If you are looking to buy or sell a home in South Florida, especially if this is one of your first forays into real estate, you are probably wondering how you can pick a real estate agent who will help you to achieve your goals. Home prices across Florida have gone up 15.2% over the past year according to Zillow, and are expected to keep rising. This is what 98 percent of agents in a recent report from HomeLight call a sellers’ market, and it’s happening not only in Florida, but across the country. This makes the market extra competitive for buyers and finding the right agent who can guide you to making a winning offer even more important. Here are some tips to help you find the right professional to get the job done.
Set your goals and priorities
Knowing the final outcome you want to achieve will help you find the right real estate agent to make that happen. Whether you are buying or selling, you need to set your goals about your timeline for hitting your real estate target, including your ideal neighborhood, the home features that are at the top of your wish list, and a budget. With this information in mind, you can then find an agent who has the skills to help you get there. If you are focused on a certain neighborhood or type of home, seeking out an agent who has experience with these specifics can keep you on track. A deep knowledge of your neighborhood can even trump years of experience, since real estate markets are constantly changing.
Reach out to your network
Like any other professional service — from finding the perfect hairstylist to dentist to primary care physician — getting a referral for an agent can save you a lot of time and hassle in searching for the ideal match. You can start by asking for agent recommendations from friends or neighbors who have sold or bought a home recently, particularly in the city or neighborhood that you are targeting. Ideally, you are working with an unbiased referral that is based on professional experience more than personal connections.
Use online research tools
If you don’t have an experienced realtor recommended by your network, you can turn to online search tools. This might mean social media or neighborhood groups, a review site like Yelp or other sites that aggregate real estate content. Ideally, you are looking at sites that provide data about a realtors’ selling and buying history, as well as written reviews from past clients.
Interview your top picks
Once you have at least three agents in mind who you might want to work with, it’s time to start the interview process. These conversations don’t need to last long — the key is to ask questions that will give you a sense of the agent’s experience and area of expertise. Some questions to consider are: What is your typical timeline for buying or selling a home? How many homes have you helped clients buy or sell during the last year? If selling, do your services include photography, marketing, and staging? If selling, do you have experience with virtual showings? In just a few minutes, you can get a sense of whether this agent is the right one for you.
Picking a real estate agent is an important first step when buying or selling a home. It doesn’t need to be an overwhelming process as long as you have a clear strategy, in-depth research, and focused interviews.