Updated: Apr 18
Just because your neighbor’s college roommate’s sister just got a real estate license doesn’t mean she’s the right agent for you.
When you bring on a real estate agent to help with the homebuying process, you’re making a hiring decision. It’s important to think as critically about who you choose as you would any other professional you hire. Consider these four traits as you research and interview your next (or first!) buyer’s agent.
1. Your agent should be a professional.
More so than crisp slacks and a glossy business card (though those are nice, too), it’s important to find an agent who is, in fact, a full-time professional. We suggest vetting agents to find someone who has experience in your neighborhood. You need one who has a thorough knowledge of home supply, the factors affecting home prices on a neighborhood level, and how sales pace influences “good” home availability. It is imperative that your agent know how to handle the challenges that will inevitably arise during your transaction. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
2. Your agent should understand your specific needs and timeline.
You’re not in the market to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a boring, cookie-cutter house with a weird floor plan on the far end of town from where you work and spend all your leisure time. Make sure your agent understands what YOU are looking for in a home. If you are looking for a specific kind of home (retirement community, new build, urban condo, equestrian property, etc.), try to find an agent who specializes in that type of listing.
Along the same lines, make sure your agent doesn’t rush you into a home if you still have eight months left on your lease—or worse, that they don’t lallygag with your offers when you need to be in a new home asap. Whether your move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, your agent should be able to help you plan your purchase around your own timeline. That is not to say that he or she can pick the exact date for your move. You just want the agent to exert any influence they can.
3. Your agent should be open about his or her past clients.
Essentially, a real estate agent’s past clients serve as their resume. For good agents, previous clients may also indicate the strength of their future business, as well. You have the right to request your agent’s sales data and ask to see verified testimonials.
In fact, peer-to-peer recommendations and service reviews are a great way to narrow your agent interviews and get a feel for the kind of service and support he or she will provide. Independent sites like Zillow.com let clients submit objective reviews about the quality of service received from their real estate agents.
4. Your agent should be available when and how you need them.
Picking the most popular and successful agent is to your benefit only as long as that agent can manage your needs as well as they do the rest of their clients. Ask questions to ensure the agent can work with your communication preferences. You may prefer to do all your real estate communication by text so you can keep the ball rolling during your work hours. Or perhaps you like to talk through your options without any character limits, and phone calls are more your thing.
Whatever your preferred method of communication, make sure you clarify that with your agent and he or she is on board. In the current market, there’s little room for dead air and missed connections. Good agents are busy agents, so they may not be available at the drop of a hat. But an agent worth their salt should treat you like the valuable client you are.
How much do you know about real estate agency?
In some real estate transactions, the seller and buyer may each have agents. But sometimes, the same agents work for both the buyer and the seller. In order to make the best decisions, it is important for you to know whether an agent is working for you as your agent or simply working with you while acting as an agent of the other party.
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about buying a home in NC, our experts at EXP Realty are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a EXP agent about buying homes or land in North Carolina.