Buying a home can be difficult enough when it’s in a city you’ve lived in for years. But moving to a new city, and buying a home? That can add in a whole new level of challenges.
Perhaps the first question to answer if you’re buying a home in a city you’ve never lived in is, how do you find a great real estate agent? Without recommendations from friends or family, it can be hard to know where to start.
So, with that in mind, here are some tips for finding a trustworthy Realtor.
Step 1: Follow the data
Let’s face it: hiring the first agent who pops up on your Google search results isn’t necessarily going to be a great decision.
Agents can buy ads, after all, that make them easier to find on Google and other real estate sites. But that doesn’t mean they have a solid track record.
Instead, the best way to get started is to look at the data. By using a tool like HomeLight’s Find an Agent to identify top-performing real estate agents in your area, you can see the most important stats like:
- The agent’s average time to sell a house (days on market), compared to local trends
- How many homes the agent has sold in the past year
- How much above or below the list price the agent typically sells homes for
This alone can give you a solid starting point for which agents to interview.
Step 2: Interview at least three agents before committing.
You may hit it off with the first agent you speak to, but you still should interview at least three agents before deciding whom to work with.
Just like getting quotes on a home improvement project, you want to be able to see what’s available. Maybe you’ll like the second agent even more than the first, or maybe he or she knows the particular neighborhood you’re interested in better.
When you do talk to each agent, make sure to ask them about things like:
- What their priorities are for buyers—speed of process, finding the perfect long-term home, helping new transplants put down roots?
- Which areas of town they’re most familiar with
- What resources they can offer you to help you in your home search
If you’re also selling a home, it will be helpful to hire a seller’s agent as well
Selling a home in order to buy a home can introduce a bit of tricky timing into the buying process, as most families need to sell their current home before they can move forward with buying their new one.
This is why it’s a good idea to hire a seller’s agent in your current city as well as work with a buyer’s agent in the town you’re moving to.
You may be tempted to go the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) route in order to save on the agent’s commission—however, considering how an agent’s commission works and that the average home sold by an agent sells for $60,000 more than the average home sold by owner, selling the home yourself will more likely result in lost money than any cost savings.
If you need help figuring out how much your home will be worth before you start looking in your new city, tools like this home value estimator can help.
Moving to a new city is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life. Get it started off right by finding a great home, with the help of a top-selling agent.