Once you have decided that you are ready to buy or sell real estate, the next step is to find the right real estate agent. Do not take this step lightly, it is very important. Carefully consider your situation and what your goal is, this can include a quick sale, maximum profit, finding the biggest discount or generating monthly cash flow. Remember that these agents vary just as greatly as your needs and there are a lot of things to think about.
The real estate agent is your “agent” that is, they are acting on your behalf. They are guided by their fiduciary duties. These are the duties of: utmost care, obedience and good faith, accounting, loyalty and confidentiality, and disclosure of material facts. Some of these may sound confusing but it is similar to the relationships you have with your doctor or lawyer, they are to act in your best interest as long as it is legal as it relates to the real estate transaction. It is important to note that you do not actually need a real estate agent to represent you in any real estate transaction. You may choose to do your own homework and footwork to save the commission. However, these agents do a lot of work for their clients. They find properties, find buyers, compare prices, give experienced recommendations regarding price and negotiations, network and they help to make sure that all necessary forms, money and documents are submitted properly. This can save you a lot of stress and money.
An agent can specialize. The most common type of real estate transaction is buying or selling a single-family residence. If you are looking into something else make sure to find a specialized agent. An agent may have experience in REO’s, investment properties, foreclosures or luxury homes. An agent’s area can also be their specialty. It is usually a good idea to work with an agent who is familiar with the local community, its economy and recent trends. Please note that a real estate agent should not be confused with a Realtor who is an agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s understandable, take a deep breath. Start by asking your friends and family. Instead of asking them “Do you know any real estate agents?” Try asking more probing questions like,” Have you ever worked with a really great agent?” Don’t forget that the relationship with your representative is an interpersonal one; you will be spending a lot of time with them. When seeking the perfect agent for you, ask about their personality. Some people like an agent who is thorough and punctual; others prefer an agent with a personal touch who spends lots of time getting to know them. You may want to browse the internet to find an agent; this may give you a lot of ideas about what kind of agents there are out there, but not enough to know if they are the agent for you. Make sure to ask a lot of questions before signing an agent agreement with them.
From the moment you decide on an agent, the key to success is communication. Let them know exactly what you expect and find out their expectations as well. Especially if it is your first time buying. If you do not see eye to eye be prepared to walk away. Staying and regretting it can be an expensive mistake to make.