For those looking to buy or sell property, no one is more important to ensuring that the process goes smoothly and in a way that looks out for your best interests than a real estate agent. However, given the absolute importance of real estate deals for our financial, mental, and familial health, it’s critical to make sure that you avoid some basic and common mistakes when choosing who to hire. Like any other decision you will make, it’s best to rely on the expertise and experience of others before making any sudden moves, so let’s look at the best ways to avoid hiring the wrong person for the job.
Find the Right Person for the Job
Mistake #1: Assuming that all real estate agents are the same.
One common error that people make, especially when they are new to the real estate business, is thinking that all real estate agents serve essentially the same functions and have the same areas of expertise. Before beginning, it’s important to make sure that if you are selling, you have an agent who has lots of experience with sales, called a seller’s agent.
On the other hand, if you are looking to buy property, you should look for a real estate agent known as a buyer’s agent or listing agent. Many agents are dual agents, meaning that they can perform both functions, but it’s worth looking into what their specialties are, what experience they have, and what special knowledge they have that can benefit you.
Mistake #2: Choosing an agent because they agree with your estimate.
Another very common mistake is choosing a real estate agent not because of their experience, but rather simply because they agree with your estimate of a property’s value. It’s important to trust them as you would with any other professional, and listen to their methods and reasoning of why they value a house a certain way.
Real estate agents have a lot of tools at their disposal to perform this function, like a comparative market analysis (CMA). It’s better to trust their experience and knowledge than to shop around until you find someone who agrees with you.
Mistake #3: Don’t choose a real estate agent that you don’t get along with.
Buying and selling a house can be an emotional experience, and it’s deeply important to people. Because of this, it’s worth it to wait until you find an agent that you click with and feel a connection to.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t choose someone solely because you like how they dress, their appearance, or because they give you lots of compliments. Make sure that your connection is backed up by demonstrable proof of their experience and ability to make a deal that you will be happy with in the end.
Mistake #4: Not checking references, reviews, and social media.
Before making a decision as important as which real estate agent to hire, it’s well worth it to ask them for a few references, as well as potentially asking family and friends if they know anyone that they had a good experience with that they can recommend.
In addition, check out their online presence and see how strong it is. Reviews online are a good starting point, and social media pages can give you a good impression of how professional, available, and successful they will be. However, don’t simply click on the first agent advertised to you online, take your time and find one with a legitimate online presence.
Mistake #5: Making a choice without an initial free meeting.
Before deciding on your agent, they should be willing to meet with you to discuss some basics for free before signing. If they aren’t willing to do this, they are likely too busy or simply not ready to take on clients with a diverse set of needs.
A truly professional real estate agent who knows what they are doing will be happy to sit down in a meeting with you before signing any deals. When you do this, be prepared to ask some questions, like:
- What is their commission rate? A solid average for commission rates is about 6% of the home’s sale price, which is divided between the buyer’s and seller’s agents and, if applicable, their respective brokerages.
- How do they plan on marketing your property and how long do they estimate it would take to either sell the property or close a deal?
- What is their normal response time to calls, texts, or emails, and how often are they available?
- What experience in this area, neighborhood, or type of house do they have?
Overall, if you follow these tips you will likely end up with a good agent who strikes a deal that benefits your interests. If you’re looking for a real estate agent, look for the right one today to get the process started!