Top Tips on How to Hire a Realtor for Buying a Home Abroad

Thanks to property prices falling 40-50% in certain European markets due to the financial crisis and the strength of the US dollar creating favorable exchange rates, now is the perfect time to buy a home overseas.

Choosing to buy a home overseas isn’t exactly easy. It’s not like you can drive around a neighborhood after work looking for homes for sale.

Instead, the smart choice is to hire a realtor. Of course, hiring one who is familiar with an overseas market is more difficult than finding one locally.

Which is why we’re sharing with you our favorite tips on how to hire a realtor. Keep reading to learn what steps to take.

How to Hire a Realtor

The markets most commonly pursued by American buyers are Spain, France, Germany, and Canada.

If you’re not sure exactly where you want to live then your goal is to find a realtor who is savvy enough to know the hottest places in the world. That includes cities as well as countries.

Many people who buy in the global market tend to do some comparison shopping before they make a decision.

However, if you already know what area and/or country you want to live in, you might prefer an agent who specializes in that one particular area.

Where To Begin

Either way, there are several ways to find a realtor. You can start by asking friends and family if they know of any realtors who work overseas.

If you know of anyone who has already gone ahead and purchased a home overseas, contact them and ask them for a recommendation.

If you’re on social media, create a post and ask for recommendations. You can also do a search via social media for international real estate agents.

An online search is also a great way to find a realtor.

Sites like this company can help you find the perfect home in Spain. You’ll find similar sites for other locations worldwide.

Chat With Expats

If you’re wondering what to look for in a realtor, ask those who have gone before you. Ask an expat.

They can help you find a real estate agent who can help you out. Check out their online forums to learn about the reputations of real estate agents.

You’ll also learn a lot about common problems people face when buying abroad and how to handle them.

You might even make a few friends while you’re at it.

Another great resource is the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO). It has a wealth of information and once you’ve settled, you’re eligible for membership.

Do Some Homework

Every country has its own way of doing things. Even when it comes to buying a home.

In Ireland, only the seller has a real estate agent. The buyer must handle all negotiations by themselves.

Make sure you do some research on what it takes to buy a home in the country you choose. That way, you can prepare ahead of time.

Also, make sure that the real estate agent is fluent in your language. Buying a home is a huge transaction.

This isn’t the time or place to have important details get lost in translation. Make sure that they have both a grasp of both written and oral language skills in your native tongue.

Talk To Their Clients

Once you have a few real estate agents to choose from, you can take your next steps.

When you want to learn how to choose a real estate agent for buying a home, then talking to a few former and present clients can make a huge difference.

While the real estate agent is obviously going to provide you with names of people who were extremely happy with their service, you can still gain a lot by questioning them.

Ask the clients what they liked best about working with the real estate agent. Ask what they think is important to look for in a realtor.

And don’t forget to ask what they liked least about working with the realtor. Most people try to keep a positive spin on things, but you’ll learn a lot by asking.

Check Their License

Rarely do people ask why you would use a real estate agent when looking for a home overseas. This type of homeownership isn’t as DIY-friendly as buying a home in the US is.

You’ll need someone to help you navigate the ins and outs of real estate law in a foreign country. For that, you need a licensed agent.

Make sure the real estate agent you’re working with is fully licensed.

Then do some searching to see if you can find out if any they have had any disciplinary problems in the past.

Check to see what memberships they have. The National Association of Realtors has a global division where real estate agents connect with one another and share a code of ethics.

Learn About Their Work Experience

Ask the real estate agent to share with you some information about their past experience.

You’ll want to know how many people they have worked with in the past.

If the agent hasn’t been in business for longer than five years, consider finding one who has more experience. Otherwise, you might find an agent who is learning on the job.

Asking about their experience helps you learn whether or not the agent is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. An agent who can demonstrate knowledge of the area you’re looking in and knows of homes in your price range will save you time, money, and frustration.

Check Out Their Current Listings

Since most buyers start their home buying search online, look for an agent who uses that tool effectively.

Check out their listings online. That includes their website and other searchable property databases in the multiple listing services.

Take a look at how closely the agent listings mirror the properties you’re looking into. Check to see if they’re in the same area.

Make sure that the price range is similar. Look to see if the agent has enough listings in their name to indicate they are running a healthy real estate business.

However, you also don’t want to end up working with an agent who is so busy that they have no time to return your calls.

Ask About Their Communication Style

Good, clear communication is vitally important when you’re making such a large purchase as a home. You want to try to avoid making any room for errors.

Make sure you can communicate effectively with your real estate agent before you agree to hire them.

Find someone who prefers to communicate with the same method as you do. If you prefer texting while your agent loves a long phone conversation, you’re not a good match.

Look to see how long it usually takes them to return your attempts to communicate with them.

Make sure that they don’t become impatient with you if you have a lot of questions to ask. You should feel very comfortable communicating questions and concerns with your agent.

If you’re finding it difficult to communicate with them, whether it’s because there is a language barrier, they take too long to return messages, or they get annoyed when you reach out to them, find someone else.

Check To Make Sure They Have A Great Network

If you’re an international traveler who does a lot of networking, you might already know how to assemble a team of professionals to help you buy a new home.

Odds are though, you don’t. Which means you’re going to need to rely on your real estate agent to help you find those professionals.

When buying a home, you might find you require the services of inspectors, repair people, attorneys, bankers, and even a high-net-worth adviser.

These professionals can help you handle all aspects of the transaction. It’s much easier for you if your agent can refer these types of service people to you.

Especially a real estate attorney. While they aren’t always required, a real estate attorney will represent your interests and help you avoid any potential legal problems.

Make Sure They Are A Master At Negotiation

One of the most important parts of buying a home is negotiating the price. Not everyone has the skills to negotiate well.

When you want to know what to look for in a realtor, negotiation skills need to be at the top of the list.

If you end up with an agent who is a poor negotiator or worse, doesn’t keep up with the details of the transaction, you end up losing.

While finding you a great home is helpful, if your agent can’t close the deal, it’s been a waste of time and effort.

This includes making sure that you either have financing to make a home purchase or that you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage.

They should investigate to make sure the home you want is free of liens before it goes on the market.

And they should ensure the appraisal is accurate and that any issues raised by the home inspection are fully resolved by the time you go to purchase the home.

Learn From The Best

When you’re looking to learn how to hire a realtor or are actually looking for one, we can help.

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