When buying a home, you deserve a real estate agent who is informed, experienced, passionate about their job, and tapped into the community. This requires a bit of homework on your part.
However, we guarantee that partnering with a top-notch real estate pays off.
7 Essential Steps to Choose the Best Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home
DeLand and the surrounding Volusia County area have been blessed with an extended “seller’s market.” As a result, fly-by-night real estate agents are popping up everywhere – doing the bare minimum to make the most money with the least amount of work. This is not the type of agent you want working for you when shopping for the next dream home or investment property.
An inexperienced agent, or one using a bare minimum approach, puts you at risk in terms of missing critical disclosure and contract details, steering you in the wrong direction, talking you into a house that doesn’t fit your short and long-term goals, or spending more than you should have. In worst-case scenarios, you might even wind up in a lawsuit.
Therefore, it’s well worth your time to vet potential real estate agents, choosing the one you trust and align with the most. Here’s how:
1. Verify Licensure (And Avoid FSBOs!)
Verify that the agents you’re considering are actively licensed real estate agents or nationally accredited REALTORS®. Never work with anyone still working on their license or who boasts they’re “experienced enough” because they’ve bought/sold a home using the “for sale by owner” (FSBO) route.
Pursuing support from a non-licensed amateur or participating in an FSBO purchase puts you at risk. We do this day in and day out and love every aspect of what we do. Anyone who’s done sporadic FSBO deals or feels they can learn what they need online has no deep understanding of the market or a buyer/seller agent’s legal responsibilities.
2. Never Use Anyone With Less Than Five Years of Experience
We understand everyone must start somewhere; we had to start there, too. However, using a real estate agent or broker with at least five years of experience is a sign that they’re in it because it’s an industry they’re passionate about. You’ll have at least five years of sales data to review, which is the next step in your decision-making process.
3. Verify Recent Sales Records
Active real estate agents should have plenty of recent sales under their belt. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports Realtors completed a median of 12 complete real estate transactions in 2022. So, you want a number that reflects that.
Medians are interesting numbers because some real estate agents are hobbyists or work in a semi-required state (often working solely for former clients they enjoy), which skews the numbers a bit. Others are absolute power-houses working in a specific niche and have numbers far higher than that. The point is that you don’t want to work with anyone who has numbers on the lower side. This is a sign that they aren’t the type of go-getter you need working on your behalf.
4. Speak With Recent Clients
Referrals matter. We love it when prospective homebuyers request recent client contacts. It indicates they care about who represents them – and that’s the type of client we want to work for. Also, we know those questions yield honest answers from clients who know us – and we have 100% confidence we’ll be top contenders once prospects speak to anyone who’s worked with us.
On the flip side, asking questions about recent client experiences lets you get a better sense of how prospective real estate agents are helping others with buying a home at this moment in time. If you don’t like what you hear, continue searching until you do.
5. Treat it Like Any Healthy Partnership
You should enjoy spending time with your agent, completely trusting their expertise. If you don’t enjoy their company or have any amount of distrust, you can’t forge the partnership you deserve for a smooth, minimal-stress experience.
Notice we didn’t say “stress-free?” Be wary of any agent that makes that promise. There are all kinds of stresses inherent in purchasing a home, but our job is to minimize that stress and ease the way forward in any way we can.
Finally, as with any partnership, communication skills and accountability are essential. Long response times, lack of response, or repeat appointment cancellations are all automatic signs it’s not the agent for the job.
6. Ask Them About Additional Certifications & Industry Affiliations
Dedicated real estate agents are proud to work with well-established agencies or brokerages to maintain the professional connections required to find their client’s next best home. We continue our education, pursue additional certifications, and maintain high-quality memberships with industry-respected organizations like the NAR and others.
7. Trust Your Gut Instincts
Your gut instincts are sound. Trust them. If a well-respected agent, or your best friend’s favorite agent, doesn’t give you the right feeling – go with that. You’ll know when you’ve found an experienced local real estate agent who you trust enough to lead the way.
Start By Interviewing Southern Exclusive Real Estate
Are you interested in buying a home using an experienced local real estate agent? Put Southern Exclusive Realty at the top of your list. We have decades of experience and a positive track record to prove it. Our team enjoys being interviewed by potential clients because that shows us you’re committed to the integrity required when buying a home. Plus, we’re well-connected – and respected – in DeLand and the surrounding areas. We look forward to showing you why we have a string of repeat clients.