Brought to you by The Art of Real Estate
Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and you want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choices. The first step you may take is finding a real estate agent with the experience and knowledge you need to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
You want an agent with a personality that suits you and you want someone who’s proactive and able to anticipate anything that may happen along the way.
So how do you find the best agent for your situation? Here are some ideas to keep in mind.
Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor
A real estate agent may or may not be a realtor, but every realtor is required to be a licensed real estate agent.
To become a realtor, an agent has to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This allows him or her to attend industry meetings, get NAR newsletters, and access software and educational tools. To join, they have to have extra training and pledge to adhere to the NAR’s strict code of ethics.
These professionals have been trained well, which means they’ll provide you with the best service.
Where to Start Looking
On Facebook! Just kidding, sort of. Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a qualified real estate agent or realtor. Ask people in your social network for referrals.
Keep in mind that some agents are good at helping clients purchase homes, but not as skilled at selling them. When you’re asking for referrals, get the details. Ask your friends and neighbors what they did (and didn’t like) about the agent they worked with.
Personal chemistry matters, though, so you might also contact local brokers or search the NAR directory online and start interviewing people. Always work with credible, responsible agents. Otherwise you are wasting your time.
At the initial consultation with a prospective real estate professional, pay attention to how you feel.
Does the agent seem genuinely concerned about your needs? Or are they focused on their commission? Do they know the current housing market? Can they negotiate a contract?
Though you probably hope to find a house or sell yours quickly, you may be spending a lot of time with them, so make sure you feel comfortable with the agent. You need to trust that your agent can behave ethically and help you secure a good deal.
Communication and Planning
Your agent should be an effective communicator. If you are selling your home, your agent should develop an effective marketing plan, explain it to you, and respond to any questions or concerns you have.
The marketing plan will probably involve placing advertisements and conducting open houses to invite the public for home viewings. Speaking of those open houses, ask if your agent will be hosting one for other agents to preview your home, which can be a great way to get people interested.
If you are buying a home, the agent should listen to your guidelines and price ranges.
Above all, your real estate agent needs to provide updates on progress. Run away and don’t look back if they don’t return phone calls or emails in a reasonable amount of time.
To get a better idea about the process of buying and selling a home, conduct some research on your own. Real estate magazines and websites contain good information and can be a great place to start.
There are a lot of good resources on the Internet, such as www.Realtor.com, which is associated with NAR and which contains free, useful information. Keep in mind that not everything you read will apply to your area or situation. That’s where your agent comes in, with specialized knowledge that applies to you.
When it’s all over? If you’re happy, let other people know. Real estate agents depend on referrals and the best thing you can do for them is send them more clients. And keep your agent in your contacts — you may need them again some day.