Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Do’s and Don’ts

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A couple sitting down signing documents with a real estate agent

The home buying process has so many steps in it. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and be worried that you’ll miss a piece of paperwork or a procedure. Getting it all done can be a lot easier with the help of an expert. To find the best match for you, here are some questions to ask before hiring a real estate agent.

What has your experience as an agent been like so far?

People with more years under their belt are more likely to be familiar with the entire buying and selling process. But it’s also important to know if they’re used to working within your price range and desired neighborhoods.

You’ll probably want to work with someone who is used to working with your demographic as well. If you’re looking to become a first-time homebuyer, and they usually work with people downsizing their home, you might want to find someone else.

When and how should I contact you?

A lot of open houses happen on the weekends, so you need to make sure that your schedules will align. It’s also important to know if they’re more responsive to emails or phone calls when you need to ask them a question.

Are you an independent agent or will you be working as part of a team?

If your agent is busy, sometimes you will be able to contact another member of their team in a pinch. But you might prefer to work with just one person the whole time to ensure less room for miscommunication. So it’s up to you whether this is a deal-breaker.

How many clients are you working with right now?

An agent working with fewer clients might be helpful because they can devote more time to you and your search. On the flip side, an agent with not a lot of work might also be a warning sign.

How long does it take you to find and close on a home with your clients?

Closing on a house usually takes around 45 days. Of course, every buying experience is unique to the person or people finding a new home. But agents who regularly take over several months to close on a deal might be a cause for concern.

How will you be compensated?

You’ll be paying around six percent of the home’s total value in closing costs. Usually, the buying and selling agents will divide the six percent fee between them. While it might not sound like a lot, just three percent of a $200,000 house will add an extra $6,000 to your bill.

You might be able to negotiate some of the agent’s rates, depending on the services they offer. Ultimately you want to be able to budget for any extra fees.

Final thoughts

While it will take a little bit more effort to find and interview several real estate agents, it’s worth it in the end. Doing your homework before hiring a real estate agent will ensure you get what you need during one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Melissa Aguilar

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