Shantele Marcum lists 7 tips for choosing the right real estate agent

Buying or selling a home is a huge financial commitment. But hiring the right real estate agent makes the decision much easier.

It’s more than just showings, listings, and negotiating. Professional agents ensure you make smart decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

And Shantele Marcum is ready to get to work. She recently joined RE/MAX Platinum Realty as a Realtor. The Sarasota-based agent also has years of experience working in the sales, marketing, hospitality, retail, and fitness industries. To better serve her clients, she draws on this wide array of experiences and extensive local knowledge.

But not everyone is looking for a home in the Sarasota area. No matter where you live, finding the right Realtor or real estate agent is a key first step. With this in mind, Shantele Marcum helps by sharing seven tips everyone should consider when hiring a prospective agent.

Start with a lender

Budget trumps all. Don’t dive into a home search before knowing what you can afford. Talk to a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This should influence every decision.  In identifying how much you can borrow, it helps you set a price range. This is important for your real estate agent, so they can best meet your needs. It also signifies to others that you’re a serious buyer.

List priorities

What characteristics matter most? After all, an agent will be working for you. Make a list of the qualities you prefer from a potential agent. Like with Shantele Marcum, knowing the area is always a plus. A strong virtual presence provides a strong first impression and portrays credibility.

Seek out referrals

It never hurts to ask around. Any homeowner likely knows at least one real estate agent. Take recommendations from neighbors, friends, and family. While this first-hand experience is helpful, don’t rely on it too heavily. Every buyer has different needs. Your desires should carry more weight.

Research candidates

Do your own research. Examine their online profiles, combing through social media and online reviews. Although multiple negative comments could be a red flag, don’t let a few scare you off. Check their credentials too. Realtors, like Shantele Marcum, belong to the National Association of Realtors and are held to stricter ethical standards.

Meet in person

Once you’ve narrowed down your shortlist, conduct interviews with a handful of your favorites. Meeting in person is a great opportunity to ask questions and check for a connection. Look to see if they understand your needs and are capable of delivering. Discuss preferred methods and frequency of communication.

Request references

Now is also a perfect time to ask for references too. Shantele Marcum encourages you to request the past year’s listings and what these properties sold for. Speaking with former clients is a good idea to see if they are willing to hire the agent again in the future.

Review contract

Don’t sign on the dotted line without first reviewing the agreement. The contract should clearly define terms and commissions. Don’t be afraid to negotiate these items. Contract length is equally imperative but often overlooked. Shorter terms are best. This allows you to switch agents in the future if you are unhappy.