Colorado Real Estate News

Three Reasons to Sell Your Home TODAY!

wooden block house on snow

Are you considering selling your home? Denver-metro’s real estate market is white-hot right now and homesellers have an opportunity to earn a premium by listing their properties. Below are some statistics and insights into why NOW is the prime moment to sell your home and effectively capitalize on the extraordinarily potent real estate market. The bubble will not burst and in this seller’s market, the benefits and supporting evidence speaks for themselves.

1. Make a Significant Profit on Your Home Sale
According to Mansion Global at the end of October, the median U.S. homebuyer is paying about $20,000 more than they did three months ago. Denver-metro has experienced a spectacular median home price growth of 11.67% over last year and an extremely positive 7.14% year to date.

With interest rates hitting a new historical low 14 times this year, homebuyers have more purchasing power, and they are willing to make a strong offer to secure the homes they love among the stiff competition.

Due to this elevated buying ability, multiple offer scenarios are continuing later this year than they have in the past and in price points that typically haven’t seen that before. With voraciously hungry buyers engaging in bidding wars for your home, homesellers stand to maximize their profits.

2. Inventory Is Low and Demand Is High
According to the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, more than seven in 10 homes sold in October 2020 and 72% were on the market for less than a month with the median days in MLS for detached single-family homes at a speedy five days, representing a tie for the lowest number on record.

Housing inventory hit an all-time low of 3,415 active listings at the end of November. Compare this to the average active listings for November month-end of over 14,000 and you can see how homes are flying off the metaphorical shelves.

The Denver-metro area has had more closed homes than active listings every month-end since July 2020 and with extremely limited housing inventory, you have your pick of the litter with buyer offers.

3. Colorado Cities are Some of the Best Places to Live
The U.S. News and World Report published its list of the 150 best places to live in the U.S. and the first four out of 5 are all in Colorado with Denver earning second place overall.

Also, in Niche’s Best Cities for Young Professionals in America list, Denver placed 11th and Denver Business Journal ranked Denver 13th for overall real estate investment and development.

With the high desirability of our beautiful state, not only is there the potential for Coloradans to purchase your home among the low housing inventory, but many individuals out of state will be pining for your property.

Partnering with Kentwood
The benefits of listing your home in this market are plain as day with a high potential for homes to not only sell quickly, but for a large amount. If you would like to capitalize on Denver-metro’s phenomenal housing market and maximize your profit, consider partnering with an experienced Kentwood broker to elevate your home’s marketing, staging and overall value.

Colorado Real Estate News

Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Broker

real estate agent and clients talking with masks on.

Whether you’re a first time or a veteran buyer, Kentwood has you covered. Here are some great questions to ask your agent before, during and after buying your new home.

Before Hiring Your Agent

1. Can I see your real estate license?

This should always be one of the first questions you ask a potential agent! Always make sure the person you are working with is an accredited professional. All established agents will be prepared to show you their license, so if they refuse, move on to the next.

2. How long have you been an agent?

The more experienced the agent is, the more industry knowledge and problem-solving skills they will have. To confirm the credibility and success of an agent you are considering, check out their testimonials and online reviews.

3. Are you familiar with the area I am interested in?

Find agents that have experience buying or selling in the neighborhood you are considering. Location does matter! You want to make sure they can answer all of your questions regarding school districts, development plans, crime rates in the neighborhood, surrounding restaurant and entertainment options, etc. For more information on areas that you may be interested in, check out the Colorado Communities section of our website.

During the Housing Search

1. Can you explain the homebuying process from start to finish?

This question is great for first-time buyers! You want to know what to expect going into the buying process. They should cover topics such as: how showings go, how to place an offer and what happens during a home inspection. The Realtor® should also be transparent about how their commission works since buyers do not usually pay agent commission fees.

2. How dated is the property?

It is crucial to find out how much extra money you will have to put into a property post-purchase. The most expensive renovation is typically roof replacement. Most roofs last for roughly 20 years and cost, on average, $6,000 to $10,000 with a maximum rate of around $45,000. It is also important to ask about the major appliances and what their predicted life expectancies are. Make sure to inquire about the water heater, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator and HVAC system.

3. What was the seller’s motivation for putting the house on the market?

This question will determine your negotiation angle. If the seller is moving to a larger house in the same town simply to upsize, they probably are not too worried about the timeline of closing. On the other hand, if the seller is relocating for a job and has already moved out of town, they are usually more willing to work with you on the price to have a quick closing.

