Over 5 million homes are projected to sell in the United States this year. Most of those properties will be represented by real estate agents.
It comes as no surprise that real estate agents are a big part of the home selling process. After all, it's hard to navigate the vetting of buyers, the navigation of banks, negotiations and more without the help of a professional.
Just because you hire a real estate agent to represent you doesn't mean that you can rest easy though. The truth is that not all agents are created equally and people like you get let down by agents every day. To avoid being disappointed, you don't want to work with any real estate agent that blows your way, you want to work with the best real estate agent.
Below, our team gives you practical tips to help you hire the right person.
1. Talk to Friends and Family Members
Getting word of mouth recommendations from the people that you trust is one of the most powerful ways to start your best real estate agent search. That's because you and the people you know likely have similar expectations when it comes to the professionals that you work with.
An agent may pay special attention to you or give you some other fringe benefit because you were referred to them by one of their past customers so make sure to let your agent know who pointed you their way.
2. Check Online Review Aggregators
If your internal search for recommendations hasn't turned anything up, check out online review aggregators. Review aggregators are websites like Yelp and Google. These sites have a heavy real estate agent presence on them which makes it easy to find local agents and see how their past clients have reviewed them.
In general, try to find candidates on reviews sites that have over 10 reviews and carry an average rating of "4 out of 5" or higher.
3. Peek Through Search Engines
The best real estate agent in your area probably does well for themselves. That success may have led them to invest heavily in search engine optimization and advertising which makes it easy to find their company simply by Google searching your town's name + "real estate agent".
Keep in mind that bad agents invest heavily in search engine advertising and optimization too. Therefore, you shouldn't be swayed solely by the fact that an agent pops up at the top of your search results. Just give top results your time by writing down their names and vetting them further.
4. Email Potential Candidates
Between word of mouth and your online investigating, you should have a shortlist of potential real estate agents in your area. To start filtering your options, email each of your candidates a simple question.
We usually recommend introducing yourself, letting the agent know what it is that you're selling (ex: 3 bed, 2 bath house, built 2009), and asking if they're accepting clients.
The purpose of sending that email isn't to get a yes or a no. While you'd like to get a yes for obvious reasons, the purpose of sending that email is to see how quickly an agent gets back to you.
Agents that are hyper-responsive to your initial question will likely be attentive when you start working with them. Agents that take 2 to 3 days to get back to you should drop off of your candidate list or at very least get shuffled towards the bottom.
5. Schedule an Interview (With at Least 3 Agents)
Before you can hire a real estate agent, you have to interview them. Interviews can be conducted at your agent's office or better yet, in the home that you're trying to sell.
Don't worry if you're not an experienced interviewer. Real estate interviews are usually about the agent pitching you and you asking any basic questions that you still have after they run through everything.
By the time your interview is over, you should know your agent's commission, how much your agent thinks that they can sell your home for and how long it's going to take for them to sell it. You should also have an idea of your agent's personality and whether or not it jives with yours.
6. Ask for References
As you think over the interviews you partook in and get closer to your final decision, you'll want to start checking references. References should have been provided to you by your agent during your interview. They should all be past clients that can verify that the agent you're considering is as good as they say that they are.
Any agent that's not willing to give you references isn't worth gambling on.
7. Pick Your Agent and Sign Their Contract
With all of your ducks in a row, deliberate on who you'd like to hire, call your selection and give them the job. Once hired, your agent will pass by your home to fill you in on what next steps are. They'll also ask you to sign a contract that gives them the right to represent your property.
Read your contract to ensure that your agent's commission is what you expect it to be. Also, limit their selling time-frame to 6-months or less.
The Best Real Estate Agent Can Take the Stress out of Selling
Trying to part ways with your home can cause a lot of anxiety given the variable amount of time that it might take to find a buyer, the variability of the offers that you might get and more.
When you work with the best real estate agent in your area, you can rest assured that you'll be in a position to attain the best possible outcome when it comes to all of the things that are worrying you.
We hope our tips lead you to that all-star agent that you're looking for and we welcome you to read additional real estate content right here on our site if you need more direction!