How to Choose a Real Estate Agent
If you need a real estate agent, of course, you want the best. But with tons out there you can pick from, how can you tell who’s right for you?
Whether you intend to buy or sell a property, below are tips that will come useful:
1. Ask for client references.
Ask your potential agent for a list of their listed and sold properties within the last 12 months, with contact information. If you’re a seller, ask them if the properties they’ve sold are similar to yours in terms of key features like price and location. You want someone who actually specializes in what you’re selling.
2. Ask for a license.
Real estate agents are required to secure a license from state boards. Stick to an agent who has one. To verify your prospective agent’s license, contact your state board.
3. Pick an agent who has the right credentials.
Just like doctors and lawyers, real estate agents have specialties as well. Some common designations are Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). If an agent calls himself a Realtor with a capital “R,” that means he is a National Association of Realtors (NAR) member. A Realtor is someone who has formally pledged to abide by the organization’s strict code of ethics.
4. Pick an experienced agent.
Research how long your potential agent has been in this line of business. You can ask the agent directly or check with your state licensing authority. You’d like to stick to prospects who have spent at least five years in the business. You don’t want to be the guinea pig in their experiment.
5. Scan current listings.
Take time out to scan an agent’s online listings. Check out their website or search realtor sites’ online databases of properties that are currently listed in the MLS. Nowadays, people start their search on the Internet, and you’ll want an agent who can manipulate this tool for your maximum benefits. You should tap that enormous market out there, or you may end up missing so many opportunities.
6. Inquire about other for-sale properties nearby.
A good agent is knowledgeable about the different properties in your target location. Mention a house that has been recently sold or is still for sale. If the agent is able to provide a few details, that indicates that he’s quite familiar with the place.
Prior to deciding which agent to choose, you should have considered two or three prospects and compared them. After all, you can’t say that someone is the best for you without any point of reference.