4. How many days has the house been on the market?

Another question related to negotiating strategy. According to Realtor.com, most houses are on the market for an average of 52 days. This statistic excludes winter, where the average is slightly higher. So, if a home has been on the market for over two months, the seller may be more receptive to a negotiated price.

After You Have Found a House

1. Can I see a CMA for this house?

You have found the house of your dreams, but you are not done yet! When it comes time to close on a house, you want to make sure you as the buyer are getting the most bang for your buck. A Competitive Market Analysis form will look at nearby, similar properties to determine your future home’s worth in today’s market. This will tell you whether your home is priced reasonably and can inform the route you take with negotiation.

2. What happens when I move to close on a house?

Make sure you coordinate with your agent on who will be handling the closing, where the closing will take place, what you will need to bring to the closing and what the closing costs will be. Both the buyer and the seller are always required to provide photo identification, and the seller must show proof of homeowner’s insurance. As for closing costs, they vary depending on the property, so be prepared to pay both broker and third-party fees at the closing.

Whether you are looking to list your property or search for a new home, Kentwood is always available to provide expert guidance on your real estate journey. Fill out our contact form to connect with a seasoned broker dedicated to fulfilling your homeownership dreams.

Colorado Real Estate News

5 Common Home Selling Mistakes To Avoid

Home Selling MistakesSelling your home is a big decision and can be a difficult process. But to get the most out of your home it pays to be detailed and do everything right. If you can avoid these common home selling mistakes, you’ll increase your chances for a smooth, fast, and lucrative transaction.

Not Hiring a Realtor® or Choosing the Wrong Realtor®

Working with an experienced real estate professional can make all the difference when selling your home. When you pick the right broker they will provide support, advice, resources, and an extensive professional network that you would not have access to otherwise. From preparation and paperwork to marketing and open houses, an experienced professional will help alleviate much of the stress that goes into selling a home.

But not all agents are created equal. Instead of choosing a Realtor who is a friend or a family member, take time to pick someone with an excellent track record for listing homes. It will payoff to find a broker with local market knowledge and sales expertise.

Incorrectly Pricing Your Home

Pricing is the most important decision of the selling process, and will have the biggest influence on your sales outcome. If you have hired the right realtor who can analyze the market and determine a reasonable price, then you can avoid incorrectly pricing your home.

Overpricing is one of the biggest home selling mistakes you can make when listing their home. It can lead to more days on the market, which can potentially effect the final sales price. If you base your price on an over-inflated view of your home, rather than listening to your listing agent, you may end up dropping the price multiple times before finally selling.

Using Bad Photography

Your home needs to show its best in person, as well as in listing photography and marketing materials. With over 90% of potential buyers starting their home search online, listing photography is often the first impression they have of your home. Therefore, professionally shot and staged property photos should be an essential part of your marketing plan. Poor photography or photos taken on a camera phone will only serve to create a bad first impression. And you may not ever get a second chance to make the perfect impact.

Skipping Necessary Prep Work

Once you make the decision to sell, it’s easy to want to jump the gun and get your house on the market right away. However, selling your home is no small task. You’ll want to take your time and make sure your home is prepared to sell before going on the market. Sweat the small stuff because even small cosmetic issues can be a red flag for buyers. Chipping paint, stained carpet, and water marks can all be signs of larger issues.

That means painting, decluttering, making repairs, cleaning up your landscaping, and staging are all going to be crucial prep work. These steps may seem small but they can have a big effect on the value of your home – especially in a competitive market.

Being Present for Showings and Open Houses

Showing your home to a potential buyer is the one time during the selling process you should be completely hands-off. Buyers want to be able to visualize themselves and their families in your home. Being there at the same time as a buyer could create an awkward situation. They may feel like they are intruding, being rushed, or inhibited by your presence. Pack away your personal affects, take down the family photos, and whatever you do don’t linger around during a showing.

Colorado Real Estate News

Your Guide To Surviving a Seller’s Market

Surviving a Seller's MarketFinding a home you love and that fits your wants, needs, and budget can be a monumental task even in the best conditions. But in a tight seller’s market, you will also be faced with beating out your competition. A well-priced home in good condition will move quickly and likely have multiple offers. So, if you want to end up with the home of your dreams, you need to be prepared.

