In today's world, it's easy to find a real estate agent almost anywhere, whether it's through online platforms like Google and Facebook, billboards and radio advertisements, or recommendations from acquaintances, friends, and family members.
But in the current competitive market, finding an agent who meets your needs can be difficult. If you are looking for guidance on how to find a real estate agent, continue reading below to discover what questions to ask and what qualities to look for in a potential agent.
The real estate industry is home to various professionals and roles, including agents, brokers, and realtors. When buying or selling real estate, it is essential to understand these roles to successfully navigate the industry and make informed decisions.
Real Estate Agent vs. Broker
State laws regarding real estate differ, but generally speaking, anyone with a real estate license can call themselves a real estate agent. On the other hand, real estate brokers are agents who have passed the broker licensing exam. The primary difference between a broker and an agent is that a broker can own a firm or work independently, while an agent must be supervised by a broker.
The responsibility of a real estate broker lies in negotiating and arranging the property transaction, and they may work individually or as part of a team. Depending on their position, brokers perform a wide range of tasks and are generally responsible for recruiting, training, and managing agents, drafting contracts, managing real estate transactions, overseeing offices and staff, and connecting with government and professional organizations, among other things.
Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent
The term "real estate agent" refers to someone licensed to facilitate the sale or purchase of commercial or residential properties. Meanwhile, a realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors
(NAR), the country's largest trade association.
Despite their different meanings, people often use these terms interchangeably. Many people think calling someone a "real estate agent" may appear wordy and cumbersome, so people who don't know the differences between the two titles may simply refer to them as realtors.
Buyer’s Agent and Listing Agents Serve Different Roles
It is not common for a real estate agent to serve as both the listing agent and buying agent in the same transaction, mainly because a buyer's agent and a listing agent have different roles in a real estate transaction and it may cause ethical concerns
. A buyer's agent helps clients looking to buy a home find suitable properties, negotiate a purchase price, and navigate the closing process. Their job is to ensure the buyer gets the best deal possible by representing their interests.
On the other hand, listing agents represent those selling properties. Sellers hire them to prepare their properties for sale, set a price, market them, and negotiate with potential buyers. They represent the seller's interests and work to ensure that the property is sold for the best possible price.
How to Find a Real Estate Agent
With research, extensive knowledge of the local market, and great network connections, the right agent can help you achieve your real estate goals.
What is their experience?
Look for an agent that can provide you with valuable insights into the real estate industry, whether setting an appropriate listing price for your property based on recent trends or negotiating with seller’s agents to secure a better price for the buyer.
NAR members have an average of eight years of experience
. Agents' experience levels may differ depending on their specializations and areas of expertise, such as working with first-time homebuyers or handling condominium or cooperative transactions.
Do they have assistants that will help me?
Agents should devote enough time to your specific needs, whether it is getting your home ready for sale or visiting multiple properties each week, your schedule. If an agent has an assistant, this might be a great time to ask them what services they’ll provide, such as setting up home showings.
How much commission do they expect?
A real estate agent's commission may vary depending on the location, the property type, and the specific agreement between the agent and the client. It is common for agents to receive a commission of five to six percent of a property's sale price. Buyer and seller agents typically share this commission, each receiving a portion.
Do they have good reviews from past clients?
Reviews can provide insight into an agent's communication style, negotiation skills, and overall performance. When reading reviews, it's essential to look for patterns that indicate if the agent consistently delivers high-quality service or if there is a history of negative comments. To better understand an agent's performance, you should ask them for references from past clients.
Things to Look for in a Buyer’s Agent
They’ll help you find homes in your price range
A buyer's agent will assess a buyer's budget and needs, then use their expertise to identify properties aligned with those parameters. Depending on the buyer's budget, they may also be able to recommend neighborhoods or areas that offer good value and amenities.
They’ll negotiate with sellers to get you a better price
Buyer's agents will negotiate with sellers. They will use their local real estate market knowledge, comparable sales data, and negotiation skills to secure the best price and terms for their clients.
They’ll set realistic expectations regarding home availability and competition
A real estate agent can provide information about the current state of the local housing market, including inventory levels, recent sales data, and any emerging trends that may affect a buyer's search. The agent will also help set realistic expectations about the entire process, such as the timeline for finding a property, the likelihood of bidding wars or multiple offers, and the importance of being flexible and responsive during the search.
Things to Look for in a Seller’s Agent
They’ll help you market your home
A listing agent uses their experience and resources to create a comprehensive marketing plan that targets potential buyers through online listings, print ads, open houses, and social media. Using their professional network may also help them promote the property to other agents and buyers.
They’ll tell you what improvements to make to your home
Great agents will provide crucial advice to sellers regarding home improvements. They'll identify any areas that could benefit from repairs, upgrades, or staging. They will then work with the seller to develop a plan that maximizes the home's appeal and return on investment while staying within the seller’s budget.
They’ll choose a realistic listing price for your home
To determine a price that reflects the home's value, the agent will use their knowledge of the local real estate market, comparable sales data, and their experience in selling similar properties.
They’ll know the comparable listings in your area because they have experience selling them
The seller's agent will be familiar with similar listings in the seller's area. To attract potential buyers, they will use this knowledge to help sellers understand how their home compares to other properties on the market. Additionally, they can offer guidance on when to adjust the listng price if the home isn't generating enough buyer interest.
Deciding on a Real Estate Agent
Are you interested in learning how to find a real estate agent? If so, just remember this person should be your ally during a crucial and potentially stressful time. By conducting thorough research and asking the right questions, you will find a highly qualified real estate agent who will advocate for you during your home purchase or sale. Contact agent John Butcher today to begin the process!