How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

If you’re in need of a real estate agent’s services, you’ll certainly want the best no less. But with almost countless options out there, how do you know who’s best for you?

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, these tips should come in handy:

1. Talk to references.

Ask your potential agent for a list of their listed and sold properties within the last 12 months, with contact information. If you plan to sell a property, ask them if they’ve sold similar properties in terms of price, location and other crucial features. Definitely, you need a specialist in what you’re selling.

2. See to it that they are licensed.

There are state boards that issue licenses to real estate agents. Make sure you’re considering someone who has one. Contact your state board to verify.

3. Choose the right agent with the right credentials.

Just like lawyers and doctors, real estate agents have specialties too. Common designations today include Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). Members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are called Realtor with a capital “R.” A Realtor is someone who has formally pledged to abide by the organization’s strict code of ethics.

4. Work with an experienced agent.

Know how long your prospective agent has been in business. You can approach your state licensing authority or just ask the agent directly. You should consider prospects who have been in the industry for a minimum of five years. You don’t want to be the guinea pig in their experiment.

5. Scan current listings.

Take time out to scan an agent’s online listings. You can check their own website and realtor sites, where you can usually search an online database of properties in the MLS. Nowadays, people start their search on the Internet, and you’ll want an agent who can manipulate this tool for your maximum benefits. You should tap that enormous market out there, or you may end up missing so many opportunities.

6. Inquire about other for-sale houses in the area.

A good agent will have knowledge about the different properties located in your preferred area. Mention one that has just been sold or is still up for sale. If the agent can give you a few details, that shows that he does know the area pretty well.

Prior to deciding which agent to choose, you should have considered two or three prospects and compared them. Without any point of reference, you can’t accurately say that a certain agent is the best one for you.

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