How to Choose a Realtor
A new home purchase demands some prep work, from straightening up your credit records to saving sufficient cash for the down payment. Of course, not to mention you have to find a pro who can be your reliable ally. That’s where the help of an expert can be invaluable.
Below are pointers to help you find the right real estate professional:
Are “agent, broker and Realtor(R)” all the same? Not always! A real estate agent is anybody with a license for selling property. Generally, these agents had to finish at least 100 hours of course work and pass a state exam to obtain their license. A broker is an agent who has taken additional coursework, opened a brokerage firm and hired agents to work under him. Any agent or broker who is a National Association of Realtors(R) member can be referred to as a Realtor(R). There are stringent requirements for admission as a NAR member, and all members are committed to a strict code of ethics which, if violated, can mean termination of membership.
Doing a simple online search can help you a lot. Look for realtors in your area and explore their profiles. You’d like to focus on how long they’ve been in the industry, how many homes they’ve sold and what property price range they usually work in.
Before picking an agent, take time to ask questions so you can better assess the candidate’s suitability. Here are some of the most important ones:
How long have you been a real estate agent in the area?
It’s good to hire an experienced agent, but a newly licensed one should not be automatically stricken off your list. If this novice has been a resident of the area since birth, he likely has more knowledge about it than the old-timer who just moved to the place. What you want is a balance between general and local experience when selecting an agent.
Do you work independently or as part of a group?
many independent agents are excellent, but a team’s value cannot be ignored either. Two of the main advantages of working with a team are greater availability and quicker response times.
What’s your schedule?
Whether you’re working with an independent agent or a team, availability is always a main concern. If you have a full-time agent, this is usually not a problem. Otherwise, you need to be sure that your schedules match, or you could miss out on many good properties.
At the end of the day, you want someone you are happy to work with. It’s a challenge to work with an agent who seems to make things uncomfortable for you. Even if you’re in a rush to purchase a house, there’s no need to stress yourself out in the process.