It’s been said that the average buyer looks at 10 homes before finally settling on their dream home. But what I can tell you is this is one case where being below average is preferable. Schlepping around to tour house after house can be mind-numbing and tiring — it’s also exhausting and confusing.
Real estate agents exist for a reason. If they’re good, they should know the questions to ask and the homes to show you so you can find your dream home, hopefully in fewer than 10 viewings. It is critical to work with an agent who listens and responds to your unique needs, concerns, and perspective.
But with so many agents vying for new clients, how do you locate and select the one who’s right for you? Check out the tips below as you set out to find your very own “House Whisperer.”
Seek quality recommendations
Now that you’re in the market to find an agent, it’s time to get chatty! Get the inside scoop from friends and family who’ve worked with local agents in the past. They’re the ones who have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly from your local pool of agents.
However, it’s critical to speak with friends whose consumer style is like yours. If you’re a super-laid-back shopper, chances are, your uptight neighbor with a spreadsheet hobby is probably not the most compatible guy to personally recommend an agent.
Leverage the interwebs
Anything and everything you need to know about the plethora of real estate agents in your area is at your fingertips. The key? Knowing how to locate the information quickly and easily. The Trulia Directory has it all: agent reviews, ratings, relevant experience, and local expertise.
Are you looking for a short sale in an up-and-coming neighborhood? A new-construction home in the suburbs, precisely 20 minutes outside the city? Bring these specifics to your initial conversations with agents to find someone with the right skill set.
Attend open houses
Open houses, especially in the neighborhood you’d like to call home, can be an effective way to locate an agent. And why not? They’re ideal for buyers scouting for an agent — they’re like a mini-interview where you can see them in action on the job. Are they annoyed and closed off or open and helpful? Do your homework upfront and save yourself a headache later. This is probably the most important buying relationship you will have.
Pro tip: Remember, agents at open houses represent the seller, but if you aren’t intending to make an offer on that particular house, you can always hire the agent to represent you. Agents treat open houses as a prospecting tool to meet new potential clients, so don’t be shy to get to know them, not just the house.
Interview prospective agents
Once you have a few agents in mind, call and ask to set up a time to meet (and interview) them. If the agent balks at the request, move on to the next. This person is not your House Whisperer — trust me.
While the agent’s answers are important, the rapport you have is as well. Consider it a glimpse into your future working relationship. For interview tips and suggestions, you can’t go wrong by listening to the professionals.
Share and communicate
You’ve done the hard part — you found your agent. Now it’s up to you to turn this person into your House Whisperer. Clearly communicate your home wants, needs, and dreams, then let the agent work their magic.
The old adage “a picture says a million words” couldn’t be more true than in the case of house hunting. Stay organized and share photos of your dream home with your agent by using Trulia Boards. Communicating your ideal home’s look and feel to a real estate pro used to be tedious, but now it’s fun and, more important, streamlined.
Create your boards, add homes, and invite your agent to collaborate with you; they will greatly appreciate your organization and enthusiasm. And you’ll find your home that much faster.