15 Expert Tips for Working With a Real Estate Agent

Purchasing or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make. Having the right real estate agent by your side can make the process smoother and help you get the best deal. Here are some tips for working effectively with a real estate agent when buying or selling property.

Choosing the Right Agent

The first step is finding the right real estate agent to work with. Consider these factors when making your selection:

Experience and Track Record

Look for real estate agents with extensive experience in your local market. Ask about their record of past sales, how long they’ve been in the business, and if they have any specialties or focuses. An established agent will have a deeper network and understanding of the local market.

Good Communicator

Your agent will be your guide throughout the buying or selling process so strong communication skills are essential. Make sure they are responsive, keep you updated, listen to your needs, and explain things clearly.

Alignment with Your Goals

Find an agent invested in helping you meet your real estate goals whether that’s finding your dream home, selling for maximum profit, or making the process as stress-free as possible. Make sure your priorities align.

Strong Negotiation Skills

For buyers, a skilled negotiator can help you get the best deal on your new home. For sellers, it means ensuring you get the highest selling price. Look for an agent able to negotiate skillfully on your behalf.

Local Market Expertise

Local knowledge is key so working with an agent highly familiar with your specific area is vital. They will know about comparable home values, desirable locations and neighborhoods, and anything impacting local real estate.

Preparing to Work with Your Agent

Once you’ve selected your real estate agent, here are some tips for preparing to work with them effectively:

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Be Clear About Your Needs

Discuss your budget, preferred locations, wish list of amenities, deal breakers, ideal timeline, and any other needs with your agent early on. This helps them cater the home search or sales strategy directly to you.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

If buying, get preapproved for a mortgage before beginning your home search. This shows sellers you’re serious. Your agent can suggest trusted lenders to work with.

Decide Your Price Point

If selling, decide your ideal listing price by looking at comparable sales and your agent’s pricing recommendation. Price it competitively to generate interest.

Gather Important Documents

Your agent will need documents like proof of income, past tax returns, home inspection reports, and association bylaws (if part of a homeowners association). Putting key paperwork together early simplifies the process later.

Make Time in Your Schedule

Buying or selling a home takes significant time. Ensure you’re able to visit potential homes, meet agents or inspectors, review documents, and handle other needs in a timely manner.

Working with Your Agent During the Buying Process

As you being the home buying journey, keep these tips in mind for working with your agent:

Lean on Their Expertise

Your agent knows the local market inside and out. Rely on their knowledge about neighborhoods, home values, making competitive offers, writing purchase agreements, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.

Be Responsive

Time is often of the essence when buying property. Respond promptly to your agent’s requests for feedback, documents, or meetings. Delays could mean losing out on your dream home.

Speak Up About Must-Haves

As you view homes, keep your agent updated on your evolving must-have wish list features so they know what to zero in on. But also remain somewhat flexible.

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Attend Showings

Join your agent for all home showings whenever possible. It gives you a better feel for each property and lets you ask your agent questions in real time. If you can’t, see if a friend or family member can attend.

Make Reasonable Offers

Your agent will assess homes’ values and guide you in making fair offer amounts. Unreasonably lowballing may cause sellers to reject your offer and could result in losing out.

Working with Your Agent During the Selling Process

If you’re selling property, here are tips for maximizing your working relationship with your real estate agent:

Price It Right

Work with your agent to price your home competitively based on its condition, features, and comparable sales. Overpricing could mean it sits on the market too long. Underpricing leaves money on the table.

Prepare Your Home for Showings

Make any recommended repairs. Then clean and declutter your home inside and out so it shows well. Your agent can point out improvements to focus on.

Disclose Everything

Legally disclose all known defects, facts about the home and neighborhood, planned projects nearby, and other material facts to avoid issues down the line.

Consider an Open House

Your agent may advise hosting an open house. This opens your home to more potential buyers. Discuss the pros and cons with your agent to decide if it’s right for you.

Be Flexible with Showing Times

Make your home available for agent showings on relatively short notice. The most eager buyers often want to see homes as soon as possible, so remaining flexible ups your chances of a quick sale.

Evaluate Offers with Your Agent

When offers come in, carefully review and compare them with your agent. Look beyond just the proposed price and consider other terms, contingencies, and conditions that could impact the deal.

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Key Things to Discuss with Your Agent

To get the most out of working with your real estate agent, here are some key things to proactively discuss:

Their Network of Professionals

Ask your agent for referrals to mortgage lenders, home inspectors, contractors, and other professionals they trust to work with. These networks can help your deal go more smoothly.

Commissions and Fees

Understand ahead of time all commissions your agent will earn and fees you may incur should you buy or sell a home so there are no surprises.

Contracts and Agreements

Carefully read all contracts your agent provides. These legally obligate you to certain terms and conditions. Never sign anything you don’t fully understand. Ask your agent to clarify.

Multiple Offer Situations

If you end up in a multiple offer scenario on a home, lean on your agent’s experience negotiating these high-pressure situations to advance your case as a serious buyer.

Contingencies and Inspections

As a buyer, determine inspection and contingency timelines you’ll require to thoroughly assess a property before finalizing a purchase. Your agent can advise reasonable standards.

Questions to Ask

Don’t shy away from asking your agent lots of questions anytime you need clarification or guidance during the home buying or selling process. That’s what they are there for! Good agents want you to understand each step fully.

The Bottom Line

Finding the right real estate agent who aligns with your goals and needs, communicating openly with them, making time for the process, and tapping into their wealth of knowledge goes a long way towards ensuring you either buy or sell your home successfully. Don’t hesitate to leverage their expertise so your real estate transaction is as smooth and profitable as possible.