What to Look for in a Realtor
The right agent can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home quickly. This is a longtime, intimate, trusting relationship and if it doesn’t start out feeling good at the beginning then it’s probably not going to get any better.
There are some things you can do to carefully and accurately assess a real estate agent’s potential success with your home, and their past performances, when it comes to choosing a Realtor. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, here are some ways you can find out more about your agent before you hire one:
Ask About Other Houses for Sale Nearby
A solid agent should be aware of other properties in the area that are available off the top of their head. Mention a house in your area that has sold recently or is for sale, if the agent knows that property and can give you a few details that means he or she really knows your area, and you want someone like that who will be on top of your target market.
Check Their Current Listings
Check an agent’s listings online, two places to check are the agent’s own website and also Realtor.com, a website which lists properties in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) into a searchable online database. Most buyers start their search on the Internet these days and you want an agent who uses the Internet as a tool effectively. It is important that they have a website and an attractive presence on the Web, and know how to market themselves. You can also look at how closely the agent’s listings mirror the property you want to buy or sell. Is the price range similar? Are they in the same area? And does the agent have enough listings to indicate a wholesome business but not so many that you would be just another number?
Look Up Their Licensing
States should have boards that license and reprimand real estate agents in those states. Check with your state’s regulatory organization to find out if the Realtor you are interested in is indeed licensed, and if there may have been any punitive charges or complaints against them. You can also check online to see if that information is posted.
Get Recommendations from Friends and Relatives
You can start by asking your friends and your relatives if they have any suggestions or any personal experiences with a good Real Estate Agent. This is where most people start to find a good Realtor.
Interview a Few Different Realtors
Interview three or four agents to find the one who is the best fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how many listings the agent has? How many homes he or she has sold in your area? How often he or she will be available to communicate with you? and in what format and who they will represent in the transaction?
Here are some potential red flags to watch for when choosing a Realtor:
Make Sure the Agent Doesn’t Only do Real Estate Part Time, “On the Side”
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you want to choose an agent who is vigorously following the market every day. If you are buying, you want an agent who can be on top of new listings and show them to you immediately. If you are the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.
The Agent Shouldn’t Charge a Lower Than Average Commission
Commissions are traditionally 5 to 7 percent, split between the buying and selling agent. Fewer agents will show your home if you mark the commission lower, and Realtors who are charging a lower commission are usually cutting corners. The old saying comes in to play, “you get what you pay for”. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a slightly lower commission if one agent ends up both listing and selling your home.
Be Sure the Agent is a Good Negotiator
And make sure he or she does not fail to keep up with the details of the transaction. In some cases, the most important work of an agent is not to just find the home but to make sure the sale closes smoothly. Which includes making sure the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage, the home is free of liens before it goes on the market, the appraisal is accurate, and issues raised by the home inspection are resolved.
Final Thought: look for an agent with passion, enthusiasm and dedication. This is the agent who goes the extra mile to get the best results for you. Look for an agent who is market savvy and knows the given neighborhood that you are interested in. Do not be hesitant to interview a few agents and ask questions. And make sure to get a licensed agent who is working full time. A full service Realtor means an agent who is working for you whenever you are in need, and is best prepared to resolve the problems that come up during negotiations and inspections as well as those that occur after the purchase. This is a lasting and trusting relationship between people, Realtor and client, this person is going to help you find your own piece of land on this Earth to own, choose someone you genuinely like as well.