Tips for Choosing a Real Estate Agent

723_13Top Tips for choosing the perfect real estate agent

There are things you can do to pull back the curtain and accurately assess a real estate agent’s past performance and potential success with your home, even though when it comes to choosing real estate agents. So whether you’re the buyer or the seller, here are seven ways you can find out more about your agent before you hire.

1. Ask these four important questions
See if the agent will provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, then ask them the following questions. If the agent will give you the sellers’ contact information, call them and ask them these questions too, along with asking them if any issues arose, what they were, and how the agent handled them.

* what were the asking prices?
* what were they sold for?
* how long were the homes were on the market?

2. Licensing
Check with the state, and make sure the realtor is licensed and if there have been any complaints filed against them. Sometimes, you can find this information online. It is always a good idea to check for reviews, when available. If they are a good realtor, and active in the business, it should be easy to find reviews on them.

3. Peer given awards
These really do count, because what it means is that their peers have endorsed them. This means multiple people have voted them a great realtor.

4. Credentials
Just as doctors specialize, so do real estate agents. Here’s what some of the designations mean:

• CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
• ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in a transaction.
• SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Aimed around helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.

5. How long have they been in business?
If they’ve only been in business for a few short years, they’re still learning. If you don’t need your house sold too quickly, you may be happy to help them learn. However, if you’re serious about selling your home fast and for top dollar, you might want to go with someone more experienced.

6. Check out their active and past listings
Check out an agent’s listings online. Most buyers start their search on the Internet, and you want an agent who uses that tool effectively. If you see that their listings have few or poor photos, little to no descriptions, and inaccurate information, find a different realtor. They should also have enough listings to indicate a healthy business.

7. Ask about the area
A good agent should know about other area properties that are available. If the agent knows the property and can give you a few details, that means he or she really knows your area. You should chose a realtor who is knowledgeable in the market and on top of their game.

Verify Your Real Estate Agent’s Credentials

Find a Realtor in Your Area

8 Signs You Have a Bad Real Estate Agent

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One Comment

  • To add to the article, here is some further information on how to find a good agent by recognizing the red flags before it’s too late:

    1. The agent suggests the highest price for your house: If the agent promises to sell the house at an inflated price, or above market value, this can be a problem. Houses priced too high tend to sit on the market and then, inevitably, the agent will recommend dropping the price.

    2. The agent is a relative: Buying and selling a house can be very emotional, and it’s often better to hire a professional—with no emotional ties—to list the house. Even if your relative is recognized as one of the best agents, giving discounts and having the family connection can often cause resentment for both parties.

    3. The agent isn’t familiar with your neighborhood marketplace. Knowing the price per square foot for your area is particularly important if you are buying a new home and prices of homes vary within a few blocks. There are home selling and buying characteristics unique to every area. Choosing an agent who both works in your neighborhood and has worked with buyers with your same price range is important.

    3. The agent has no positive online reviews: These days real estate is online. An expert real estate agent will know this and will have online profiles, followers and reviews. You can tell a lot about an agent from reading their Zillow recommendations, reviewing their company websites, or even following their blogs or social channels.

    4. The agent does real estate on the side: A real estate agent needs to have his or head in the game every day to truly be informed of the marketplace. A part time agent who works ‘on the side’ is probably not the agent who can immediately act on new listings or show your home to prospective buyers. For one of your biggest life purchases you want to hire an adept agent who lives and breathes real estate.

    5. The agent isn’t detail oriented or comfortable with negotiations: Once you’ve put an offer on a house, you don’t want the rest of the deal to fall apart. It is the real estate agent’s job to make sure the buyers are preapproved for a mortgage, the appraisal is accurate and an home inspection issues are addressed and resolved.

    Real estate agents need to feel comfortable negotiating, and need to be educated about every detail of the home purchase. You want to make sure you hire someone who is your advocate and is comfortable addressing issues.

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