There are so many things to do when you’re buying or selling a home. But none is more important than choosing a real estate agent. Finding the right agent can make the whole real estate process easier and less stressful. You’re less likely to make costly mistakes and bad decisions. In fact, a professional real estate agent can make everything run more smoothly and efficiently. But you shouldn’t just randomly choose an agent. You should find the one that’s the best fit for you. Here’s how to find the right real estate agent for your needs.

Be ready

If you’re prepared, then choosing the right agent will be much easier for you. If you’re a buyer, then that means getting pre-approved for a mortgage, knowing how much house you can afford, and knowing what you’re looking for in a home and a neighborhood. For sellers, it means knowing your timeline and what kind of home you’re selling – for example a vacation home or a starter home. Being prepared can help you choose an agent that specializes in just what you need.

Get recommendations

There are many real estate agents out there to choose from. So where do you begin to look? We suggest asking friends, family, and colleagues who recently bought or sold a home for recommendations. You can also look online for reviews of real estate agents in your area. Check out a real estate agent’s website and social media accounts to get a feel for who they are.

Interview several agents

Yes, you can and should interview real estate agents before deciding with whom you’d like to work. Center your search around agents that have expertise in your neighborhood and find out if they work full-time or part-time. Ask to see their recent transactions so you can find out what kind of experience they have. You’ll also want to get a sense of whether or not an agent fits your personality. You want to work with someone you trust and who you can rely on when you hit bumps in the road. While buying or selling a home is a big financial transaction, it also has an emotional side. When you find an agent that fits your personality, they can also help you navigate the stress and anxiety that buying or selling a home can create. Some of the questions you might ask include:

  • How do you like to communicate?
  • What are your hours for showings or to answer questions?
  • Will you be the person I work with primarily or someone else on your team?

Get it in writing

Once you’ve decided on an agent, you’ll want to put your commitment in writing. Some of the things you’ll want to discuss with your agent include:

  • Length of your agreement (typically three months for buyers and six months for sellers).
  • Commission fees, which are usually a percentage of the selling price of the home (often five to six percent).
  • How commission fees are spent including costs of marketing.

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