When you purchase a home, your agent will essentially serve as a business partner because you’re both working toward the same goal: closing a real estate deal.
That’s why it’s in your best interest not only to know how to hire a real estate agent, but also how to build a good relationship with them. The better ally you are, the better an ally your agent will be. Here’s how to choose a real estate agent and work well with them.
1. Know what you want
Many buyers enter into the house-hunting process with no idea what they want. So, the first and best way to be a good client is to know exactly what you’re seeking in a house. Ask yourself a couple of basic questions, like what your budget is and what type of house you want. For example, single-family or townhome.
Also, are you looking for a certain design style or a specific neighborhood? Knowing these specifics—and telling them to your agent—will be important when it comes to finding local homes that match your criteria. After all, neither you or your agent wants to spend time looking at dozens of houses that aren’t even close to what you have in mind.
In fact, it’s a good idea to even over-communicate your intentions and goals. Knowing exactly what you want also can help you choose the right agent, as some specialize in certain neighborhoods, as well as old houses and particular architectural styles.
2. Meet agents in person
It’s OK to begin your relationship with an agent via email, text or phone, but before you hire an agent to work with you, set up a meeting and conduct a face-to-face interview.
Some things you’ll want to know include how long they’ve they been an agent; the neighborhoods they specialize in; how many clients they’re currently working with; and how many homes they’ve helped people buy in the past year.
Meeting in person can help both sides determine compatibility and establish trust. To the agent, meeting them in person also shows them you’re serious about buying.
3. Set up expectations for communication
Let your agent how you’d like to stay in touch during the buying process. For instance, do you do prefer texts, Facebook messenger or phone calls? You’ll also want to let them how often you expect to hear from them (daily or weekly) and the best times of day to reach you.
4. Be Respectful
Always be courteous of your agent’s time by being at showings on time. If you disagree with your agent, respectfully tell them why. And don’t get upset if your agent doesn’t immediately respond to a text or phone call.
5. Get organized
Communicate your wants by writing them down. Then provide your agent with a copy. That will help your agent find homes that match your criteria. You also should have your financial records in order, which includes getting pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval for a mortgage says you’re serious about buying a house and not just window shopping.
6. Admit what you don’t know
Real estate transactions are complicated. So, don’t be embarrassed if you don’t understand all of the terms or know what to expect from each step of the process. If you don’t know what escrow means, ask. If you’re confused about the terms of an offer, say so.
It’s totally normal to ask an agent for a little hand-holding; that’s their job. Part of knowing how to hire a real estate agent is finding one you trust enough to tell you things you don’t know.
7. Don’t play the field with other agents
If you’re working with an agent who is doing their best for you, don’t engage with another agent. That’s an unacceptable practice, and it can backfire by damaging your relationship with your agent. If your agent finds out you have other agents showing you houses, they may prioritize other clients.
So, a big part of knowing how to pick a real estate agent is knowing that you need to stand by your agent once you hire them. In fact, it’s in your and the agent’s interest to sign a buyer’s broker agreement for a set time. The agreements spell out the rights and duties of both parties, including exclusivity.