A young couple being shown a home by a Realtor

When Choosing an Austin TX Real Estate Agent, Forget About Good Enough. Go for Great!

Like choosing the right attorney or accountant, hiring the right Austin TX real estate agent can make all the difference in an important transaction, especially one like selling or buying a home, which has a large financial impact.

The good news is that there are signs that can indicate whether you’ve made the right choice in your Austin Realtor®. An experienced Austin TX real estate agent will focus on your needs, explain the selling and buying processes, lay the groundwork for a much smoother transaction, along with many other things. Even if this isn’t your first time selling or buying a home, there are always nuances in the transaction.

So how do you ensure that the process with your Austin TX real estate agent is as smooth as possible? Here are some helpful tips:

Did Your Austin TX Real Estate Agent Pass the Interview Process?

Interestingly enough, this stage isn’t one that homeowners or buyers always engage in, but it’s an important step in discovering whether a potential agent is the right one for you. Think about it this way: in business, you would still find it prudent to interview a potential employee, even if your best friend recommended them. You’d want to know that their credentials checked out, and that their personality and experience were in line with your needs. A real estate agent is no different.

Checking an Austin TX real estate agent’s credentials is done simply by accessing the Texas Real Estate Commission site and searching for their name. A true Austin TX real estate agent has earned a real estate license.

There are also 2 other levels of real estate agents in Austin.

The first is a real estate broker. Real estate brokers must be real estate agents for at least four years and pass a broker’s license exam. After they get their broker’s license, they can open up their own office and hire other real estate agents to work for them.

The second is a REALTOR®. An Austin TX real estate agent or broker, who is also a Texas Realtor®, has agreed to abide by a code of ethics set by the Texas Association of Realtors. This code of ethics goes beyond what the law requires of a regular Austin TX real estate agent. This article goes into more detail about the differences between a Realtor® and a real estate agent.

It is also appropriate to ask a potential agent for references, i.e. other clients who can provide feedback on their services. When you talk with these clients, be sure to ask if they have any hesitation in recommending the agent to someone else, and why or why not. Ask whether the agent met their expectations for good communication, expertise on the real estate market, carrying out an effective marketing or search plan, and how they felt about their overall negotiation skills.

Does Your Agent Come Across as a Professional?

A real estate transaction is a financial transaction. When choosing an Austin TX real estate agent, it’s important to remember that even though this is your home, it’s also a business transaction. Your Austin TX real estate agent should look and feel like a professional, and have the knowledge and experience to represent you and your home in the best possible light.

Seek an Austin TX real estate agent who works full-time as an agent. Full-time real estate agents are likely more informed about the market and other elements that will help you in your home sale or buying process. Additionally, they don’t have as many obstacles in their way of marketing, showing, taking classes, etc. as part-time agents have. Your Austin TX real estate agent should also have an online presence and professional photos of their listings.

Doing a little research ahead of time on homes, the Austin real estate market, and Austin home sale prices will allow you to ask more pointed questions, when meeting with potential Austin TX real estate agents. And you’ll be able to better assess the knowledge base of each agent.

When selling a property, your Austin TX real estate agent should do a market analysis and present you with a solid and enticing strategy for marketing and selling your home. Here’s a guide to help you understand the basics of a home sale marketing strategy.

If you’re a home buyer in Austin, your Austin TX real estate agent should be savvy enough to provide financial guidance and recommend professionals that can provide further assistance if need be. They should also be able to guide you through the process, and communicate with you ahead of time about the various stages of the home buying process, so that everything moves along as efficiently as possible.

If you’re a first time Austin home buyer, you may want to check out this handy flow chart on the process of buying a home in Austin, so that you have some basic ideas of what to expect.

Your Austin TX real estate agent should be a creative problem solver. They should explain what will enhance the appeal of your property, and specify the items that may delay the sale. Or if you’re purchasing a property, address the challenges of finding house you want at the price you desire. They should also have a plan for how you can reach these goals.