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Get Your Finances in Order

Before you even begin looking for a house, the first step is to make sure you’re in a comfortable financial position to buy. You should obtain copies of your credit score several months in advance to better help understand your position. You’ll also want to shop around for mortgage financing before searching for houses. In a hot seller’s market, it’s best to come to showings armed with a preapproval letter or a “proof of funds”.

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Prepare to Be On-Call

With so many other buyers to compete with, timing will be essential. To be successful in your home search, you will need to be readily available at a moment’s notice. House hunting is not something to fit in when you can. If you are only looking when it’s convenient for you, you’re probably wasting your time. Be prepared to comb through listings regularly, go to viewings at the seller’s earliest convenience (rather than your own), and to follow up quickly if you think it’s a good fit. Not only will this be essential for timing, but can also help build a rapport with the seller.

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Come Ready with Paperwork

Simply swearing to a seller that you have enough money for a down payment or that you will have no problem getting approved for a mortgage just isn’t going to cut it in a hot market. If you truly want to be taken seriously you’ll need to show up with hard evidence in hand. Come equipped with a pre-qualified loan, an approval letter from your lender, and a “proof of funds” from your bank. Actions speak louder than words, and showing up prepared will let any seller know that you mean business.

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Start with Your Best Offer

In a strong seller’s market, you are likely in competition with other buyers who want the house just as much as you do. So, if you know you’ve found the property you want, don’t wait to make an offer. A competitive offer comes with the least amount of contingencies. And you should be prepared to make an offer at asking price or above to really stand a chance. Also consider what the seller’s needs are. Are they looking to close quickly or at a later date? Are they looking for the best price or simply the lowest risk?

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Make a Connection

It’s true that some sellers are only concerned with how much money they can get for their home. But you will find that many others want to see their home to go to someone that will love it as much as they did. In these situations, it’s important to make an impression. Include a personal letter about why you think this home is the right fit for you. Give them a backstory about you and maybe even include a photo. This might not be the best approach for everyone, but it has worked for many people in the past and it might just work for you too!

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Make a Back-Up Offer

Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a home that already has a pending contract. But deals frequently fall apart over finances, inspections, and other contract terms. If you believe you have found the perfect house but it’s already under contract, make a backup offer. It couldn’t hurt. If the current deal falls through or the buyer walks away, you will be in first place for your dream home.

Surviving a Seller’s Market

Colorado Real Estate News

How to Avoid Real Estate Wire Fraud

Recently, mass wire fraud scams have been happening all over the country and even the world. Wire fraud has repeatedly topped the list as a sophisticated scam that causes consumers to lose millions of dollars each year. With the permanence of technology in our society, it’s likely that wire fraud will continue to claim victims for years to come. To avoid becoming a victim of real estate wire fraud yourself, the best thing you can do is to be properly informed and well prepared.

How To Avoid Wire Fraud | Cyber Attack

How Can Wire Fraud Happen?

There are many ways that a hacker can insert themselves into communications and commit real estate wire fraud. But the following are the two most common to be on the lookout for:

  • A hacker breaks into a professional’s email account to learn about upcoming transactions. Once they find a victim who’s in the process of buying a home, they’ll send a spoof e-mail that looks like it’s from their agent, title representative, or attorney, and it will have wiring instructions, which includes a fraudulent account. The home buyer will then unwittingly wire funds directly into the hacker’s account. Once they send the money, it’s gone.
  • Hackers might also trick the real estate agent into downloading malicious software onto their personal computer, office computer, or phone either through an email or by other means. From there, the hacker has access to all the information that they might need to commit wire fraud.

While these are just two examples of the more sophisticated ways hackers are implementing wire fraud, hacking can also be done by less refined methods such as phone, fax, or inter-office memos.

How to Protect Yourself from Wire Fraud

  • Stay aware of your communications. Be sure to check and double check the email address that you are communicating with. Hackers who use spoof email accounts will often switch around one or two letters of your realtors actual email address. If you aren’t paying close attention, you are likely to miss it!
  • Use a reputable title company. Your agent will most likely have title companies that they prefer to work with. It’s a smart idea to visit your title company in person. When you are ready to deposit your earnest money, physically bring that check into the title company. At that point, pick up a printed copy of your wiring instructions that you can always refer back to.
  • Understand your realtor’s means of communication. From day one you will want to be informed about how your realtor will be in contact with you throughout the real estate transaction. You will also want to know how other parties involved will be communicating with you. Be sure that sensitive information is never sent through email!
  • Telephone Verification. On the day of the wire transfer, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call the recipient to verify the wiring instructions. Use the phone number that you have been using throughout the entire process. You’ll most likely want to save the contact information of your realtor, the title company, and possibly an attorney the first time that you communicate with them.
  • This might seem like common sense, but always use strong passwords and ensure that your agent is doing the same. It also wouldn’t hurt to change your password a few times throughout the transaction process or before wiring instructions are sent.

