Choosing a Realtor
A new home purchase demands some prep work, from straightening up your credit records to saving sufficient cash for the down payment. Of course, you need a pro as well – someone who can guide you in the entire process. That’s where an expert can make a difference.
Below are pointers to help you find the right real estate professional:
When they say agent, broker or Realtor(R), does it all mean the same? Not necessarily! A real estate agent can be enough who is licensed to sell property. These agents generally had to take 100 plus hours of coursework and pass a state-administered exam for them to secure a license. A broker is an agent who has taken additional coursework, opened a brokerage firm and hired agents to work under him. If an agent or broker is a member of the National Association of Realtors(R), he may then be referred to as a Realtor(R). There are stringent requirements for admission as a NAR member, and all members are committed to a strict code of ethics which, if violated, can mean termination of membership.
A simple web search can be very useful. Find realtors in your area and take a look at their professional backgrounds. Look into the essentials, like how long they’ve been in the business, the price range of the homes they usually deal with, and how many homes they’ve sold so far in their career.
Interviewing Prospective Agents
Before picking an agent, take time to ask questions so you can better assess the candidate’s suitability. Here are some smart ones:
How long have you been working in the area?
It’s wise to hire somebody who is experienced, but don’t automatically remove a newly licensed agent from your list. If this newbie has lived in the area their whole life, they probably know more about it than an agent who’s been in the industry for ages but only recently moved to the place. What you want is a balance between general and local experience when selecting an agent.
Do you work by yourself or with a group?
many independent agents are excellent, but a team’s value cannot be ignored either. When you work with a team, you have faster response times and more availability.
What’s your schedule?
Whether you’re working with an independent agent or a team, availability is always a main concern. If you have a full-time agent, this is usually not a problem. Otherwise, you have to ensure that your schedules agree with each other, or you may end up missing out on a lot of great finds.
At the end of the day, you want someone you are happy to work with. It’s a challenge to work with an agent who seems to make things uncomfortable for you. No matter how excited you are about buying a new home, you need not subject yourself to this type of stress.