A real estate agent will guide you through the process of buying a house, which is likely to be the most expensive financial transaction you will ever make. You want to work with someone who has the right knowledge and experience to suit your needs.
Many Agents Focus on a Specific Niche
Some real estate agents only represent clients looking for luxury properties or waterfront homes, for example, and can provide an excellent service level to buyers interested in those types of properties. If an agent specializes in an area that isn’t relevant to what you’re looking for, that agent won’t be the right match for you.
For first-time homebuyers, the process often feels confusing and overwhelming. If you have never purchased a house before, you may want to look for an agent who has helped a significant number of first-time homebuyers in the past. An agent with that type of experience will be aware of common concerns and misunderstandings and may do a better job explaining and answering questions than someone who hasn’t worked with many first-time buyers.
If you’re interested in downsizing, you will have different needs than those of buyers looking for a home for a growing family. You may want to work with an agent who has represented other buyers who wanted to downsize. An agent with that experience may be able to help you figure out what is truly important to you and provide useful insights based on the experiences of other clients who have downsized.
How to Choose an Agent
You can start by talking to family members, friends and coworkers who have bought a home recently. Discuss their experiences and ask if they would recommend the agent they used. A recommendation may be helpful, but you shouldn’t choose an agent because someone you know had a positive experience. If you and the other person had very different needs, that agent might not be the right person to help you buy a home.
Check an agent’s website and social media accounts to learn more about his or her training, certifications, areas of expertise and years of experience. Read reviews to learn about other customers’ experiences working with the agent.
Interview at least a few real estate agents before you make a decision. Speaking with agents one-on-one will allow you to explain your goals, preferences and budget and learn more about each individual’s approach and personality. Request references from recent customers and contacts them to inquire about their experiences and opinions. That will help you figure out which agent will be the best match for you.