Amy Mizner is a Principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. in Wellesley and Weston
Your home is probably the most important and expensive purchase you’re ever going to make, and it’s not only a big undertaking, it’s often an emotional experience, too. There are lots of highs and lows. You need a broker by your side that you trust; to guide you through the process and make sure you don’t let anything negatively affect your decision. Trust is also important when going through the lending process, especially for the first time. Your broker should be someone you feel comfortable sharing your financial information with — and overall like being around. Interview brokers until you find one you connect with, and who clearly has your best interests in mind.
Compare the Listings He or She Has Online to What You’re Looking For
It’s crucial to find a real estate agent who knows the area you want to move to, and is used to dealing with the type of properties you’re interested in. He or she should be part of the community — familiar with the different neighborhoods and acquainted with many of the residents. After all, you really hire an agent for his or her network. Find out about your broker’s working history in the business, check reviews on him or her and make sure they have had success with their buyers in the past. Typically it’s best to find someone who works full-time and has been in the business for several years.
Experts say that more than 85% of potential buyers find their listings on the internet nowadays; so having a broker who knows how to navigate the new technologies and real estate tools is a must.
If you have friends or family members who recently bought or sold their home; ask if they would recommend their agent. Referrals are a great way to ensure your broker is professional and knowledgeable about the market. Another way to find a broker is to go to an open house. It doesn’t have to be the specific property you’re interested in, but it will give you an idea of their experience and work ethic. Take a business card and follow up on your own time if the broker was someone you would like to work with.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Asking a broker a list of important questions before deciding to work with them is perfectly acceptable. You should interview whoever is handling this major transaction, and there are certain things you need to know when jumping into the real estate market. A professional broker will be able to help you through the process, so be sure to ask them the following:
1. How will you communicate with me?
Communication is essential for real estate brokers; a missed phone call can be a missed opportunity, so ask if they’re available to text or email throughout the day. Make sure your agent will touch base with you in a way that works for your schedule.
2. Are there any Costs with the sale; who pays the broker commission?
There are several fees to consider when buying or selling a property; so make sure your agent is upfront about all commissions and closing costs. They can differ slightly, depending on the property, agency and market, so always know what they are before you sign on.
3. Do you have references?
An honest and successful broker won’t mind letting you contact past clients, so asking for references is a great way to make sure your broker is really working for you.
There’s a well-known quote in real estate that “20% of the brokers sell 80% of the properties on the market.” Make sure your broker is part of that 20%, to ensure a seamless buying experience.