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6 Tips for Hiring a San Diego Real Estate Agent

Let's face it. San Diego has one of the priciest real estate markets in the nation. This can make things tough for both buyers and sellers, especially when interest rates are high.

If you're thinking of buying or selling, one of the first steps is securing the right San Diego real estate agent. When the odds are stacked, it's crucial that you have an experienced real estate agent in your corner.

The question is, how do you know which real estate agent is right for you? Whether you're a first-time buyer or you're looking to sell your home after twenty joyous years, the search for an agent can be overwhelming.

Read on for our top six tips for finding the best San Diego real estate agent for you.

1. Assess Your Financials and Motivations

As a buyer, it may be useful to seek mortgage preapproval before you secure an agent. This will give you a more accurate sense of your buying power, which can help you rule out agents that tend to work in a market above or below your target price.

As a seller, start by assessing your motivations. Is your biggest priority a fast sale, the highest possible price, or a smooth and positive selling experience? Knowing your motivations can help you pick an agent whose track record will deliver the results you're looking for.

2. Consider Recommendations and Reviews

When it comes to finding good options in your city, crowdsourcing is a good place to start. If a friend or family member recently bought or sold a San Diego home, ask them if they would recommend their agent. You can also look at online reviews for the agents you're considering.

Word of mouth can tell you a lot about a real estate agency. How previous clients felt about the experience can confirm (or deny) what an agent says about their own work ethic, value system, and success rate.

3. Verify Licensing

Unfortunately, there are some bad actors out there-we've had experience with dishonest real estate agents, ourselves! Because real estate is such a thriving industry to work in, there are people who join in with pure profit interests and very little concern for their client's wants and needs.

Reviews and recommendations can help you weed out some of those bad actors, but it's still worth doing a bit of investigating of your own. Before hiring a real estate agent, verify that they're actively licensed in California.

4. Start the Interview Process

By the time you've completed the first three steps, you've likely narrowed down your choices to two or three different agencies. The next step is to get face-to-face for an interview, where you can learn more about an agent's experience, core values, and overall approach. You can also ask each agent for referrals so that you can talk to previous clients who are willing to tell you more about their experience working with them and why they're willing to vouch for them.

As silly as it might sound, this is an important moment to trust your intuition. When you're in the process of buying or selling a home, you're going to be working with your real estate agent a lot. If you don't feel comfortable with the way they do business, the way they explain complex topics, or simply the way that they talk to you, it's probably not the best fit.

5. Discuss Your Must-Haves

The interview process isn't all about finding out more about an agent's background. It's also a good opportunity for you to shed light on what you're looking for, especially as a buyer. This can include things like:

  • Your price range
  • Your ideal neighborhood(s)
  • Your must-have amenities (e.g., two full bathrooms, three bedrooms, a pool, etc.)
  • Your must-not-have features (e.g., major structural damage, outdated appliances, shared walls with neighbors, etc.)
  • Your ideal timeline

You can also elaborate on your expectations for the real estate process. For example, some clients want to see every new house that hits the market and fits their parameters, while others want their agents to do more vetting before bringing a listing to their attention. No matter what your expectations are, you deserve to work with an agent that can meet those expectations (and even exceed them).

6. Review Your Contract

Now it's time to get into the nitty-gritty: your contract. Most real estate agents will ask buyers to sign a buyer's agent agreement and sellers to sign a listing agreement. These contracts grant an agent exclusivity in your search for the right home or buyer and you should know what you're agreeing to before you sign.

What is the commission rate and are there any other fees? How long does this exclusive working arrangement last? Are there any circumstances that would allow you to break the contract if necessary?

Make sure you're comfortable with the terms and ask the agent to clear up any language you don't understand before signing. The last thing you want is to agree to terms that you aren't comfortable with or didn't know about.

We Know the San Diego Real Estate Agent for You

Navigating the San Diego real estate market is much easier when you're working with the right real estate agent. We hope that these tips will open the door to a partnership with the best San Diego real estate for you!

While you're here, we also hope that you'll consider Steele San Diego Homes in your hunt for the right agent. We don't do things conventionally, but that's because we have seen the traditional approach at its worst. To learn more about how we can help you buy or sell a home, contact us today!

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