When working with a Realtor®, you should always feel that all major decisions are in your hands and that your Austin TX real estate agent is firmly grounded in the role of a trusted advisor. For example, a great agent will suggest a neighborhood that you haven’t considered if it meets most of your criteria, but they would never insist upon where you should live.

You’ll know you’re on the right track with your Austin TX real estate agent if they can provide statistics and data to back up their claims and recommendations. A professional real estate agent takes the process seriously. They know that you are the one with the most at stake in the transaction, and that you are the all-important client. They know that how they conduct business with you and others exemplifies that important distinction.

Does Your Potential Austin TX Real Estate Agent Feel Like Someone You Can Trust?

There is something that we use to assess whether any relationship is right, and that’s our gut, the intangible quality of how it feels. If you click with your Austin TX real estate agent, and you feel that you can trust them, the process will be much more comfortable and likely result in the best possible outcome.

There is a certain chemistry that is just as important with your real estate agent, as it is with any other relationship.

Remember, your Austin TX real estate agent will have access to quite a bit of personal and financial information about you. It’s important to feel that you’re working with someone, who you are absolutely confident about, and whom you feel is ethical.

When a property sale does not go through as planned, will you trust that this person did the best they could to make it go through? This is a question you could pose to any references that are provided to you.

Here are some other ways your real estate agent should build trust. An agent shows up on time and regularly responds to your requests and calls. They are accepting of you and what you want in the transaction, and you can communicate easily with each other in order to get on the same page, whether that involves a negotiation method or the timing of an open house.

There are few surprises when you’re working with the right agent, because they are guiding you smoothly through the process and all the possible curves in the road. Experienced agents know what to expect during a negotiation and what could be ahead. They know how long the process will typically take, and they have a realistic idea of how close you will get to your financial goal. Your agent should share this knowledge with you.

Communication: The Key to Any Great Relationship

There are tangible qualities of communication, like whether or not your agent tells you that the other party is countering your offer.

Then there are the intangible qualities of communication, like how it feels when your agent is assessing your wants and needs – do you feel heard, or do you feel slighted for your opinions and desires?

One of the most important roles of your Austin TX real estate agent will be to provide you with information. The relationship works best if expectations are explained ahead of time and if you can communicate in a way that fits your life, whether that’s a text, an email or a phone call. And, like all good communication, it should feel open, honest and respectful.

Like a good doctor, your Austin TX real estate agent should provide information on all the possible outcomes and how you both can be prepared to face each scenario. What will you do if the inspection results are not good? How do you know whether to fix repairs or lower the price? How do you negotiate the price based on a home’s comparables?

The style of this communication should be a good fit for you and a style that you are comfortable with, since the agent represents you in transactions, communicating with other agents and with buyers. How they communicate with others affects the deals they are making.

Has Your Austin TX Real Estate Agent Lived in Austin and Worked in Austin?

An Austin TX real estate agent should know the ins and outs of Austin’s particular real estate market, and it makes sense that those who’ve practiced real estate in Austin the longest will likely have the most knowledge on this.

An experienced Austin TX real estate agent also has enough longevity that they aren’t depending on the sale or purchase of your home to make or break their business. An experienced agent also knows how to negotiate. They know what is a reasonable request after the inspection is done, and they have the confidence to stand up for your interests. They also understand that making you a client for life is more important than a quick fix to get them a higher commission. And a great agent will work to build a relationship with you and ensure that your needs are met.

It’s also important to recognize that if you have special needs, your Austin TX real estate agent must be able handle those needs. For instance, if you’re selling an Austin luxury home, you’ll want to ensure you’re working with an Austin luxury Realtor®. Or if the property you’re looking to sell or buy is commercial real estate, you’ll need an Austin TX real estate agent who specializes in Austin commercial real estate sales.

Habitat Hunters, Inc. has a team of excellent Austin TX real estate agents and Realtors® on hand, with a variety of specializations, and we’d love to be a part of your team. Since 1972, we have been in Austin, helping to make your home buying and home sale process as smooth and as successful as it can be. If you’d like to learn more about Habitat Hunters, Inc., and how we can help you, contact our Austin real estate agency today.