Buying or selling a home can be exciting, but it can also be a mixture of fear, anxiety and anticipation because it means a new chapter in your life.
Choosing the right real estate agent is one of the first things to consider when making a move. While friends and family may refer a real estate agent to you, their home buying or selling needs are probably different than yours. The internet is a good way to do your research, but consider it a starting point in your search for a real estate agent that represents your interests.
First of all, there are many intangibles that you'll need to consider:
- Is the agent's personality compatible with yours?
- Do you "sense" they are honest and trustworthy?
- Does the agent have a clear understanding of your objectives and needs?
- Do they have a list of referrals that you can call to get their opinion?
Secondly, here are some things for you to verify when shopping for an agent to represent you:
Licensing - While a real estate agent must pass certain tests and must be licensed by the state, you should also check to make sure their license is valid and in good standing. Have they had any complaints filed against them?
National Association of Realtors® - Not all real estate agents can call themselves Realtors® unless they belong to this association and agree to be bound by their "code of ethics". It's an additional layer of protection for consumers.
Education & Specialization - It's important that real estate agents continue their education. They can also take courses if they'd like to "specialize" in certain categories of a real estate practice, like "short sales/foreclosures" or "senior housing". Ask if the person has any educational designations and what areas of real estate they specialize in.
Local Knowledge - A good agent will have local information at their fingertips, including housing trends, how many houses on the market versus the percent sold, sales price trends, local crime stats, school and shopping information and a list of professionals that they do business with to help make your real estate transaction as seamless as possible.
Experience - While a certain amount of experience is important, it should be only one of the things to consider. I've known of experienced agents who become lazy after years of selling real estate, and I've seen newer agents who are highly motivated and eager to earn your business in hopes of future referrals.
While this info is not all inclusive, if you are thinking of buying a home or selling the one you already own, please rely on me to recommend 3 or 4 agents for you to interview, so you can choose the one that you can relate to and will understand your real estate needs.