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7 Tips to Follow Before You Hire a Real Estate Agent

Would you hire just about any real estate agent to help with your house hunting? Depending on their experience, real estate agents can either make or break your next home purchase.

Whether you're a first-time buyer or not, a real estate agent can help you find your dream home with ease. An agent with expertise can help you identify potential homes that match your preferences and give you strategies and insights on how to strike a good deal.

Even if you're building your home, a realtor can make the process easy for you.

So how do you choose the person that's right for the job? The rule of thumb is to find a real estate agent who understands what you want and has the expertise to find a matching house.

Crucial Things to Do Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Around 99% of homebuyers agree that their real estate agent added value when they bought their house. They agree that their agents provided market information and helped them navigate the tedious home buying process.

Before you hire a real estate agent, follow these seven tips:

1. Contact Lenders First

Before you start looking for a real estate agent, you need to contact lenders first. Get a pre-approval or pre-qualification from their available mortgage programs. Doing so will help you have a realistic estimate on how much you can afford for a house.

Mortgage pre-approval shows you what you qualify for based on several factors such as your income and credit history. Lenders will also evaluate your current debt-to-income ratio for better assessment.

While a pre-approval does not guarantee you'll get a loan, it gives you a snapshot of what house you can afford. It eliminates the risk of having your real estate agent looking for a home that you won't get mortgage approval.

2. Set Clear and Realistic Expectations

Do you need a basement? How about a two-car garage? Listing down the features you want will help speed up the process of searching for your new home.

Figuring out what you want for your new home can help set the stage for successful home hunting. Real estate agents need to understand your preferences clearly so they can filter out those that don't match them.

Your mortgage pre-approval gives a running start in setting a realistic expectation. It would be best to finalize other factors as well, such as the area you want to live in and the specifics you'd want in a home.

3. Ask Around for Agent Recommendations

Most agent listings and websites won't give you a clear picture of what it's like working with them. What you can do is ask people who have first-hand experience with them.

With about 91% of buyers using the same agent or recommending their agent to others, you won't have difficulty with this approach. You'll feel more comfortable hiring an agent who has helped one of your friends in the past.

4. Get Recommendation from your Previous Agent

If you're not a first-time buyer, you may want to contact your previous agent for recommendations. He or she may know a local agent in the area you want to move in.

While a family recommendation helps to get the ball rolling for your agent search, a suggestion coming for a person who works in the same field offers a more professional approach.

Your friends and family can help you from a buyer's perspective. On the other hand, your previous agent can provide you a recommendation from an expert angle.

5. Use the Internet to Check Reviews

The best way to use the internet is to check for reviews about potential real estate agents. After listing the prospects recommended by friends and previous agents, it's time to get a second and third opinion.

Perform an online search for their names, check forums, and read reviews on social media.

While you may find testimonials on some agents who have websites, it's better to get the opinion of those not affiliated with them. Previous homebuyers who worked with them will tend to leave a more honest review.

Some of the things you can learn from checking online reviews are:

  • How quickly the agent responds to a buyer's questions
  • How proficient they are when making a deal
  • What demographics the agent typically works with

Prioritize agents who have extensive experience buying homes similar to what you want. They'll be more likely to recommend houses that suit your needs.

6. Meet the Agent Face-to-Face

A face-to-face meeting is crucial before deciding who to hire. While you can ask specific questions via phone, a personal meetup helps you gauge better if you feel good working with that agent.

Combining your friends' opinions and online reviews can help you personalize the questions you'll be asking. If you're curious about a particular deal the agent made for another customer, you can ask for more details about it.

What you need to look for are agents who have experiences with the following:

  • Type of house you want to buy
  • Buying homes in the area you want to live in
  • Buyers who have similar preferences as yours

Make sure to go through the interview process objectively so you can choose the best among the list.

7. Check if the Agent's License is Up-to-Date

Don't forego this tip before committing to a new relationship with your agent. It's easy to assume they have a valid and current license, but a wrong assumption can be too risky. Without it, the agent is not in any position to advise you legally and represent you when making a deal.

Fortunately, running a license check is easy. The National Association of Realtors has a searchable database to help you verify if the agent's license is up-to-date. Another way of verifying is to call your state's association or look up on their site.

Find Your Dream Home with Confidence 

Buying a new home requires a considerable investment, so it's best to get all bases covered. With an excellent real estate agent helping you out, you spare yourself from the stress of doing it all by yourself.

Find your new home at Oberer Homes and let your real estate agent handle the rest of the intricacies.

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