How to Find a Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home is one of the most significant financial decisions you will ever make. That's why it's crucial to have a qualified and experienced real estate agent on your side. A good agent can help you find the right home, negotiate the best price, and guide you through the buying or selling process. The numbers confirm that sentiment — 86% of sellers and buyers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.

Understanding real estate agents

Before embarking on your search for a real estate professional, know what services various real estate agents and brokers provide.

What differentiates a real estate agent and a broker

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who help clients buy or sell properties. They are experts in their local real estate market, and their primary goal is to guide buyers or sellers through the entire process smoothly. On the other hand, a real estate broker has additional education and licensing. Brokers can work independently or choose to open their own real estate firm, where they can employ other agents to work under them. They carry a higher level of responsibility and often have a more in-depth understanding of real estate laws, contracts, and procedures. Therefore, brokers generally have more experience and may command a higher fee.

Realtors vs. real estate agents

While all Realtors are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors and adhere to a strict code of ethics, which may provide clients with an added layer of trust. This code of ethics holds Realtors to a higher standard of professionalism and mandates them to act in the best interest of their clients at all times. Becoming a Realtor involves additional training and adherence to the association’s standards, which often extend beyond state laws and regulations.

Roles and responsibilities of a real estate agent

Real estate agents guide clients through the complex process of buying or selling a property, including market research, negotiation, and closing deals. They are responsible for marketing properties, which can involve staging, photographing, and listing the property online and in various publications. They also provide valuable insights into the local real estate market, advising on fair and competitive pricing and suggesting how to make a property more attractive to potential buyers.

Additionally, real estate agents negotiate offers and counteroffers, manage contracts and paperwork, and ensure that all parties meet the various legal and other contractual conditions. They must be proactive problem solvers, able to handle any issues that arise during the buying or selling process efficiently and professionally. Ultimately, an excellent real estate agent is a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide, facilitating one of the most significant financial transactions a person will make in their lifetime.

What to ask potential agents

In your first meeting, ask about the agent's real estate sales history, the areas they specialize in, and how they handle challenging transactions. An experienced real estate agent should be able to provide this information readily.

You’ll also want to clarify whether you will deal directly with the real estate agent or primarily with an assistant. Just as important is agreeing to the agent’s commission (how much money they will make from the transaction). In this phase, it also helps to request reviews or testimonials from the agent’s past clients.

Tips for buyers seeking an agent

Finding the right property within your budget

A good agent should have the tools and local market knowledge to help you find a house that suits your financial situation. They should be familiar with the neighborhoods you are interested in and have a keen understanding of the price ranges in those areas. A great agent will listen to your needs and preferences and proactively seek properties that align with your criteria. Furthermore, they should provide a realistic outlook on what you can afford in the local real estate market, leveraging their expertise to guide you toward homes that are a solid match for your budget.

Negotiating the best price effectively

An experienced agent should be skilled in negotiation and work diligently to secure a favorable price for you. They should assemble a strong and compelling offer based on a well-informed analysis of the property’s value and current market conditions. Your agent should be able to advise you on how to make your offer more appealing, whether that is through flexible closing dates, limited contingencies, or other strategic moves. Ultimately, your agent should steer you to favorable terms with the home seller and their listing agent.

Preparing for current market challenges

Your agent should be able to outline the potential obstacles you may face in the current real estate market, such as bidding wars or tight inventory. They should be adept at developing strategies to navigate these challenges effectively. For example, in a seller’s market where bidding wars are common, your agent should be able to guide you on making your offer stand out without drastically overpaying for the property. They may advise writing a personal letter to the sellers, increasing your earnest money deposit, or waiving certain contingencies safely and responsibly. The best agents can find off-market properties and update their inventory as new homes become available.

Guidance for sellers in selecting an agent

A competent agent should provide a data-backed recommendation on an asking price based on a thorough analysis of the local real estate market. As you prepare to go to market, they should recommend specific home improvement projects that will increase your home’s value and appeal to buyers. An exceptional listing agent should have a comprehensive and effective marketing plan to expose your property to a broad audience of prospective buyers.

About Oscar Draguicevich III

As a specialist in the luxury market, Oscar Draguicevich III leverages his extensive network of high-net-worth individuals to market and sell some of Austin's most iconic properties. Oscar is a true Austin native with an athletic background and deep-rooted familiarity with the area. With professionalism and tenacity, Oscar has already surpassed $30 million in sales. If you want to buy or sell a home or have questions about the Texas real estate market, contact Oscar Draguicevich III today.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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