How to Choose a Realtor
Purchasing a new home requires a lot of prep work, from saving enough money to make a downpayment to improving your credit score. Of course, you need a pro as well – someone who can guide you in the entire process. That’s where the help of an expert can be invaluable.
Here are tips that can lead you to a real estate professional you can trust:
Agent, broker, Realtor(R) – are they the same? Not necessarily! A real estate agent can be enough who is licensed to sell 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. If either an agent or a broker is a member of the National Association of Realtors(R), then he can be called a Realtor(R). To become a NAR member, there are stringent requirements involved; and should there be a violation of the organization’s strict code of ethics, membership can be terminated.
A simple Internet search can be very helpful. Find realtors working in your area and review their backgrounds. Look into the essentials, like how long they’ve been in the business, the price range of the homes they usually deal with, and how many homes they’ve sold so far in their career.
Before choosing an agent, don’t hesitate to ask questions so you can better decide if they are indeed the best for you. Here are some of the most important ones:
How long have you been working in the area?
It’s wise to hire somebody who is experienced, but don’t automatically remove a newly licensed agent from 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. When making a choice, make it a point to balance general and local experience.
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 choose a team or an independent agent, availability will always be a major point. 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 hard to work with an agent who makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. No matter how excited you are about buying a new home, you need not subject yourself to this type of stress.