Buying or selling a home can be daunting. In fact, it can be a full-time job. For many people, it makes sense to hire an expert to handle the time-consuming tasks and the nitty-gritty details. Real estate agents can take work off your hands and also help you get a better deal.
Your seller's or listing agent will advertise your home, walk buyers through, answer questions and help you through the negotiation phase. If you're trying to buy, you can hire a buyer's agent who is familiar with your preferred locations. He will recommend neighborhoods that fit your preferences, and he'll also warn you about possible drawbacks -- like the nearby factory that will wake you up every morning at 5:00 a.m. But not all agents are the same. Some may take advantage of your inexperience and end up costing you a pretty penny.
Since your house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, no one should judge you for being more than a little choosy about whom you hire to help sell or buy it. Find an agent whose philosophy and methods align with your preferences. And be prepared to interview at least two or three agents to find the right person. Asking the right questions will help you gain insight into the agent's capabilities and personality. Of course, he or she should offer stellar references and be thoroughly familiar with your neighborhood. In this article, you'll find several essential questions you should ask to help you make the best choice.
First of all, you want to find out what others have to say about the agent. On the next page, we'll learn how to find out if past clients loved an agent's work or think you should steer clear.