10 Recommendations for Choosing your Texas Real Estate Agent
As a prospective homeowner, selecting the right real estate agent in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, or anywhere else in Texas is critical. Your RE/MAX REALTORŪ will keep you abreast of this rapidly changing industry, swings in market conditions, and the availability and demand for property inventory. Your agent also guards your legal interests when facing tough negotiations or confusing contracts.
The safest way to hire a strong Dallas real estate agent is to interview more than one specialist. Here are 10 tips to guide you:
Identify at least three (preferably five) Texas real estate professionals.
- Look around your neighborhood. Is the same for-sale sign in every other yard? Call this Houston REALTOR and arrange an interview.
- Use the Internet. You're already on the remax-texas.com Web site. It's easy to search for an Austin REALTOR using our Find An Agent feature.
- Ask a neighbor or friend. Who helped them buy their home? Which real estate agent in Dallas would they hire if they decided to buy?
Interview the real estate professionals you have identified. Having a conversation with the person is a good way to find out if your personalities and goals match. Here are things you want to ask:
- "Are you a REALTOR?" You will have the best luck finding the right home if you work with a REALTOR, not simply a real estate agent. REALTORS are members of the National Association of Realtors. They are generally full-time agents who have committed financially, educationally and professionally to being an expert in the real estate industry.
- "How often will you notify me of new listings?" In some Texas markets, houses enter the market and sell within the first hour. You need a Dallas REALTOR who is serious about finding a home you'll love. Buyers should expect to hear from their agent whenever a home matching their description appears on the market.
- "How often can I expect to hear from you?" Just because your dream house isn't on the market yet doesn't mean you won't have questions. Be sure to work out an arrangement with your Austin REALTOR from the beginning.
- "How quickly can I expect you to return phone calls?" You don't want to be ignored. If the Houston REALTOR doesn't have a callback policy ("You'll hear back from me within two hours/30 minutes/before the day ends"), you may not get the service you expect.
- "Are you a full-time San Antonio REALTOR?" "Hobby agents" aren't as capable of meeting your expectations because their attention is divided by other responsibilities. Limit your search to full-time real estate agents.
- "Who will you represent in my Texas real estate transaction?" Depending on local laws, the Dallas REALTOR representing you may be a subagent for the seller (not what you want as a buyer). Find an agent who can truly represent your interests without having to bow to another client. You may want to consider hiring a Buyers Agent.
- "Will you give me your honest feedback?" Avoid "yes-men." If you can't find your dream house because it simply doesn't exist at the price you've quoted, you need more options. When you find a strong Dallas real estate agent, you get more out of each meeting.
- "How long have you actively worked in the area?" While the answer to this question shouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker, an Austin REALTOR who has worked in the area a long time may be more aware of properties that match your description.
Compare interview notes.
Think about each agent, and decide which one is right for you. You should choose someone aggressive, but who doesn't make you feel anxious or pressured.
Experienced Texas real estate agents in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and across Texas often earn designations that separate them from the pack. These designations are earned through training that helps the agent become a specialist in certain areas. Pay attention to agents who have designations listed after their names on business cards. Specifically ask the agent what each one means.
Find a Houston REALTOR who is savvy about technology.
Through the online tools available to agents these days, you can expect nearly immediate e-mails about new property listings and quick replies to your queries.
Ask for references from your Texas REALTORŪ.
This shouldn't be a big deal; it's a last-step investigation that could confirm or reject your impression of the agent.
Before signing a contract, know that the term "Disclosed Dual Agent" often means that the real estate agency does not represent your interests 100 percent.
Try using a Buyers Agent to represent you.
Buyer agency agreements are common, but be careful.
What if the Austin REALTOR doesn't follow up with you? What if you don't get along? What if the agent doesn't understand your needs? Remember that a buyer agency agreement is negotiable, and you can help negotiate the specific terms.
Select a strong negotiator.
Ask your San Antonio REALTOR whether he or she has ever been in a tough negotiation and how he or she negotiated a fair price.
Usually the seller foots the bill for a real estate professional's commission, but don't assume this will be the case. Ask point-blank what your financial obligations are throughout the process. Your Texas real estate agent at RE/MAX has the knowledge and experience to provide you with a smooth, hassle-free transaction.