much house you can afford.

Without receiving prior approval, you risk hiring an agent who only looks at houses that a lender does not approve of your purchase.

This is not a guarantee, as lenders must review your application through strict underwriting standards before you can take out a loan.

However, pre-approval provides a snapshot of what you are likely to qualify for based on your income, credit rating and current debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

Without one, you risk hiring a broker who only looks at houses that a lender does not approve of buying.

You will be more successful if you know from the start that you are looking for houses within your budget.

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2nd Ask family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations for agents

We are so used to googling every question that comes to mind. It makes sense that your impulse is to also search for real estate agents online.

But when it comes to choosing the right agent, nothing beats old-fashioned word of mouth.

Your friends and family will tell you things you can't find on an agent's website – such as whether they responded to emails and text, how proactively they recommended offers, and how they behave in general.

Ideally, you want your agent to have an in-depth understanding of the trends in your local market and a sense of the types of properties that suit your needs and buying skills.

It is important that you trust your real estate agent as you will work closely with them throughout the buying process.

The people closest to you have a feel for the personalities you're most likely to talk to, and they can give you an insight into what it's like to work with a particular agent.

Your neighbors are also great resources, as the agent they use is likely to know the area where you want to buy.

Ideally, you want your agent to have an in-depth understanding of the trends in your local market and a sense of the types of properties that suit your needs and buying skills.

3rd Ask your previous agent for recommendations

If you previously bought a house but your former agent is not working in the area you want to move to, ask if they have contacts in the area.

Another broker may be able to guide you to reputable real estate agencies or even know a local broker that would be perfect for you.

As great as family recommendations are in terms of buying experience, another agent may have a different attitude about what makes someone great at work.

If you get their professional opinion, you can get a comprehensive overview of all your options.

4th Check online ratings to check potential real estate agents

A Google search is useful here if you need to find a real estate agent.

When you've compiled your list of recommendations, search for their names online. Check if other buyers share the opinions of your friends and family members.

Some helpful questions to think about when looking at real estate broker reviews are:

Does this agent have rave reviews? Are they known for doing business? Are they emotionally and logistically supportive? Do buyers say they answered questions quickly? Do they usually work with buyers in your population?

An agent who often works with similar people in terms of your income and lifestyle may be better equipped to anticipate your preferences and suggest houses that interest you.

5. Meet an agent face to face before hiring them

Just as you should apply for a mortgage with at least three lenders, you should also meet with several agents before deciding on one.

This also applies if a friend or relative introduces you to an agent whom he knows personally. Just because an agent is a friend of your father's doesn't mean he's the best person to represent you.

When speaking to different agents, ask about the types of properties they specialize in and the types of customers they typically work with.

If you're looking for a small starter house, you don't want to sign up with an agent who usually works with luxury buyers.

When speaking to different agents, ask about the types of properties they specialize in and the types of customers they typically work with.

Because real estate agents work on commission, they may react less quickly than you want because they focus on larger deals. You want to work with someone who can fully support you.

Also ask about their work style. Are they "always on"? Can you call her with questions after hours? How often are you away from the office?

Think about your expectations for your real estate agent and make sure that their approach meets your needs.

Too often, home buyers are so eager to find a home that they enter into a relationship with a real estate agent who doesn't really fit their needs.

6. Make sure your agent's license is up to date

Real estate agents must have valid, up-to-date licenses in order to provide legal advice and representation for a business.

Before committing to an agent relationship, verify that it is licensed by checking the National Association of Realtors (NAR) database.

You can also look up your state's association and look up their credentials on their website if that is an option, or call the association and ask for help.

Hopefully every recommended agent will have a valid and current license. However, double checking is quick and easy and can save you a lot of trouble later if something is wrong.

Why it is important to find a good real estate agent

A good real estate agent not only helps you find your dream home. They are committed to you throughout the purchase process. They can suggest a reasonable launch offer and help you build a competitive offer in a hot market.

Because they have seen so many businesses succeed – and fail – an agent can offer perspective when you lose your dream home or the inspection process raises some important red flags.

Your real estate agent will also negotiate the purchase price, as well as details about who will do certain repairs and whether the seller will help with the closing costs (which can be up to 5% of your mortgage).

In short, you need a real estate agent that you can trust. For this reason, your search should not start personally, but personally.

Although you've probably started your house search with virtual tours of Zillow and Trulia, you want to get your real estate agent recommendations from people you already know.

The more real knowledge you have about a broker, the better you are informed – and the more successful the buying experience for homes is.

Final thoughts

The excitement of buying a house may make you want to find a real estate agent sooner rather than later.

However, since this is such an important relationship, it is worth taking the time to find out who is best suited to represent you and who you want to work with during an exciting – but also stressful and emotional – process.

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