How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

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Choose Real Estate Agent

By OBX Homes — 1/16/17

Whether buying or selling a property, working with a real estate agent usually allows for a much smoother and easier transaction. It is very helpful to have a professional representing you and your best interests in this detailed process. Buying or selling a home might be one of the biggest decisions or investments that you make. I have lengthy checklists for both sales and purchases to be sure we cover all the bases so that I can guide you through the entire process.

Experienced agents not only know their market better, they usually have a huge resource of contacts and vendors. They can help you with anything from information on a pool installation to finding a veterinarian.

Of course the amount and quality of help you get depends on your picking the right agent. My number one piece of advice is to do some research before you commit to an agent, as it’s not a decision to be taken lightly or made in haste. Choosing a real estate professional is not like picking something off a menu. You’re going to be somewhat tied to this person for several months, sometimes longer. I have worked with some buyers for many years before they were ready to buy.

I think the very best way to find an agent is the old fashioned way, a direct referral or recommendation from someone who has bought or sold with an agent on the OBX. A referral will allow you a level of comfort in knowing that someone else, a friend or family member, has firsthand knowledge of how the agent works and conducts business. Over half of my clients come from repeat business or direct referrals.

If you don’t have a direct referral/recommendation, and you visit the OBX often, you might want to explore the agents at the firm where you’ve rented your homes over the years. Most firms have a sales team, and you can do some online research by reading testimonials and bios. Check their track records and sales volume. Also, it’s important to pick an agent who is specific to the area where you wish to buy or sell. Agents usually specialize in certain areas so that they can have a more thorough knowledge of prices, laws, regulations, services, vendors, and such. For example, even though I have the ability to sell property from Ocracoke to the 4×4 area, I do not work all those areas. I would be doing my clients a disservice by trying to sell in an area with which I’m not completely familiar. If I have a client looking to buy or sell in the northern 4×4 beaches or in Hatteras or Ocracoke down south, I refer them to an agent who is an expert in those territories, and I always appreciate it when they refer their Duck/Corolla folks to me.

In addition to making sure your agent is well qualified, highly recommended, and specializes in the area where you wish to buy or sell, you should really like the person you select, as you might be spending a lot of time with him or her. You need to feel that your personalities meld.  Feel free to interview three or four qualified agents before you make your decision, as you should try to meet them in person if possible.

One of my clients jokingly called me his realtor for life, and I strive to have that kind of relationship with all my clients. I aim to keep in touch with all my clients for as long as they want me to, well after the purchase or sale. Bottom line, choose your agent carefully because if he or she is good, you’ll have that person as your go-to resource here on the OBX for a very a long time.