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How to pick the right real estate agent

The largest single transaction most Americans make involves the buying or selling of a home. This makes it essential to have the right real estate agent, particularly when the clients are snowbirds who live in other parts of the country for part of the year. According to Forbes, the number of real estate agents is forecasted to grow annually by 6% through 2026, which means there are going to be more choices.

The right real estate agent understands the needs of the client and provides insight and support throughout the process to ensure that good deals do not fall apart. The wrong real estate agent is one who does not understand the intricacies of the market where a client is looking to buy or sell, and they can even delay or allow deals to fall through due to incompetence or too many priorities.

Finding the right fit

Each potential client has unique expectations and needs, so it is best to speak with at least a few agents before choosing one. Traits that are seen as useful include:

  • Find an advocate: Perhaps a friend of a friend can work, but find someone who acts as a capable and responsive advocate should be the goal.
  • Look at their current workload: Make sure they do not have too many active projects or several larger ones that overshadow your sale or ongoing hunt. It is also a red flag if they do not seem to be busy, and the office is too quiet.
  • Use someone who knows the area: An agent with success in the neighborhood often means that they know it block by block in a way that is not easily tracked in online sales data. Insight into emerging trends in the area can help secure deals that are more lucrative.
  • Look for longevity: An agent with a well-established sales record is a better bet, particularly as new agents enter the field, but a new agent with a good mentor at a reputable agency can also work.
  • Make sure they listen: It is up to the client to articulate their priorities, but the agent must be responsive to initial goals and feedback. There is trouble if they do not listen to a seller's established pricing decisions or stick to a buyer's budget.

Legal guidance is also crucial

Agents are an essential part of real estate transactions, but attorneys can be helpful in contract negotiations, addressing community association issues, and handling other problems that emerge before or during closing. An experienced attorney who also litigates if there is a material breach of contract can help to resolve disputes in a timely manner.

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