If you are in the market to buy a home, you may be deciding on what agent you are going to work with. Or, perhaps you are considering selling your home and you need to work with an agent. It is time to select a real estate agent to guide you through the home buying or selling process and what can be a challenging and sometimes stressful process. Before you contact an agent from doing a search on Google, be sure to know how to choose a real estate agent before you sign an agreement. The following are some considerations to take into account before you get started.
What is the Difference Between a Buyer’s Agent and a Seller’s Agent
There are agents who specialize in being either a buyer’s agent or a seller’s agent. And of course, there are agents who do both and represent sellers and buyers. In some states, there are agents who practice dual agency and that is when the listing agent for a property also represents the buyer.
The primary role of a buyer’s agent is to guide you through the purchase of a home. The buyer’s agent will be your representative and be a professional resource for your questions or concerns about the transaction. A good buyer’s agent will go the extra mile to show you all available properties, and one you can trust they have your best interests in mind as you search for a home. The buyer’s agent will go over the comparables before making an offer to ensure that you are not overpaying. Your agent will point out the features of a home that add value. Other roles include knowing what questions to ask after a home inspection. Your agent will also discuss the community that the property is located in and the local schools. There are many reasons why you need a buyers agent, especially with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
A listing agent or seller’s agent works on behalf of the seller. The listing agent will work with the seller on establishing the list price of the property. They will go over recent comparable sales and market activity in the neighborhood. Another role of the listing agent is providing guidance on how to get your ready your home to sell. The seller’s agent will negotiate on the seller’s behalf to get the highest and best price for the property. The seller’s agent will also be responsible for marketing the property. You will want to hire an agent that has a strong internet presence to ensure that your home will have maximum exposure. Listing agents will also review with sellers what must be disclosed when selling a home.
Both buyer’s agents and seller’s agents work very hard for their clients. It is their responsibility to comply with the purchase agreement, ensure their clients are following the timelines established in the contract. Additionally, it is imperative that you work with an experienced agent who is aware of the current guidelines in light of the pandemic. There are new guidelines for showings and your safety is another factor to be considered during the home buying process. Both agents will discuss the real estate commission and how it works.
Questions to Ask a Realtor Prior to Hiring
It is important to ask questions when selecting a real estate agent. You will want to know how experienced the agent is prior to hiring them. The following are some questions to ask before selecting your agent.
- What area do you work in? If you are hiring a seller’s agent, then you will want someone familiar with the area. You want to work with an agent who is knowledgeable of the number of homes in a community, floor plans, and what schools are attended.
- Do you represent buyers or sellers? There are agents who represent both buyers and sellers. If you are hiring a listing agent, then ask them if they are going to participate in dual agency of they are representing the buyer as well.
- What is your marketing plan? If you are hiring a listing agent or seller’s agent, be sure to inquire about the agent’s internet presence.
- Do you have a website or blog? If an agent states that they have a blog, ask to view it and have them show you how other properties have been marketed in the past.
- Will you get professional photography? This is an important question as your home will only have one chance to make a good first impression. The first place someone is going to see your house will be online, and you want to ensure that the photography is stellar. The listing agent should provide guidance on how to prepare to have professional photos taken.
- Will you utilize aerial photography? It really is a good idea to have aerial photography. It will show where the property is in comparison to amenities in the community.
- How many transactions do you do a year? While you may not need to hire the agent who does the most amount of transactions, an agent should be fairly active in the business in order to stay current with the forms and the current guidelines.
- Are you on a team or will I be dealing directly with you? This is a very important factor as you may want to deal directly with the person that you are speaking with and not their assistants.
- How do we handle the COVID-19 Pandemic when selling a home? Every state, county, and city have their own guidelines. It is imperative to work with an agent who is knowledgeable showing a home during the coronavirus. There are entry forms to be signed prior to entering a property. You want to work with an agent that can educate all parties about what is required and the current guidelines.
- How will we communicate and how often will I be updated? Establish the method of communication whether it be text, email, or voice mail. Ask how often you will receive updates on the sale of the property. As a seller, you should ask for at least weekly updates on the marketing activities of the property, inquiries, showings and more.
Another way to find a real estate agent is to ask for referrals. If you have a neighbor that utilized an agent and had a successful transaction, then perhaps you should speak to that agent. Be sure to ask that agent for testimonials and talk to that agent’s past clients. Be sure to ask how the transaction went and were there any hiccups along the way. Ask if all the timelines were met as well.How to Choose Your Real Estate AgentClick To Tweet
Search the community that you are interested in and run a search. The top agents will come up. Be advised that the agents who come up and state “ad” next to it are paying for that placement. When the funds for the ad runs out, then the ad will go away. A real estate agent who has a top placement and is organic.
You want to make sure that you have a good connection with the Realtor and that you will have a good working relationship. Buying a home will be most likely one of the largest investments, then you will want to work with an ethical, competent agent. Be sure to perform your due diligence on your agent to ensure that you are working with the right agent.
About the Author
The above real estate article “How to Choose Your Real Estate Agent” was written by Sharon Paxson of Newport Beach Real Estate. With experience since 2005 representing sellers, buyers, and landlords with their real estate transactions, we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise and guide you through the home buying or selling process.
We service the following Orange County CA areas: Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Santa Ana, Sunset Beach, Tustin, and more! If you are considering selling your home, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and list your home with a top Newport Beach CA Realtor.