By Kim Olson
Finding “just the right home for you” can be daunting, especially if you’re moving to an area that you’re not familiar with. Fortunately, a good real estate agent can really make the process much easier.
Follow these steps to find the best real estate agent in today’s troubled market, and your search for a home or other property will be much easier.
1 – Get a real estate agent who works just for you.
Unfortunately, the real estate business is such that sometimes real estate brokers can represent both buyers and sellers simultaneously as “dual agents.” That can be a potential problem due to conflict of interest. Look for an agent who has your best interest in mind and is only a buyer’s agent. Buyers’ agents work just for buyers, so that there’s never a question of conflict of interest or of being steered toward a home that may not be perfect for you because the broker wants to unload it.
2 – Look for the certification of an Accredited Buyer’s Agent through the National Association of Realtors.
Truly professional full-time buyers’ agents are certified by the National Association of Realtors as Accredited Buyer Representatives, or ASRs. These agents have done at least five transactions where they’ve been solely buyers’ agents; they’ve been educated on what they need to do to help buyers purchasing property so they negotiate solely on behalf of the buyer.
3 – Ask for recommendations
Friends and family will usually have good ideas on a real estate agent whose services you can use for your own home search.
Google the search phrase “exclusive buyer’s agent” along with your intended city or town with the search phrase “exclusive buyer’s agent.” This will bring up results for agents, who only work for buyers.
4 – Do face-to-face interviews.
Once you’ve got good candidates, make sure you do face-to-face interviews with each of them if at all possible. This will give you a chance to judge each agent in person and ask questions.
Ask the following questions:
1 – How long have you been working as a real estate agent?
Look for somebody with at least three years of experience.
2 – Do you work full time as a real estate agent or Realtor?
You don’t want someone who sells real estate “on the side” like the over-whelming majority of agents, who are after a commission and don’t really know the market that well. You want a real estate agent who will be of great benefit to your home search.
3 – How many closings have you had in the past six months?
You should look for a real estate agent who can close at least one sale every six months to make a full time living from the business.
4 – How many homes did you close that were in my price range during that period?
Real estate agents who regularly negotiate the sale of homes in the same price range will have a wealth of knowledge about houses in various neighborhoods in your area.
5 – Work with foreclosure or short sales?
The market is primarily made up of discount sales these days with the fallout of the financial crisis. Make sure your agent has experience closing foreclosure sales and short sales since chances are that’s what you’ll end up buying.