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself, your investment and your future. Always make sure that you and your realtor are taking every precaution possible to ensure the secure handling of your real estate transaction.

Colorado Real Estate News

What to Look for When Buying a Starter Home

Happy Couple | New HomeBuying your first home is likely the biggest investment you will ever make. Therefore, it’s important that you make the right choices when choosing a starter home. Since your starter home is not intended as a forever home, there are some important features that first time buyers should be on the lookout for. Following are a few things to consider when hunting for your starter home.

Affordability

Don’t go biting off more than you can chew. The biggest factor when choosing a starter home is whether or not you will actually be able to afford it. First time buyers don’t have any equity to roll into a new home, therefore coming up with a down payment along with the financial burdens of owning a home should be their first priority. The best way to figure out whether or not the mortgage is affordable is to use a mortgage calculator, which helps to break down the monthly payments based on taxes and insurance. This will help determine a firm target price to aim for.

Location, Location, Location

Where you choose to purchase your starter home is crucial for multiple different reasons. The biggest of those being equity. Equity is the most important thing you will gain from your first home. So you want to find a neighborhood with stability, where there aren’t many “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs, and people have been living there for extended periods of time. These are the areas that are going to get you the best return when you eventually sell your home.

You will also want to consider security. How safe do you feel in the neighborhood? If you don’t feel comfortable and secure living in the neighborhood, chances are other buyers are going to feel the same way. Since this is just a starter home, you always want to be thinking about the future and the ease with which you can resell your home. Don’t be afraid to be selective!

Move -In Ready

Most first time home buyers are working within a limited budget and can’t afford to put a ton of money into a “fixer upper”, especially if you aren’t all that handy around the house. Be realistic about your ability to maintain the cost of owning a home. Often times, homeowners come armed to the gills with DIY projects that end up being too much to manage. Renovating a home is not inexpensive, quick or easy, so buying a move-in-ready home is highly recommended.

If you are forced to choose a home that is a project, prioritize the updates you are willing and can afford to make. Take a look at some of the big budget items which might cause you problems within the next seven to ten years, and make sure that they have recently been updated. This includes things such as the water heater, energy efficient windows, updated electrical wiring or a new roof. The bathrooms and kitchen are also important areas of a home to ensure are updated. These are two rooms that attract buyer’s attention the most.

Room for the Future

While a starter home is a place where you can settle to start a family or until your career takes off, most people tend to stay there for longer than anticipated. The average time a family spends in their first home ranges anywhere from seven to ten years. Therefore, when buying a starter home be sure to consider the kind of space that your family might need to grow into.

Even if you don’t plan on expanding your currently family, it’s smart to think about what future buyers might need. If you purchase a starter home with only one room, you are severely limiting the number of potential buyers you may have in the future.

 

Colorado Real Estate News

Four Tips for Breaking Your Apartment Lease

Lease Agreement DocumentsYour lease is a binding contract between you and your landlord, which means that breaking your lease is a breach of contract. People often have valid reasons for breaching a contract, and you may have a good excuse for wanting to get out of your lease, such as needing to move to another city to pursue a job, you may be getting married or divorced, or you may have decided to buy a home. However, there may be consequences. Following are four tips for breaking your apartment lease.

Know your rights and your lease

Before you get started on the process, it’s a good idea to look over your lease and see what exactly you have legal responsibility for if you leave the rental earlier than planned. You also might want to get familiar with the tenant laws in your state and city. If your landlord hasn’t lived up to his or her end of the bargain, you might be able to leave without incurring any issues. In fact, there may be clauses in the contract for your specific situation. Once you know exactly where you stand on paper, you are equipped to talk with your landlord and hopefully negotiate a deal.

An eviction and any subsequent judgements a landlord can get against you for unpaid rent can have serious credit consequences. If you’ve broker a lease and were sued by your landlord, it will appear on your credit reports. You can get free annual credit reports from each of the major credit reporting agencies to see if your credit has been affected by breaking a lease.

