Yesterday I wrote about the need for consulting a professional when dealing with things, like buying a home, that you have limited knowledge about. It occurs to me that just by suggesting a professional creates some confusion among the general public. What exactly is a professional?
When we look for a professional in anything, we look for experience, documentation of accreditation, awards for service, and other tangible indications of professionalism. In the real estate business agents must be licensed by the state to practice real estate.
Don't you love the word "Practice"? To me this sounds like the individual still has not gotten it right.
Once licensed, agents must continue their education. Here in Georgia we are required to have 36 hours of education every 4 years. Realtors also have to take an ethics class every 4 years. So we can show our clients this tangible evidence of our business, but does it make us "Professionals"?
Personally, I believe professionalism goes far beyond the number of years in business or how many degrees you might have. To me, it goes to how well an agent listens and communicates to their clients and creates solutions for their individual needs.
I believe it is nearly impossible to look at a flashy website, or read online reviews, or go with a recommendation from a friend and decide on an agent without meeting them first. Sometimes the chemistry between agent and potential client just is not there. My recommendation is to sit with an agent and talk. If you feel comfortable with them, then you can look at everything else that comes with them, but you should hire an agent that you feel understands you and your real estate needs.