Finding the Best Real Estate Agent for You

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Real Estate

Hiring a professional real estate agent when you are buying or selling a home can help you make the best decisions while avoiding costly mistakes. Not just any agent will fit the bill, or work well with you, and that's okay! There is someone out there for everyone, however, it is a bit of a touch-and-go process when searching for who is the best fit for you to help you land that dream home in Palm Desert, CA.

Continue to read to find out how to choose the right real estate agent for you.

Realtor versus Real Estate Agent

All real estate agents have to be licensed in the states where they work and abide by both national and state laws. Realtors, on the other hand, are licensed agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors, which has more than 1.5 million members, who pledge to abide by the association's standards and code of ethics.

Real Estate Agent versus Broker

A real estate broker has received additional training, beyond what agents typically receive, to get a real estate broker license. Similar to agents, brokers must complete state-required coursework and pass an exam to get licensed. A broker can oversee other real estate agents, work under a managing broker, or choose to operate independently.

How Can You Find and Interview Real Estate Agents?

It is always easy to ask around, whether it is friends or colleagues, for referrals to find several prospective agents. Look up the agents' websites and online profiles, read about their particular specialties and experiences, and check out customer reviews. It is always smart to select three agents to interview and dig into specifics about how they would work with you.

Good Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents During an Interview

Whether you are buying a home or selling a home, there are a few key questions that should be asked during an interview to get a good feel for which real estate agent might be the best fit for you.

Is the Agent Licensed?

Licensure requires agents to complete a certain amount of coursework and pass an exam. It is always important to check your state's real estate commission website to find out if a particular agent is licensed.

Will the Agent Represent Interests? 

It is easy to assume any real estate agent you choose will represent your interests only. In some cases, real estate agents aren't legally required to represent solely the buyer or the seller in a transaction. Let's take a closer look at what this can mean. A "dual agent" will represent both the buyer and the seller in the same deal. A "transactional agent" works with both sides, but has no fiduciary responsibility to either. Knowing your agent's role before beginning to work with them is critical.

What Experience and Training Does the Agent Have?

How long has the agent been working with clients, and what training or recognition does the agent bring to the table? Look for an agent with a gleaming track record of serving clients like yourself.

How Will the Agent Communicate With You? 

Do you prefer communication via texting, phone calls, or emails? Most agents use all three channels, so make sure the agent will accommodate your preferred communication method.

Finding a Real Estate Agent: Tips for Buyers

Here are a few additional things to think about when choosing an agent to help you buy a home.

  • What are Some Challenges I will Face as a Buyer in Today's Market? A great agent will set realistic expectations by explaining the availability of listed homes and the level of competition you will face with other buyers.
  • How Can an Agent Help Me Find Listed Homes in My Price Range? Request examples of how the agent has recently helped other buyers similar to you. This will give a sense of how well the agent will serve your personal needs.
  • How Will an Agent Help Me Make Competitive Offers and Negotiate with Sellers? Search for an agent who will help you stay grounded within your budget and goals.

Finding a Real Estate Agent: Tips for Sellers

Here are a few additional things to think about when choosing an agent to help you sell a home.

  • What are Some Comparable Listings in my Area? An agent should provide a comparative market analysis, showing homes similar to yours that were recently sold in your area.
  • What Would an Agent Think Your Home Is Worth and Why? An agent who recommends the highest price isn't always the best choice. Choose an agent who backs up the recommendation with market knowledge.
  • What Can You Do to Improve Your Home? You might have to fix things up to sell your home, depending on the local real estate market. Listen for solid reasoning about what your home needs and the return on investment for making that improvement.
  • How Will Your Home Be Marketed? Agents will more than likely suggest putting your home on many listing services and real estate websites, such as Zillow. Get details about other promotional tools the agent might suggest using, such as photos, video tours, and advertising. The level of marketing required to sell a home depends on the market.

The Bottom Line

While it is highly recommended that you compare agents' experiences and approaches, it is just as important that the one you choose can establish rapport. Look for a competent agent who listens and responds to your needs, while having a working style that clicks with yours. People skills matter in buying and selling a home, just as much as real estate expertise. Let Ronald Christopher & Associates help you find the best agent when searching for your new dream home in Palm Desert, CA today.