Communicate with your landlord

Usually, it’s a good idea not to treat this like a secret…keeping your landlord in the loop can benefit both of you. They may not be happy you are packing up early, but you can explain your situation and work together to make the best of it. The more notice you give, the more time they have to try to replace you and the longer you have to persuade them not to charge you any fees.

Look for a replacement tenant

It’s all about time and money. Instead of paying the rent yourself while the apartment stays vacant, it can be a good idea to scope out a replacement tenant on your own…whether this person will take over the remainder of your lease or sign a new one remains to be seen. You can use social media, email your circle of friends, place a classified ad, or get some names from your family of those who might be interested.

Be flexible and proactive

Once you are the one breaking an agreement, it can be a good idea to take responsibility and be proactive in resolving the situation. By offering up solutions or just making it easy for your landlord to rent the place again (like being accommodating with showings), you can put yourself in a stronger position.

Colorado Real Estate News

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

In a robust real estate market, the seller usually holds the winning hand because there just aren’t enough homes on the market.  In a seller’s market, sellers usually get multiple offers and can often get bids that are over the listed price.  House hunting is challenging enough at any time, but shopping in a seller’s market is a whole additional difficulty level.

The supply of homes is low across the country and demand is high. So with lots of competition out there how do you survive the house-hunting and hopefully land that home you’re after?  While there are no guaranteed ways to succeed, here are a few tips to help increase your chances of getting a home you truly want at a reasonable price.

Work With a Real Estate Professional

There’s a myth among some novice home-buyers that it’s only the sellers who need a real estate professional, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Having someone who knows the local market well, is experienced with evaluating homes, knows how to successfully negotiate, and who will be your advocate through the entire process is absolutely critical.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Know the Signs

If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, it’s not a seller’s market.  If it’s only those ultra-luxurious properties which have been on the market for over a few months, that indicates that houses are getting snatched up quickly.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Get Pre-qualified For a Mortgage 

Getting prequalified lets you know how much home you can afford and it also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer who is much more likely to be able to close escrow.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

 Do Your Research 

Although your real estate agent will provide lots of help in your home search, it’s important to do a little homework on your own up front.  It will help the home-buying process if you know which areas you’d like to live in, what you can afford, and the type and size of the home you would prefer.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Commit to Being On Call 

To succeed in a seller’s market, you have to make house hunting a priority and always be available.  Treat house hunting as you would job hunting.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Be Prepared to Compromise 

Everyone wants that big, gorgeous home in the best neighborhood, but you may have to compromise a bit, especially when the market is competitive.  This doesn’t mean settling for a home you dislike; it just means going after homes with the features that you really need, rather than what you simply want.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Waive the What-Ifs

Typically, when home buyers make an offer, they do so only with contingencies.  For example, they would buy a home if the inspection goes well or if they can secure financing.  However, in a seller’s market, it may behoove you to drop one or two of these caveats to stand out to sellers, who generally would prefer very few hurdles on the way to closing.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Make a Strong Offer

Work with your real estate professional to put together a strong offer for the home you’re after.  You may also want to work with the seller on a closing date and contingencies.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Don’t Play Hardball

In your typical home-selling scenario, buyers make an offer below the seller’s asking price, then negotiate upward from there.  But in a seller’s market, there is often little or no room for price negotiations.  It’s almost always a waste of time low-balling a seller.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Connect With the Seller

If two offers are close, it may help your chances to try to personally connect with the seller or by write a letter detailing how much you love their home and how much you dream about living there.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Widen Your Search

In a seller’s market, it’s not unusual to feel out-priced in your favorite neighborhood, but that may merely mean you need to start scouting farther afield, such as visiting an up-and-coming neighborhood nearby.

Colorado Real Estate News

Five Types of Buyers You’ll Face While Selling Your Home

Keys To Your New Home

Does it pay to know the different types of buyers you will likely encounter when selling your home? Leading Realtors think so. It pays, literally, to know what type of person lurks behind the offer so you’ll know how best to deal with them for optimum results. Following are five types of buyers you may encounter:

Type No. 1: The all-cash showoff.

All-cash buyers may seem a little cocky…understandably. With no worries of financing falling through, this buyer means business and can even ask for a shorter escrow period to seal the deal. The downside is you may have to be ready to be flexible. The all-cash buyer may aim for a lower offer or have specific contingencies in mind. The promise of cold, hard cash is more of a bragging point than a financial benefit to you. So be prepared to drop them if their demands get too outrageous.

