By: Lynne Riggs Anderson REALTOR/Accredited Buyers Representative
Whether it’s love at first sight or you’ve been considering buying a Hilton Head home for years, making the decision to buy is a big one.Purchasing property is the largest investment most Americans will make over their lifetimes. Choosing the right real estate agent or REALTOR to work with toguide you through that process is paramount to a positive, pleasant, efficient and financially productive experience. There’s a lot of agentson the island (nearly 1,400, according to the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors) and matching your wants and needs with an agent who can provide you the personality, drive and energy you are looking for can make a huge difference. Consider these questions to ask and points to consider when choosing yours.
1. Choose a REALTOR instead of a real estate agent. REALTORS® aren’t just agents. They’re professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics and adhere to significant training and continuing education requirements.
2. Interview your agent. While online resources such as Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com have made searching property listings easy, its also led to a decline in buyers having one-on-one interviews an agent. Meet in person if possible (or via video), and ask questions about experience, the company they work with, requirements for being hired at their firm, their market experience and their designations or certifications.
3. Hire an agent, not a best friend. People like to do business with people they like, however, it’s important to find a Realtor who best supports your end goal of buying or selling a home. A first-time homebuyer’s needs are different than an experienced seller’s requirements. While its true many clients and agents become lasting friends - which is always nice - you’re hiring them to do a job. Consider years of experience, credentials and areas of expertise.
4. Look for a local. Agents who have lived and worked on the island for several years should have deep market intel. These agents can access and share market data, and interpret that data with an insider’s eye. Additionally, they will be able to provide references for other needed services including closing attorneys, mortgage lenders, insurance providers and inspectors. And don't be afraid to ask for references. Find out how long they’vepracticed real estate and what their area of concentration is, either geographically (it’s a big island) or in property type. If you’re searching for oceanfront villas, make sure they’ve sold several, and request references accordingly.
5. Look for loyalty and listening skills. Realtors are professionals who make their living representing buyers and sellers and their best interests. With a great realtor, a client’s best interests always trump a realtors commission. Often that involves sacrifice on a Realtors part.
6. Go with your gut. Most people can tell if they are going to like and trust someone or not within the first few minutes of meeting them. If they seem like a slick salesman, they probably are.
For more information on island real estate or fora free home evaluation, contact Lynne @ 843.384.5426 or via email @Lynneriggsanderson@gmail.com