By Bob Cathcart
WikiHow (to do anything) online lists 22 steps on how to find a good real estate agent. I am going to cut that down to three steps and help you find a great real estate agent. From last week’s article we pretty much know some of the characteristics that we are looking for in a great agent (honesty, integrity, experience, knowledge, good communication skills, good reputation and track record of success) but where do we start our search to find this great agent? The Internet, open houses, for sale signs, and just walking into a real estate office are all ways to locate and identify possible agents that you could work with, but in my opinion the best way to find a truly great real estate agent is to start by asking family, friends, or business associates, whose opinion you respect, to recommend a real estate agent with whom they have either rented or bought or sold a home.
Nothing really compares with a recommendation from someone who has had the experience of actually going through a transaction with a real estate agent. Step 1 is to ask the person making the recommendation the right questions about their experience with their real estate agent. I know it may sound obvious but the first question to ask is “was your agent a great real estate agent?” If their response is anything other than an enthusiastic “yes”, move on to the next recommendation! With so many great agents out there, “he was okay” or “she was pretty good” is just not acceptable. Have them tell you about their transaction and what type of transaction it was (buying, selling or renting a home)? Try and find a recommendation from someone who has done the same type of transaction that you will be doing. Did their agent fully explain to them all of the contracts and paperwork and keep them informed about their transaction every step of the way? Did they trust and have confidence that their agent was working hard on their behalf and always had their best interest in mind? Did their agent make their transaction as worry free as possible? Was their agent ever “pushy” or pressure them to make a decision? Did they like their agent and was it generally a good experience overall? People who have gone through a real estate transaction with a great agent, even if it was the “transaction from hell”, usually do not need much prompting to tell you all about their experience. If you are searching for a great real estate agent, take a few moments to think about the things that are important to you and what you are looking for in a real estate agent and come up with some questions of your own before you ask your family and friends about their experience with their agents. Your real estate agent has to be a good fit for you and so in addition to my suggestions you will want to ask them about the things that are important to you.
Step 1 will help you to identify potentially great real estate agents for you to work with. Once you are satisfied that one of the agents recommended to you might be right for you it is time to move forward with Step 2 and do a little research on this agent before setting up an appointment to meet them. We’ll go over Step 2 in next week’s article.
This week’s real estate tip
: If you are shopping for a real estate agent and happen to casually meet one that has not been personally recommended to you by someone you know and trust, before you make any commitments or sign anything with that agent you will want go through Steps 2 & 3 coming up in the next couple of articles. Just because you happened to meet this agent does not mean that you are committed to work together!
Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “The Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.