Type No. 2: The scrappy underdog.

These buyers are the opposite of the all-cash buyer. They have little available cash for a down payment. Buyers with FHA loans can fall into this category which can sometimes be rough on sellers since FHA loans have stricter home qualifying requirements. Additionally, the more work a buyer needs to finance the property, the more work a seller might need to do as well…like contributing to closing costs.

The good news is these buyers usually know they’re a headache and, as a result, should be more flexible to your needs, as long as they don’t require cash, a later move-in date or fewer repairs

Type No. 3: The doe-eyed charity case.

These buyers are so in love with your home they submit an offer accompanied by a sweet emotional letter with photos of their children or pets. They are probably the most rewarding buyer out there, but beware. Warm and fuzzy feelings will not pay the bills. If their plea is not accompanied by a heartfelt offer, they could just be playing your heartstrings with one hand and reserving a fistful of cash in the other.

Type No. 4: The window shopper.

These buyers dream of owning a home someday. They gallivant around town, swooning at every open house, but flake when it comes to sealing the deal. They might even pose as negotiators with low ball offers. The reality is they just aren’t all that serious about buying a home. It’s best not to waste your time dealing with this type of buyer…or non-buyer.

Type No. 5: The coyote.

If you’re property has been aging on the market, you might start seeing this type of buyer sniffing. They want to see if there is a crack in the foundation or something that’s kept it on the market for so long. Don’t get intimidated.  Just be honest. Work with your Realtor to see what concessions need to be made and if the price you’re asking is right. Chances are if it hasn’t sold for a while, you might need to come down a bit.

Colorado Real Estate News

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

ThinkstockPhotos-479241449There is a lot at stake when you make the decision to buy or sell a home and you will likely end up paying good money for an agent’s services. Therefore, choosing the right agent is an essential part of the process, and not one that should be taken lightly. There are a few things that you can do to assess an agent’s past performances and their potential to successfully handle your transaction. Here are six tips to help you pick the agent that is right for you.

1.) Collect Referrals

Ask the agent to provide a list of properties they either listed or sold in the past year, including contact information. Before contacting these names, ask if any of the clients listed were particularly pleased or disappointed with their services. When speaking with these clients, get as much information as possible. Were they happy with their experience? Would they use them again? What was the asking price vs. what it sold for? Friends, neighbors and co-workers are also good resources for referrals.

 2.) Look at Their Current Listings

Check out an agent’s listings online. Two places you can do this are the agency’s own website or at Realtor.com. A well-established web presence is crucial. Most buyers begin their search on the internet, so you want to make sure your agent utilizes this tool efficiently and effectively. Looking at their listings will also give you a better idea of how closely related they are to the house you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same location? How about price range? Does this agent have enough listings to boast a healthy business, but not so many that you wouldn’t get the personal touch you need?

3.) Interview Multiple Agents

Once you’ve done some digging into their background, set up interviews with three or four agents you are considering. Maybe stop by an open house to get a glimpse of them in action. Did they handle themselves a professional manner? Were they enthusiastic and easy to communicate with? You want to find someone who demonstrates expertise in the buying/selling process, knowledge of the area you are buying/selling in, and familiarity of the technicalities such as titles, appraisals, negotiation, and inspections. Most importantly, make sure you choose someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

4.) Experience Matters

Whether you are looking for an agent to buy or sell your home, you want someone with experience, rather than being part of someone’s learning curve. Ultimately, you are looking for someone who is actively engaged in a specific area and price range. Do they have a solid market presence? Find out how long an agent has been selling real estate. You can do this simply by asking them, or from the state licensing authority. On average, if they haven’t been in business for five years they are still learning.

5.) Select an Agent with the Right Credentials

Just as doctors specialize in certain fields, so do real estate agents. The letters you see that follow their names mean they have taken additional classes in a certain specialty of real estate. For example: CRS means Certified Residential Specialist, ABR is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, CNE is a Certified Negotiation Expert, and ALC is an Accredited Land Consultant, just to name a few. You want to be sure to hire an agent who can most effectively meet your needs and interests.

6.) Set Expectations

Make sure that you and your agent are on the same page from the get go. If you are selling a house, ask your agent to put together a market plan detailing the steps they will take to sell your home. If you are purchasing a house, ask how often your agent will provide you with listings and how many homes you can expect to see in a week. Discuss how they will keep you informed. Do you prefer email to a phone call? How quickly can you expect a response? Communication is key.