How to Find a Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding the right real estate agent is an essential step in the home buying or selling process. Recent data shows that 36% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family. But what if you don’t know of anyone who’s recently sold or purchased a home? If you’re ready to enter the real estate market, whether as a buyer, seller, or investor, there are several things you can do to ensure you work with a skilled and experienced real estate professional, from making a list of questions when interviewing agents to understanding the difference between brokers, realtors, and agents.

Understanding real estate agents

Making sense of agent and broker differences

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who can help you buy or sell property. They work under a supervising broker, who oversees their transactions. A broker is a person who is legally responsible for the actions of real estate agents under their supervision.

Clarifying realtor and real estate agent distinctions

Not all real estate agents are realtors. A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They abide by a specific code of ethics and standards of practice that offers an additional level of trust for clients.

Grasping the role of a real estate agent

Real estate agents assist clients in buying, selling, and renting properties. They conduct market analyses, advise clients on market conditions, represent clients in negotiations, and handle paperwork related to the real estate transaction.

While it’s possible to purchase or sell properties without the help of a real estate agent or realtor, it’s not advisable. A real estate expert knows the ins and outs of the local market and can help clients make informed, strategic decisions.

Key questions for potential agents

When interviewing agents, you’ll want to ask them a series of questions to get a better understanding of who they are as an industry professional and how your working relationship with them will be.

Learning about the agent’s background

It's important to ask about an agent's experience. How long have they been in the real estate business? What type of properties do they usually handle? Are they more familiar with the local real estate market, or do they focus on a broader area?

Clarifying your point of contact

Will you be dealing directly with the real estate agent, or will an assistant handle your case? It’s important to know who will be your primary point of contact throughout the process to ensure there are no misunderstandings or communication issues. During this time, you’ll want to ask the agent what their preferred method of contact is, such as email, phone, or text.

Understanding the agent’s commission rates

While it's a sensitive subject, it's crucial to understand how your real estate agent will be compensated for their hard work. Most real estate agents work on commission, meaning they will not get paid until your purchase or sell a property. If you're selling your home, the commissions of both your agent and the buyer's agent will likely be a part of your closing costs.

Probing past client experiences

Don't hesitate to ask for references. What do past clients have to say about their experience with the agent? Be sure to look on websites for reviews as well.

Advice for home buyers

Understanding your budget

A good real estate agent will help you find a home that fits within your budget. They will guide you through the financial aspects of home buying, including the pre-approval process for a mortgage.

Helping with price negotiations

Your agent should help you negotiate the best price and terms for your new home. They should have strong negotiating skills and a thorough understanding of the real estate market to ensure a smooth transaction.

Identifying potential hurdles

Your agent should be able to outline potential challenges that you may face in the current real estate market, such as higher interest rates, low housing supply, and buyer competition. They can provide advice on how to handle bidding wars, tight inventory, and other potential hurdles.

Guidance for home sellers

Setting the right price

Your agent should be able to provide a well-researched, accurate estimate of your home's market value and advise on the best asking price. To do this, they will generate a comparative market analysis, which estimates the value of a home based on similar homes for sale in the area.

Suggesting value-boosting improvements

An experienced agent can provide guidance on home improvements that could boost your home's value and appeal to potential buyers without going over your budget.

Marketing your home

The agent you hire should have a comprehensive plan to market your home, using both traditional methods and innovative technologies to reach a wide audience of potential buyers. A good marketing plan includes listing on the MLS, social media posts, and connecting with other agents who may have interested buyers.

Reach your real estate goals with the specialists at Fox & Stokes

Ranked in the top 1% of all New Jersey agents, The Fox & Stokes team is committed to delivering results to every client. Led by Megan Fox and Max Stokes, the experts at Fox & Stokes boast the skills, knowledge, and experience to help every customer reach their real estate goals, whether you’re a first-time home buyer seeking a single-family home or an experienced seller looking to list. If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about the New Jersey real estate market, contact Fox & Stokes today.

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