Having your own representation when you’re buying or selling property is essential because not only can they help navigate the sometimes confusing legal jargon of a real estate transaction, but a licensed and qualified agent can offer tips, advice, suggestions, and ways to buy and sell that could literally save you thousands of dollars. So, let’s talk about some of the top things you should look for in a Realtor®.
#1. A licensed agent.
Anyone can study for their real estate license and take the test. But you may have noticed that there’s a difference between the term Realtor and real estate agent. Any licensed agent that has taken the tests can buy and sell property in their designated state or county even if they are not a Realtor. A Realtor is part of the National Association of Realtors, which is an additional certification requiring members to stand up to their strict code of ethics and can gain information from the NAR as well as certain documents. This doesn’t mean that a real estate agent is not going to be ethical but some brokerages require agents and brokers to also be Realtors, however, you can be a real estate agent without being a Realtor but you can’t be a Realtor without being an agent.
#2. A successful track record.
We understand that you might want to help your brother-in-law’s cousin’s ex-wife get started in the real estate business, but honestly, experience is one of the top things you should look for. Anyone can take a real estate test but the real experience comes with each and every real estate transaction. Ask how many properties they’ve actually sold in the last year.
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#3. A full-time agent.
If you’re using an agent that only does this on the weekends or has another full-time job, you may not be the priority. They may not be able to show property in a timely manner and they may simply not be that aggressive when it comes to negotiations. Finding someone that does this full time and has done it for several years should offer you some of the best experience.
Talk with previous clients or other homeowners and see whom they refer and if they’ve had a good experience.
#5. Someone who knows your area.
Don’t choose an agent that doesn’t know your area. Things can change, even from neighborhood to neighborhood, so it’s important that your real estate agent understands the market conditions in your particular community or city. You certainly don’t want to overpay for a house and you don’t want to give a house away that you are selling. Pricing it correctly and negotiating for a price means the agent understands the market in the neighborhood.