How to Look for a Good Real Estate Agent

You may be planning to sell your home or buy a new home. Either way, you’re probably looking for a great real estate agent.

Realtor, Real Estate Agent – is there a difference?

There are RealtorsĀ® and there are real estate agents. These are not synonymous terms. A real estate agent is licensed to “represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for commission.”Real estate agents typically work for a real estate broker or Realtor.

A Realtor also is licensed and may sell real estate as either an agent or a broker. There are completely ethical real estate agents and RealtorĀ®. The primary difference is that a Realtor has made an additional commitment to honor the 17-article code and profession of the real estate business.

The search and some questions

Looking for a great real estate agent means that you will be asking questions, so let’s start building your list of questions:

Referrals: ask your friends, colleagues, and relatives for referrals. Most people who have had a positive experience working with an agent will gladly describe their experience and why they feel their agent was exceptional.

Referrals from professionals: it is certainly appropriate to ask real estate agents for referrals. Financial institution representatives, especially mortgage brokers, are likely to be aware of exceptional agents.

Open houses: going to open houses is a great, non-threatening way to meet estate agents. Pay attention to the agent’s manners and appearance, his/her professionalism, and the quality of promotional material provided at the open house. Does the agent seem knowledgeable about the property and the local market? Is the agent ready to point out the home’s features, or does he basically ignore visitors?
When you have a generally favorable impression of an agent, be sure to collect a business card and make notes of your observations.

References: plan to interview several agents before making a decision and signing a buyer’s agreement. During the interview, ask each candidate to provide referrals of recent clients and call those referrals.
Among the questions to ask are what were the asking and selling prices of their properties, and how long the home was on the market?

Take time to look up the estate board of licensing services to confirm that the candidate is currently licensed and whether any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against the agent.

Experience: how long has the agent been in business? You should be looking for the agent who thoroughly knows the local market in which you are selling or planning to buy your home. It takes time to build expertise and market knowledge. One agent recommends that any viable candidate should have at least five years’ experience.
Is the agent full- or part-time? You should expect, and ask for, a full time agent.

Next steps

When evaluating the qualifications of estate agents, look at their websites and current listings. Your future agent should be web and technology savvy, using all current media to help you find your perfect home or sell your current one. The agent should also be able to communicate reliably and regularly using the form(s) of contact you prefer – fax, phone, text, or e-mail.

Ideally, your prospective agent is busy but not too busy to effectively represent you. If you feel that the candidate is not committed to giving your sale or purchase full and enthusiastic service, or is prepared to hand you over to an “assistant”, move on.

Your agent should be realistic about pricing, marketing, and representing you as the seller or buyer.”If it sounds too good to be true… ” can apply to estate agents and services, too. Trust your powers of observation and intuition. When you combine them with the information you have gathered from your interviews, you will be ready to make a well-informed decision.

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