Find the Right Real Estate Agent For you

Find the Right Real Estate Agent For you

Choosing the right real estate agent is a critical part of buying or selling property. It can be the deciding factor between a smooth transaction and a stressful, unprofitable ordeal. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process, helping you discover the most suitable real estate professional for your unique needs.

Understanding the Role of a Real Estate Agent

To fully appreciate the importance of engaging the right real estate agent, it’s crucial to understand the tasks they undertake. Real estate agents go beyond mere home listings; they serve as your personal representative in the property market.
For potential home buyers, the right agent can streamline your home search, keep tabs on the latest listings, schedule property viewings, and liaise with the sellers’ agents. These professionals have exclusive access to more property listings than what you may find on public platforms. When you’re ready to acquire a property, a competent real estate agent can help you understand the purchase contract, an essential document that determines your final home cost over the mortgage loan duration.
On the selling side, homeowners might be tempted to go solo, especially in a sizzling property market. However, selling a home involves numerous time-consuming steps and costs, which experienced real estate agents handle daily. A proficient seller’s agent can stage and market your home effectively, discern which repairs are necessary, and manage the complex world of commissions.

Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Agent, or Broker: What’s the Difference?

The world of real estate is loaded with various titles, and it might be confusing to differentiate between real estate agents and brokers. Let’s break it down:
  1. Real Estate Agents: These professionals are state-licensed and have passed a licensing exam after completing a set amount of coursework hours.
  2. Real Estate Agents: Many real estate agents and brokers are Real Estate Agents, and members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). They adhere to the Real Estate Agent’s Code of Ethics, and consumers can report any violators to their local Real Estate Agent association.
  3. Real Estate Brokers: These are agents who have undergone higher-level training and passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers might be principal/designated brokers, managing brokers, or associate brokers, each with their specific roles and responsibilities.

The Distinction Between Buyer’s and Seller’s Agents

The primary difference between a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent lies in their representation. While both agents aim to secure the best deal for their clients, the buyer’s agent represents the buyer, while the seller’s agent represents the seller.

Seller’s Agent Duties

A seller’s agent provides a variety of services, including:
  • Conducting an initial home consultation to determine the property’s value.
  • Recommending contractors for necessary upgrades.
  • Assisting in staging the property.
  • Developing marketing materials and a professional website to showcase the property.
  • Hosting open houses and private home showings.
  • Coordinating communications between the title officer, seller, and buyer to prevent any surprises at the closing table.
  • Ensuring that the seller understands the closing documents.

Buyer’s Agent Duties

A buyer’s agent is expected to:
  • Help buyers understand the local housing market.
  • Arrange home tours and transport buyers to these appointments, if necessary.
  • Assist buyers in assessing a home’s price and value before making an offer.
  • Explain the standard offer form and provide advice on contingencies.
  • Recommend reliable home inspectors.
  • Facilitate communication with the selling agent and other parties to keep the home purchase on track.

Preparing to Hire a Real Estate Agent

Before hiring a real estate agent, there are crucial steps to take to ensure that you’re ready for the buying or selling process.

If you’re buying:

  1. Get pre-approved: A mortgage pre-approval helps determine your home search’s price range, saving you from wasting time on unaffordable properties.
  2. Understand the mortgage loan process: This is especially crucial for first-time homebuyers. Your budget should account for a down payment (approximately 20% is best), earnest money, annual property tax, and insurance costs.
  3. List your housing priorities: Know the type of home you desire, necessary features, and preferred amenities. If possible, familiarize yourself with the towns and neighborhoods you’re interested in.

If you’re selling:

  1. Begin your agent search early: Preparing a house for sale, especially if it requires significant repairs, takes time. Engaging a listing agent several months to a year before you plan to sell can help with budgeting and planning necessary repairs.
  2. Get your home in order: A cluttered house needs to be cleaned up before it’s listed. Take time to clear out untouched boxes, old furniture, and other space-consuming items.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

While word-of-mouth referrals are common, there are several other ways to find a real estate professional. Here are a few methods to kick-start your search:
  1. Your personal network: Many home sellers find their agent through personal connections. Ask your acquaintances, colleagues, and neighbors who have recently bought or sold properties. Don’t forget to leverage your social media network as well.
  2. Research: Review each agent’s online presence, including their social media platforms and consumer ratings. Also, examine your neighborhood to see which Real Estate Agents and companies are listing homes, and attend open houses to meet potential agents in person.
  3. Official referral sources: Checking with the local chamber of commerce or using NAR’s ‘Find a Real Estate Agent’ form are excellent ways to find active local agents. You can also contact real estate brokerage companies, either nationally known ones or independent brands with a strong local presence and reputation.
  4. Contact a referral agent: If you’re hunting for property out of state and need an agent in that area, a real estate referral agent can be of great help. A referral agent will connect you with another agent and earn a percentage of the local agent’s commission.

Choosing Your Ideal Real Estate Agent

Once you have a list of potential agents, there are several factors to consider when narrowing down your choices.
  1. Experience: Real Estate Agents who are members of NAR have an average of eight years of experience. However, some agents may have more experience in specific areas, like working with first-time buyers or dealing with condos or co-ops.
  2. Relevant Certifications: There are numerous real estate certifications offered by the NAR, leading to designations like Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) and Seller Representative Specialist (SRS). These indicate that the agent has pursued additional education and training.
  3. Local Knowledge: An agent familiar with the area can best advise on sales prices based on recent trends and help you narrow down neighborhoods based on your priorities.
  4. Marketing and Technical Skills: A listing agent needs to know how to create a strong first impression online because most people shop for homes virtually before visiting a property for sale.
  5. Availability: A full-time agent who isn’t overcommitted with other work is more likely to be available when you need them.
  6. Level of Personal Attention: You’ll need to decide if you prefer working with an individual agent or a team of agents.
  7. Commitment and Contracts: When you hire a listing agent, you’ll sign a listing agreement that typically lasts two to six months.

Key Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re selling or buying a property, there are some basic questions you should ask potential Real Estate Agents.

If you’re selling a home:

  • How much experience do you have?
  • Are you certified and do you have a real estate license?
  • How are your marketing skills?
  • How do you like to work?

If you’re buying a house:

  • How much experience do you have?
  • Are you certified and do you have a real estate license?
  • How do you like to work?

Making the Final Decision on an Agent

Choosing a real estate agent is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. The agent you select will be your partner during a significant and potentially stressful period of your life. Take your time, do thorough research, and make sure all your questions are answered.

Key Takeaways

Choosing the right real estate agent can make all the difference in attracting potential buyers, securing the best possible deal, and closing in a timely manner. However, not all real estate agents are created equal. Some agents charge more than others, so it’s essential to thoroughly research before deciding who to work with. And of course, if you are looking to find a Real Estate Agent in Pittsburgh, look now further than right here!

Work With Lauren

I'll meet you where you are in your real estate journey. Whether it's your first house or your 5th I'm ready to impress and guide you in the right direction. My top-selling real estate business is where it is today because it's about serving my clients like they are family.

Follow Me on Instagram