One of the biggest problems when it comes to buying a home is that we often make the decision with our hearts and not quite so much with our heads. In some senses this is not a bad way to go about the process; recent years have shown that investing in property is a difficult game and often best left to the experienced. Treating real estate – if you’re going to live in it – as purely an investment is not the most sensible way to go about buying. A home should be a home not simply an investment and this is why falling in love with a property is a big part of the equation. Even for those buying purely to rent out at least a small part of you should be a little in love with the property, as the chances are if you don’t at least like the property nobody else will! Property is, however, a big investment and commitment and so some common sense and a practical mind-set are also required. This is where finding a good real estate agent can make all the difference; a high quality one will ensure that you have a professional, experienced and level-headed individual guiding you in the right direction. But what makes for a good realtor?
Research and Recommendations
Good in terms of realtors is actually a pretty subjective word and largely depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Evaluating a realtor also involves a little hard work, which is not always something everybody considers. For those looking to buy, one way to establish how trustworthy an agent is simply to ask around. Friends, family and neighbours who have their homes on the market with a given agent, may be able to offer recommendations. Attending open house events will also give you a good idea of the qualities of a particular agent (this can be as beneficial to those searching for a realtor to represent them). A realtor who clearly knows the property they are selling and importantly, the area in which it is situated indicates that you have a potentially ‘good’ realtor. Personality isn’t everything when it comes to realtors, but it’s a very good starting point and a gut instinct (trustworthy or not) is often worth going with.
If you’re moving to a new area and don’t know many local contacts a trip round various neighbourhoods that fit your requirements will help to establish which real estate agents specialize in which types of property. Most potential buyers will look at several properties with several different realtors but it helps to know which agents are likely to have the types of property/area on their books that best fits your requirements. If you already know the area this approach can also help, a realtor that has plenty of the types of property on their books that you are looking for will probably be able to offer the biggest choice and possibly the most competitive prices. Also check online with agent listing sites (especially those that vet realtors) to find the best locally recommended firms. Sites like this offer impartial recommendations (not all previous clients of a realtor may be totally impartial) so they can be a good way to check individual realtors in addition to asking amongst your own contacts. The Agent Harvest site also has excellent information on how to evaluate potential real estate agents.
Both for those buying a dream home or a property investment there are some basic questions to ask when meeting realtors for the first time. Ask for opinions on local neighborhoods, facilities, property prices (now and in the past) as well as what links they have with other professionals in the area (legal professionals or those providing environmental or disclosure reports). Experienced agents are usually knowledgeable on most of these matters (if not all) and experience is a quality that can be invaluable when it comes to a real estate agent. This holds true for both sellers and buyers but is particularly so for the former.
Take Your Time and Do Your Homework
Good when it comes to realtors usually depends on your individual circumstances and these will dictate what you need from your agent. It’s important to understand that a real estate agent plays a crucial role in helping you make your decision and that you should never simply pick the first agent you find, nor the one with the lowest fees. Take time to evaluate different agents and be sure that your needs are matched carefully with their skills, abilities and past performance.