The home selling or home buying process is an exciting journey and every journey needs a savvy, considerate guide who will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Before you begin, you need a great real estate agent. That’s why we and our Southern California real estate agents are here to give you the best tips for finding your agent.
Keep in mind that finding the right real estate agent for your home-buying or home-selling goals can be the key to finding your future home or solidifying your financial future. While some guides will show you how to find a good real estate agent, ours will help you find the perfect agent.
Should you be finding a good REALTOR®? Or looking for a real estate agent? Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there’s a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent:
Only then can an individual apply for a real estate license. Depending on the state, real estate agents may have additional certifications to acquire through coursework and exams.
The one unifying characteristic of all of these professionals? Membership to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR®).
A REALTOR® must have all of the education, licenses, and certification of a real estate agent. They must also pass a course on the NAR Code of Ethics every four years and pay membership dues. The NAR Code of Ethics is a guideline that restates the legal and ethical requirements of all real estate agents.
That means, whether you work with a REALTOR® or a real estate agent, they’re both held to the same professional standards by law.
Both REALTORS® and real estate agents have the same level of education, licenses, and a commitment to ethical buying and selling practices. But whether you choose a REALTOR® or a real estate agent is really up to you.
However, the most important deciding factors shouldn’t be the title on a business card, but their professionalism, expertise, and personality.
If you’re thinking about buying a house, you probably have an idea of what you want it to look like—maybe it has three big bedrooms, a modern kitchen, and is located in your favorite neighborhood.
Take the same approach when finding an agent. Ask yourself about the kind of person you want to work with. Consider things like:
Now that you have an idea about the kind of agent you want to work with, it’s time to start looking. Make a list of real estate agents you want to interview, and start looking in these places:
During times of social distance, we have virtual tours available on bhhscalifornia.com or, reach out to any one of our agents for a private virtual tour!
Interviewing multiple agents is a fantastic way to get to know your potential home-buying or home-selling agent. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you interview agents:
> When did you work with this agent?
> What did you like about their approach to house-hunting/buyer-finding?
> What didn’t you like about their approach to house-hunting/buyer-finding?
> Would you work with this particular agent again?
Ask hard questions and see how your agent responds. If they handle your difficult questions with poise and give you informative answers, they may be a great fit.
Then, pay attention to how they listen. Are they taking notes? Are they cutting you off? Do they bring back your wish list specifics later in the conversation? How someone listens will showcase their interest in being your true partner.
For home sellers – This information is particularly important for individuals looking to sell their homes, because it will show you their experience level in your market and with homes similar to yours.
For home buyers – Pay attention to where these recent sales were. It will show how familiar your agent is with the areas you like.
Honesty is required on both sides for a successful agent/buyer or agent/seller relationship. You want to be as honest as possible with the potential agent about your wants, needs, and budget.
You have to feel comfortable saying “No, not this one” over and over again, and trust that your agent will say, “Then I’ll find you another one you’ll love” as many times as it takes.
If you feel you can’t be straightforward with an agent, then your house-buying or selling journey will be a rocky one. Honesty—in life and in the real estate market—is always the best policy.
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. The same goes for selling a home. From the start of your journey to the day you move in, the right agent makes all the difference.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, we know that a good real estate agent doesn’t just find you a home or a seller—they help you start a new chapter in your life.
Each one of our 3,000 real estate agents across Southern California is committed to helping you find your perfect home or seller. With 60+ office locations throughout Southern California, we are ready to help you achieve your real estate dreams. We’ll give you our expert advice on selling or buying a house in Southern California.
Get in contact with our Southern California Realtors® and find your perfect agent today at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties!