Looking for the best local realtor? Her is the easiest & most trusted way to find the right realtor to buy and sell existing homes, condos, and townhome.
The easiest way to find a Realtor to work for you is if you already had a successful relationship with one in a prior transaction. If you’ve purchased or sold a property previously in the same area where you’re now looking for a new home, and you were happy with that agent, it is in your best interest to use the same agent again. You and she already know each other, and she is familiar with your housing likes and dislikes. She can use that knowledge as a base from which to start your current search, perhaps tweaking it as she updates herself with any particular changes in your likes and dislikes over the years.
If your relationship wasn’t comfortable but she was able to still find you what you wanted in a house, you may still want to use her again, but you should consider interviewing other agents.
You wouldn’t pick your doctor’s name out of a phone book, so don’t pick your agent’s name that way, either. You’re looking for someone you can trust with the biggest financial purchase of your life, so ask for recommendations from several people you trust—friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors—who have bought or sold houses in the area. If you’re moving to a new area, you can ask a local agent for a recommendation in your new area.
Ask the person giving you the recommendation about why she likes the agent she is recommending. Did the agent always go beyond the call of duty to make sure she was satisfied? Did the agent return calls promptly? Does the referred Realtor have an unusual area of expertise that will prove valuable to you in your search? Is the agent knowledgeable about the community – its schools, shopping, museums, and the local economy?
If you’re being relocated and your company has a relocation service, it may be able to recommend a Realtor. Once you get all your recommendations, compare the names you received from each of your sources. You may find one or two names continuing to crop up. That’s an indicator of a good agent.
Surf the Web
Just as you can find a house on the Internet, you can find an agent there, too. Most professional agents in the country have a website. This is the largest real estate website in the world and allows searches for agents as well as for property.
When you’re searching for a home on Realtor.com, you can also find the names of agents right on the listing page. This can give you a sense of who the real estate leaders are in the local area, but this will give you only an idea of who may be doing the largest amount of business. While that’s important, an agent doing a large amount of business may not have the time to give you enough attention and address your specific needs. That all depends on the agent, but it’s at least worth a call.
Finally, you can do a basic search for Realtors by searching Google. Type in the location you’re interested in moving to followed by the word “Realtors” (for example, “Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Realtors”), and you’ll likely come up with plenty of names, complete with contact information. You can then visit their individual websites, but a word of caution: the best website in the world says nothing about a person’s real-life skills or experience. It simply shows that he knows how to market himself online.
You’re now ready to do a face-to-face interview (or one over the phone, if necessary) in the agent’s office so you can see how he works. Before the interview, compile a list of questions to ask the agent.
If the agent hasn’t come to you from a friend, co-worker, or family member, ask for references from buyers or sellers who have used the agent. Call and find out what the clients liked and didn’t like about the agent.
In the end, just as important as an agent’s area of specialization and education is his experience. While it’s all well and good to find an agent who, based on references, designations, and specializations, appears to be perfect, an agent’s experience also counts for a great deal.
Real estate is like anything else. The longer someone deals with it, the more likely she is to be more knowledgeable and capable. This is not to say that a Realtor who’s been in the business for only two or three years won’t be a good agent or won’t be able to help you find a home. It’s just that an experienced agent likely will have learned a few more tricks of the trade than a newer agent.
In many cases, it is far better to benefit from an agent’s years of experience than to have him develop his experience at your expense. Experience can make a difference in a particular buyer getting home if there are multiple offers competing for the same property.
However, the fact that an agent is relatively new is not always a disqualifying factor. If she is part of a large firm with an ongoing thorough training program and has close broker oversight, sometimes a newer agent will work fine for your needs. She very well may be more willing to investigate many more potential homes for you than a more experienced agent and may be more willing to look at a lower price point than another agent who specializes more in high-end homes. This can be subject to broach during your initial interview process.
Errors and Omissions Insurance
Ask the potential agent whether she has ever been sued or forced into mediation or arbitration. If so, how many times? If she has, inquires why and what the outcome was. Ask if the agent has Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. This insurance covers her for any nonfraud liability she may make due to negligence while representing her clientele.
Commission and Agent Contract
If you like the agent, usually you simply tell the agent you want him to represent you. Most often you don’t need a contract with an agent unless it is the buyer-broker agreement, which is discussed later in this section.
The commission is how your agent gets paid for all the hard work she does for you. The most common question about this, particularly from first-time buyers, is “Who pays her?” In most cases, the answer is that the seller pays both agents.
Usually, your agent’s commission comes from the overall commission paid by the seller to her agent.
Let’s say the overall commission is 6 percent. This figure is not a set figure for all transactions; in some areas, it’s higher, and in others, it’s lower. Commissions are always subject to negotiation between the agent and seller. This is the amount the seller has agreed to pay the agent for the sale of his property. Some portion of that amount is then passed on at closing to the buyer’s agent. Most often it is an even split of the total of 6 percent, although, in some circumstances, it may be a little more or less than equal.
If your agent is not being compensated by the seller’s payment for the sale, your agent will then expect to be paid by you. A good agent will notify you immediately upon learning that a particular property you have an interest in is not a seller-paid commission. He will then explain that if he represents you in purchasing this particular property, you will be expected to pay his commission.
To avoid all misunderstandings, the agent usually has buyers sign a contract stipulating that they’ll be paying the commission. This agreement is called a buyer-broker agreement. These agreements are relatively rare, varying with the local market and economic conditions.
Armed with this information, you will be able to find the best realtor who can get you the home of your dreams! Good luck, and happy house hunting!