How to Choose The Best Real Estate Agent

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. The process can be filled with uncertainty, excitement or a little bit of both. Choosing a trusted, caring real estate agent to work for and with you can completely change the nature of your home buying experience. With the right agent by your side, obstacles, frustrations, and negotiations feel a little less daunting, and the task at hand—finding that perfect home—becomes a lot more manageable.

How do you choose that seemingly perfect real estate agent? We’ve compiled a list of the best methods for finding the right agent for your home buying experience.

Before You Get Started

Whether you are buying your very first home or you are an experienced investor looking for a new agent, there are some common best practices to adhere to. Before starting your search for a real estate agent, it is important to get your financing in order.

Start by talking to your lender to determine how much house you can afford. You may have an idea of your budget simply based on your down payment and your income level, however, there are many other financial factors to consider. Current interest rates for home loans, property taxes, HOA fees, insurance, and loan terms all play a role in the amount of mortgage you can handle.

By working through your finances first, you will be much better prepared to find a qualified agent who has experience buying homes in your desired neighborhood and price range.

Finding the Best Local Agents

Once you’ve determined your budget, it’s time to discover an agent in your area that can help make your home purchase a breeze. But what qualifies an agent as the best agent for you? That depends on a variety of factors—from the style of home you are looking for, to specific requirements for your property and the location in which you wish to live.

The right agent will have specialized knowledge of both your desired city and neighborhood, as well as a goal to thoroughly understand your specific needs and hopes. Home buying often requires compromise, so while the right agent may not be able to work magic, they certainly should have considerable negotiating skills and an honest, caring approach to your investment.

Now that you’re ready to find a real estate agent for your next home purchase, follow today’s best tools and practices for locating the best agent for the job.

Research, Research, and More Research

Sitting down behind the computer to find an agent is probably not your ideal Saturday afternoon activity. Yet, understanding the market, the top-rated brokers, and what other people are saying about local agents and firms is a good first step in choosing your agent.

Research can be overwhelming, however, so here a few good questions to help fine-tune your search:

  • How long have they been selling or buying real estate?
  • What areas do they typically serve?
  • Do they work with a team?
  • Do they have experience handling unique situations similar to yours?
  • What insights do customer reviews provide about their work and character?

Once you have narrowed down your search to a handful of agents that are specific to your area or specialize in your unique case—first-time homebuyer, house flipper or investor—it will be easier to dig in a little deeper to your research or begin scheduling appointments to meet with each agent.

Ask Your Community for Referrals

Sometimes the most trusted source of information is those who have gone before you. Your friends, family, and neighbors may be eager to give you the name of their real estate agent, particularly if they had a good home buying experience.

While many real estate agents still consider referrals an essential method for finding new leads—around 75% of an agent’s business comes from referrals and word of mouth—just because your neighbor loved their agent, doesn’t mean they will be right for you.

Referrals are a great way to add to your list of potential agents, just don’t forget to do your research and come up with some helpful questions to ask when you finally meet the referred agents.

Attend Open Houses

If you are new to the area and don’t yet know anyone well enough to get a referral, then attending open houses is a great option. Not only do you meet the seller’s agent at an open house, but buyer’s agents also frequently attend to review potential properties for their clients.

When you notice an open house, especially in your desired neighborhood, consider attending. Take time to chat with the listing agent to get a feel for their personality and professionalism. Be prepared to meet other people at the open house and keep an eye out for agents who may be interested in taking on a new client.

Review a Potential Agent’s Track Record (and Core Values)

You may have already implemented this step into your research, but now that you have more agents to consider (via referrals and open houses), take time to review the work history of each of those agents. According to members of Forbes Real Estate Council, it takes a long time to build a history of quality real estate transactions. Take into account an agent’s experience and track record before entrusting them to find you a new home.

Other members of the council feel differently, however, and say that strong core values, trust, and compassion are more important than the real estate track record. Instead, they encourage home buyers to “go with your gut” and make sure to find an agent who has your best interests at heart.

Explore Innovative Platforms

If you’ve had enough of research, and open houses, and referrals that haven’t panned out, this step could be the option you need. Platforms, like LemonBrew, are designed to provide innovative and easy ways for people to buy homes. While platforms like Zillow and give you options for searching for houses and even searching for local agents (great tools to implement while in the researching phase), LemonBrew offers a different approach to real estate.

Using our analytic approach, we gather key data points about you, the home you want, and your location, to match you with high-quality and highly qualified agents. Based on the information you provide, we give you a BrewScore that helps us match you with the right agent. Not only are our partner agents responsive and professional, but they are also experts—thanks to our matching algorithm—in finding you exactly what you’re looking for.

Technology removes the need for you to spend hours researching agents, reviewing track records, and chatting with agents who simply aren’t a good fit. A free matching system like LemonBrew helps you skip to the last step of finding an agent—interviewing your options.

LemonBrew also provides a unique opportunity to save money in the process. Based on your BrewScore, you can earn back a portion of your agent’s commission at closing and then apply that to your closing costs. Not only can innovative platforms save you time and money, but they also connect you with the agent you need to get the best house, best price, and best home buying experience.

Interview Potential Agents

Whether you come across a list of potential agents through referrals, research, open houses, or LemonBrew, it is important to interview each agent before deciding to work with them. Most agents and experienced buyers recommend interviewing at least three agents before choosing one.

Even with LemonBrew’s custom matching technology, you still have complete control over who you choose as your agent. Once you’ve been matched, spend time getting to know your agent and ask them key questions about their experience, background, and expertise. Not the right fit? You can interview a number of matched agents to make sure you find the realtor that is right for your home buying needs.

Save Time and Money with LemonBrew

Unlike other platforms available in real estate today, LemonBrew removes the legwork of finding the right agent, and presents you with professional, high-quality support to help you navigate the home buying experience. Explore a new way to buy a home with our custom matching technology and cost-saving strategy. Meet the agent with the right expertise to find the home you’ll love.