Buying and selling a property is stressful. Many try to go through this process without an agent and get overwhelmed by constant new listings, communicating with buyers/sellers, marketing/staging the property, and contract navigation. A real estate agent will take care of all these details and provide you with a more streamlined process and reduced hassle. Your real estate agent in Alabama will also contact a title company in Huntsville for title search needs.
How to Find a Real Estate Agent
The hunt for a real estate agent you can depend on can take time and effort. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how many there are and not even know where to start your search. This guide will help you navigate the agents in your area so you can choose the best fit for you.
Types of Agents and What They Do
A real estate agent is a general term for someone licensed in their state to help clients buy, sell, and rent a property. To become real estate brokers, they can undergo additional training and another licensing exam. Brokers are licensed to work independently and may employ agents.
Many agents and brokers are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This membership allows them to use the Realtor title as they are sworn to follow the Realtor’s Code of Ethics.
Real estate agents can operate as buyer’s agents and listing agents. A buyer’s agent represents the purchaser, while the listing agent represents the seller of a real estate transaction.
Before You Hire an Agent, Complete These Steps
Technically, you can find an agent anytime. However, completing these steps will help you understand the process better and ensure smooth communication between you and the agent.
If you are selling, the main thing you need to take care of is making sure the property is market ready. It will need to be cleaned, decluttered, and repaired in the necessary places. If you are unsure of necessary repairs, your agent can help you pinpoint those areas.
If you are buying, you have a little more work to do.
- List out your priorities. Determine deal breakers/needs and wants. Do research what neighborhood you want to be in and what you want your life to look like in a new place. This will help you communicate what you have to have versus what you want to your buyer’s agent.
- Get educated about mortgage loans. If you’ve never bought a home before, you may not be aware of what is involved in this. You’ll need a budget that accounts for a down payment, earnest money (this can be applied to closing costs or the down payment), annual property tax, insurance costs, and an escrow account (which helps manage some of these costs month-to-month).
- Get a mortgage pre-approval. This will tell you what price range you can search for. Without pre-approval, you could pointlessly look at homes out of your price range. Your agent will need this to target the right market.
Where to Look for Agents
There are a few ways to look for an agent. One of the most common ways to get started is to ask the people you know. Coworkers, family, friends, and acquaintances will most likely have a referral. Asking around your network will give you first-hand accounts of how agents work and some names to research.
Another way is to observe the neighborhoods you are interested in. See which agencies are active and research them online (including social media). Take a look at their ratings and reviews. They’ll post about open houses they’re hosting so you can introduce yourself and get more information face-to-face.
If you want more options, contact the local chamber of commerce and ask which agents are active in the area. You can also visit the NAR website and search the area to get a list of agents active there.
Are you looking for property out of state? Contact a referral agent. They’ll be able to connect you with a trusted agent in that state.
How to Vet an Agent
Once you have a few agents you think you could work well with, you’ll need to narrow it down to one. Ask as many questions as you can since this is the person you’ll have to trust and rely on 100% during the process. Take your time, and don’t settle.
Here are some must-ask questions for agents you are considering:
- 1. What are your certifications, and are you licensed?
- 2. How much experience do you have?
- 3. How available are you?
- 4. Do you have any client references?
- 5. How would you market my home? (If you are selling)
- 6. How will you hunt for houses in my price range? (If you are buying)
Boundary Title & Escrow Can Help
At Boundary Title, we are dedicated to bringing our expertise to every transaction. Our main goal is to serve our clients with outstanding title insurance and settlement experiences. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, our professionals are here to help. Contact us online!
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your title professional for specific information regarding your situation.