What should I look for in a real estate agent?
The right real estate agent for you will be someone who has a number of things, including proper licensing, happy clients, experience, and knowledge of the area you’re looking at living in.
Start your search by making sure that any real estate agent you speak to is licensed; the ones that don’t have proper licensing aren’t worth your time. You can check the status of any agent’s licensing status by asking your state’s licensing board to give you the details of the agent’s license. These regulatory bodies will also often have information regarding any complaints or issues that have arisen with an agent in the past, which is another reason why this is a great place to start your search.
While checking with the licensing body, you can also inquire about how long the agent has been in business. While an agent that’s new to the field isn’t necessarily bad, it’s important to know that if the agent hasn’t been in the business for at least five years, they’re still learning, and they’re leaning with your situation, your money, and your time. Agents who have more experience under their belt are going to be more aware of the things that you need to watch for, how to negotiate for the best price, and how to close the deal quickly.
Along with licensing, credentials are another good indication that any agent you’re dealing with is a good one. A real estate agent that’s also a CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) has completed extensive training that makes them a specialist in the residential real estate. An ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) is specialized to represent and help buyers in any real estate transaction, which can make these most helpful for those in the home-buying process. An SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) is someone that is also specialized in helping buyers and sellers in their real estate transactions, but with a focus on clients in the 50+ age range. If honesty and integrity are the traits most important to you in a real estate agent, it’s important that you choose a Realtor, who has officially pledged to abide by a certain code of ethics.
Don’t hesitate to ask the agent for a list of properties they’ve helped purchased in the last year, along with the contact information for the buyers. Make sure you ask the agent directly if any of the clients will be particularly pleased or disappointed with the agent. This will give you an idea as to whether or not the agent works to save you money by negotiating on the asking price.
Also, make sure you check out the real estate agent’s website and online presence. Visit websites such as Realtor.com and see how many listings the agent has for sale. How similar are they to the property you’re looking to purchase? The answer to this question will tell you how familiar the agent is with what you’re looking for in your home. What is the price range of the listings of the homes for that agent? This will tell you how experienced they are working with people within your budget. Also, what is their web presence like? Is their website easy to navigate, and were they easy to find using a simple search engine? All of these things will tell you how comfortable the agent is working with and utilizing the Internet, and that will prove to be very important during the home-buying process.
Lastly, once the real estate agent has found you a suitable home to look at, ask them what other houses are for sale in the area. This will give you a chance to see how well the agent knows the area off the top of their head; they should know the area extremely well.