What Exactly Does a Real Estate Agent Do? How Do I Hire One?
If you’re in the market to buy a home you are most likely going to want to employ the help of a professional. Licensed real estate agents are ready to walk you through the entire process. However, you may be asking yourself what exactly does a real estate agent do AND how do you hire one. Although there’s a ton that happens behind the scenes below are the three big responsibilities of a realtor and two quick tips on how to choose one.
First and foremost, a real estate agent/broker will help you search for the perfect home. A good agent will constantly be on the lookout for a property that meets most of your criteria and make sure that you have all the information on the property. Nowadays a lot of the searching can be done online and interactively between the agent and the buyers. A good agent will not only send automated emails but will be asking other agents for coming soon listings, looking for “For Sale By Owners” in your target locations, and keeping an active eye on anything that pops up as a new listing. Most realtors are actively engaging in activities to discover the right home for you.
Another key responsibility is to then schedule showings on the properties. A realtor will call all necessary parties to arrange property tours. They typically have unique access to get you into the home and additional building structures.
Once a potential home has been identified, a real estate agent will handle all of the negotiations. The most valuable asset of a realtor is their ability to negotiate on your behalf. This is a learned skill that comes from experience and is also one that is best removed from the emotions of the purchase. Having a third party go to bat for your requests without offending the seller or being offended is a huge benefit. A realtor can also give terrific advice on what terms/conditions to offer on the purchase based off of their knowledge and experience of the area and the current market.
Most folks might think that identifying a home and getting a ratified contract is the labor intense part of real estate. However, now more than ever that’s just the beginning of the workload to get it from contract to closing. A good realtor will be able to outline all of the necessary steps to get the transaction to the finish line. They’ll schedule inspections, negotiate repairs, unlock the property for contractors, file and send documentation to attorneys, lenders, and other parties, check the loan status, quickly draft addendums, and much more.
So now that you know what a competent realtor does, how do you hire one? The first place to start is to ask for recommendations from friends, coworkers, or family that have been through a pleasurable experience. A word of mouth referral is one of the most trusted methods. Three great questions to ask of them are; do you trust them, do they care about you, and are they good at what they do?
After you get a referral or two, then it’s best to call them up and ask if you can meet to discuss buying a home. An initial meeting at their office or a common location will be your chance to get to know them and see if you connect. If you feel comfortable with the real estate agent then you can ask them how to get things rolling. Most likely they’ll talk about a buyer broker agreement. This is a short contract defining the legal relationship. It essentially explains that the realtor will be working hard to find you a home and that you (the buyer) will commit to engaging in the process with that specific agent. There should also be a specified time period spelled out as well as duties and responsibilities of each party.
As with every industry, there’s much more behind the curtain. For real estate agents, the most noticeable part of the job is searching and showing properties. However, they are also experts at negotiating and all of the administrative tasks that it takes to get to closing! When you get referred to a good one, sign them up and you’ll be on your way.