Property is typically the most valuable asset held by an individual. This is why, when it comes to buying and selling houses, it is imperative you choose a real estate agent that will strive to get you the best possible deal for your home. Whether you are a home buyer or seller, keep reading to discover the top tips to help you pick the perfect real estate agent for you.
1. Reach out to past clientele
Before choosing an agent, be sure to ask for a list of all the property they have listed and sold recently, along with the contact information of their past clients. Ron Phipps, a past president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), suggests asking agents their opinion on whether their customers would be “particularly pleased or disappointed” with the service they have received, before contacting their clientele first-hand.
It particularly insightful to ask past clients what the original asking price was on their property, and then compare this to the final sales price. Also, be sure to ask how long their properties were listed on the market for before selling.If you are selling your home, try and find sales data of homes similar in features, location, and size to your home. If you find an abundance of comparative property, it suggests that the agent may be a specialist in the type of home you are selling.
2. Check their license
Phipps asserts that every state will have a board whose responsibility it is to license and discipline real estate agents. Check the status of a potential agent’s license by checking your state’s regulatory body. You can also see if the agent has been subject to any complaints or disciplinary action. Data of this sort is often posted online, so ensure you check the board’s website first.
3. Choose an award-winner
If your potential realtor has won a peer-given award, such as “Maple Ridge BC realtor of the year,” this is a significant validation that the agent is high-quality. This is particularly the case if the award was presented by a local or state branch of the NAR. “These agents are the best as judged by their peers. That’s a huge endorsement.”, states Phipps.
4. Select someone with appropriate credentials
Just like doctors, real estate agents specialize, too. Even a general real estate agent will have some form of additional training in a specific area. All those letters after a realtor’s name are an indication that the agent has completed extra training in a specialist real estate category. These designations include CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Is qualified to conduct residential real estate sales. ABR (Accredited Buyers’ Representative): Is qualified to represent buyers in real estate transactions. SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Is qualified in helping buyers and sellers, particularly in the 50+ age group. A Realtor, that begins with a capital ‘R,’ is a member of NAR. As a former president of the NAR, Phipps maintains that “the most important thing you can do is get an agent who formally pledged to support the code of ethics.”
5. Research the length of time the agent has practiced real estate
You can ask an agent directly how long they have been in the industry, or you can go straight to the state licensing authority, who will also be able to tell you the length of time an agent has been practicing real estate. Robert Irwin, author of “Tip & Traps When Buying a Home,” suggests that someone who has been an agent for less than five years is still learning, and therefore they will continue learning as they sell your home.Phipps states that the ultimate thing you should look for in an agent is someone who is engaged in a particular price range and area of expertise. They will be able to demonstrate what sort of market presence they have by their knowledge of the area and the homes in your price range.
6. Browse current listings
Consumer Federation‘s Brobeck says to check out an agent’s listings online. You can search the realtor’s agency’s website, as well as searchable online databases of properties such as on Realtor.com. The majority of buyers will start their search online, so it is important to ensure that an agent utilized that property marketing tool effectively. Brobeck states that an attractive presentation on the web is vital.Compare the property you wish to buy or sell with the agent’s current online listings. It is important to ask yourself how closely those listings mirror your home. Do they have similar locations or prices? Also look to see whether the number of listings an agent has online reflects a healthy business. Too few listings suggest something may be amiss with the agent, but too many could indicate that you would be nothing but a number if you were to list with them.
7. Inquire about other houses for sale nearby
You can often tell a good agent from the knowledge they have off the top of their head about other properties in the area that are on the market. Quiz the potential agent about a house that is for sale or has recently sold nearby. Someone who truly knows the market will be able to give you a few details about the property straight away.