Scott and Sue decided to move to the tropical warmth of the Florida coast after years of living in Massachusetts. They decided to purchase a home before making the move, so they knew they had to find just the right real estate agent to help them with the process. After a few failed meetings with different agents, Scott and Sue contacted Sarah and Tim Caudill, a husband and wife real estate team in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Sarah and Tim helped them secure their dream home and today Scott and Sue are happily settled and living the Florida life in their dream home. Here are some of Scott and Sue’s top tips for picking a real estate agent!
- Finding the right agent doesn’t just happen.
There are hundreds of real estate agents vying for your business, so how do you pick one? Scott and Sue thoroughly researched agents and read dozens of reviews on Zillow to find the agent that best fit them. While reading reviews, don’t just skim the page and tally up how many stars they have- really read through each review to get a good idea of what that agent is like to work with. Do they have multiple reviews highlighting how responsive and available they were? Finding an agent who is readily available and responds quickly is imperative in a home search.
“We called some agents and they wouldn’t even return our call,” Scott explained. One of the things that made Tim and Sarah stand out was their responsiveness, said Scott.
While looking at an agent’s Zillow reviews and profile, don’t be mesmerized by dozens of listings. Do you want to hire an agent who has 30 listings and multiple buyers all vying for their time and attention? Pick an agent with listings, but not so many listings that you will get lost in the crowd.
Finish your research by calling them up try to get to know them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, especially about their knowledge of the area or if they have sold many homes like the one you are looking for.
Finally, after talking with an agent but before declaring that you have found the one, check their license. Real estate agents must participate in continuing education in order to keep their license current and active. Check out your local Department of Business and Professional Regulation website and search under real estate licensees. Make sure their license says current and active. If their license is current and inactive or null and void, slowly step away!
Pro tip: Residents of Florida can download the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s app to look up licensees. Search DBPR Florida in the app store and download it to keep it at your fingertips!
- You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
Negotiating one of the largest investments you probably ever make isn’t for the faint of heart and shouldn’t be left to an amateur. A good agent has hundreds of negotiations under their belt and understands the best approach to take. Talk to your potential agent and ask them how they handle negotiations. Getting an agent skilled in negotiations can often mean the difference between purchasing the home of your dreams or watching the deal fall apart.
In addition to negotiation, a good agent will be your ally and help you navigate through the sea of paperwork that will be waiting for you once your offer is accepted. Questions will undoubtedly arise, so make sure you find a agent who is skilled in follow-up and thorough communication.
“Tim and Sarah always had the answers or got back to us right away about the paperwork,” said Scott. They really knew how to handle the paperwork and that just made the process easy, said Sue.
- It’s not just about the money.
Are you a client or a commission? An agent who loves their job will stand out- their energy, enthusiasm, dedication and integrity will make it crystal clear that it is not just about a commission for them. Additionally, a good agent will be honest with you and tell you the truth- even when you don’t want to hear it or when it could cost them a sale. The right agent will never push you to make an offer on a home you aren’t sure about or push you too far out of your budget.
“Tim and Sarah never pressured us to buy. You could tell that a sale didn’t matter to them- they just wanted to make sure we were happy. We even went to a few houses and they would say no, this isn’t a good deal for you and we wouldn’t even go in.,” said Scott, who appreciated their honesty.
There is a lot to consider when picking an agent. Follow these tips and don’t let the process intimidate you- the right agent will be with you every step of the way!
Happy house hunting!