Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent for You

  • February 19, 2015

Thanks to all the online resources available today, home sellers and buyers have more information than ever before. So is it still a good idea to hire a real estate agent to represent your interests? In a word, yes. As they say, “all real estate is local.” And knowing the local market inside and out is essential to getting the price you want, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. Real estate agents are a key source for these local market insights.
 
So how do you choose the best agent for you? Here are some keys to success:
 
Is the agent licensed?
 
Be sure the real estate professional you’re considering is licensed by the state—and whether there have been any complaints or issues with agent’s professional conduct.
 
Is the agent experienced?
 
Look for an agent with at least five years of solid experience. Ideally, that experience would be grounded in your community, and with the type of home and price range you’re interested in.
 
More specifically, does the agent know the neighborhood?
 
An agent who has current listings and closed sales in the area would go a long way toward boosting your confidence in a quick success.
 
Is there a track record of success?
 
Has the agent been recognized by the National Association Realtors® or another authoritative organization for being a sales leader?
 
Do you have any special circumstances that would require a certain type of agent?
 
Many real estate agents will specialize in certain types of sales. For example, Accredited Buyer’s Representatives focus on representing buyers’ interests. Some agents concentrate on sellers over the age of 50 (Seniors Real Estate Specialists). And others trained in residential sales are called Certified Residential Specialists.
 
Most importantly: rely on word of mouth.
 
Talk to others who have experience working with the agent you have in mind. There’s no substitute for first-hand experience. You can ask the agent directly for a list of properties that they’ve both listed and sold over the past year. If you’re a buyer, be sure to find out what the original asking price and final sales price was for each home. If you’re a seller, you’ll want to be sure the agent knows how to sell your type of home, including the price range.

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