I have always found it a bit odd, that when people begin to look for a home, they seem content to “inherit” an agent. It’s probably not the best option.
I get it, some people just don’t know how to choose a real estate agent, let a lone find one that’s right for them. Think about it, you’re in the market for a home so you start checking the classified ads, looking on the internet, or visiting weekend open houses. When you find that perfect home, it comes with a built-in agent who may or may not be the right choice to assist you.
One of the reasons agents do public open houses is to meet prospective clients and while it’s a good way to meet agents, you should not feel obligated to work with an agent simply because they advertise a house.
In my opinion, if you’re in the market to buy a home, your first step should be to shop for an agent, not to shop for property.
So, how do you choose the right real estate agent?
Ask family or friends who they recommend. Drive the neighbourhood you would like to live in and see who has signs on the lawn. If an agent has a dominant presence in a neighbourhood, chances are there is a pretty good reason for it and they may be able to help you too.
Check the local community newspapers and see who is advertising consistently. Call some of the agents to inquire – not about the houses they are advertising – but about how they can help you. Then select 2 or 3 agents and interview them to decide whom you feel is best to represent you. One of the questions you might wish to ask is whether real estate is their profession, or a hobby. In my opinion, retaining a part time agent to represent you in the purchase or sale of your home is probably not the best idea.
The Internet provides you with much more information than buyers had available to them in the past and that is a good thing. Check out agent web sites. Does the agent have a web site that simply tells the world how wonderful they are, or do they provide lots of information on their site and seem genuinely concerned about informing homebuyers?
Finally, any professional agent will always ask for an appointment to meet with you. Agents have a legal obligation to act in your best interest, so you want someone who takes that responsibility very seriously. And you can’t determine that over the phone. Finally, if someone seems too much like a salesman, then maybe you should look a little further.
There are lots of good agents out there, but there are plenty of not so good ones also. While it’s difficult to really know how to choose a real estate agent, let alone choosing wisely, we hope this guide to choosing an agent was helpful. Because when you retain an agent to represent you – whether in helping you buy or sell your home – that agent is going to have a significant impact on your life.