5 Simple Steps to Finding the Perfect Real Estate Agent

Real Estate AgentReal Estate AgentHome is where the heart is, so it comes as no surprise that buying or selling a home is a major decision. Thankfully, we don't have to navigate the housing market alone. Real estate agents are there to help us make these important home decisions, but buyer and seller beware: not all real estate agents are created equal. It takes the right real estate agent to advocate on your behalf and walk you through the process one experienced step at a time.

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1. Do your homework
If only finding the right real estate agent was as easy as walking into your local real estate office. Unfortunately, finding the right agent to meet your needs isn't always so easy, but the time you invest in selecting the right agent can help your home buying or selling process go smoothly. Ask friends and family for referrals when it comes to finding a great agent, along with utilizing consumer-rated websites such as Angie'sList, RealEstateRatingz.com, and Zillow.com to help narrow your search of superstar agents in your area.

2. Keep it local
When it comes to purchasing a home, you'll want to work with a real estate agent located in your desired community. As a neighborhood expert, your real estate agent will serve as a source of valuable information regarding local governments, businesses, schools, and the community at large.

3. Interview prospective agents
You might think you've found the perfect agent upon your very first meeting, but you'll want to meet with at least three agents prior to making your final decision. As part of the interview process, you'll want to inquire about the agent's experience, local expertise, work ethic, communication style, and standing within the real estate community.

4. Ask questions
It can be intimidating to interview a prospective real estate agent, particularly if you're new to the real estate process, however, asking specific questions can give you the information you need to make this important decision with confidence:
-How long have you been in the real estate agent business?
-Do you belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
-Is real estate your full-time job?
-How familiar are you with the area I'm interested in?
-How many clients do you typically handle at one time?
-What level of commitment can I expect?
-How does this process work?

5. Contact references
Even the best judges of character can benefit from the personal experiences of others. Ask potential agents for a list of recent customers that you can call for references.

- By Lori Garcia

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