How to find a real estate agent: step by step guide

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Most home buyers work with a real estate agent, and for good reason.

Having an agent to negotiate on your behalf and handle the transaction helps ensure you get a fair deal and close on time. But knowing that you need an agent and knowing how to find a real estate agent are two totally different things. Fortunately, the process is not as difficult as you might think.

Follow these steps to find a qualified real estate agent in your area:

  1. Start with mortgage pre-approval
  2. Do your research
  3. Use your network
  4. Refine your choices
  5. Interview the best candidates
  6. Hire the best agent

1. Start with mortgage pre-approval

Obtain a mortgage pre-approval before you start looking for a real estate agent. Unless you pay cash, you won’t know how much home you can afford – or even if you’re eligible for financing – until you’ve been pre-approved by a mortgage lender.

2. Do your research

An easy way to build an initial list of qualified agents is to search real estate portals like Zillow. These sites have agent directories that show recent sales activity and agent reviews.

Google and Facebook are also good resources for finding local agents and reviews.

However, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has much more detailed property information than consumer portals. Make sure the agents you are considering have access to it.

The MLS is a valuable tool not only for finding available homes, but also for finding comparables that will guide your decision on how much to offer for the home you want.

Learn more: Off-Market Homes: How To Find Pocket Ads

3. Use your network

When struggling to find a real estate agent, buyers often overlook one primary resource: their own network.

You probably have family or friends who have been in the same situation as you recently, but have since closed on a house. Over 90% of buyers who have used an agent would use that agent again, according to a survey by National Association of Real Estate Agents, so don’t be afraid to ask for references from people you know.

4. Refine your choices

After doing some preliminary research, the next step is to narrow your choices down to a manageable number.

Zillow and Google reviews can be helpful. That said, the lack of reviews isn’t necessarily a bad sign. It may just mean that the agent gets their business through personal networks and referrals rather than online sources.

Advice: Check the agent’s website and social media profiles. Make sure the agent has taken the time to introduce themselves and their service in a way that shows they are knowledgeable and customer-centric.

Social media profiles of agents can give you a good idea of ​​their personal style. Chances are, some resonate with you more than others. You can learn more about them and what they can do for you by calling them to schedule interviews.

5. Interview the best candidates

Most consumers go to the first agent they go to, but it makes sense to talk to a few before deciding which one will represent you in your business. house purchase. Here are six questions you might ask yourself:

  1. How many sales have you made for buyers in the past year?
  2. How many homes have you sold in my target neighborhood?
  3. How often will we communicate and what are your hours of operation?
  4. What are the terms of your buyer’s agency contract?
  5. What makes you the best choice for a buyer in my situation?
  6. Can I contact your references?

Learn more: How long does it take to buy a house

6. Hire the best agent

As with any good relationship, communication is key. The interview is a great time to set expectations for how often you expect your agent to be in contact.

They should be available to you, the mortgage representative who takes care of your mortgage, the title agent, the home inspector and others involved in your transaction.

Before an agent can represent you, you must also sign a buyer’s agency contract. The agreement generally explains:

  • How the agent is paid
  • Any fees you might pay the real estate brokerage house (for example, upfront fees)
  • That you agree to work exclusively with the agency of your choice
  • General information about the type of property you are looking for (i.e. location, price range)

Often times, an agent’s commission comes from the seller’s product. If this compensation is insufficient, you could be responsible for making up the difference. However, this scenario is relatively rare.

Finally, be sure to speak with agent references before making a final decision. These conversations are invaluable because they give you the opportunity to know first-hand whether the agent handled the referral transactions in an efficient and competent manner.

Credible makes it easy to find a good mortgage rate. You can see the prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in just three minutes. We also provide transparency on lender fees which some comparison sites do not.

About the Author

Daria uhlig

Daria uhlig

Daria Uhlig is a Credible associate who covers mortgages and real estate. His work has been published in publications such as The Motley Fool, USA Today, MSN Money, CNBC, and Yahoo! Finance.

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