How to Choose a Realtor

Buying a new home requires some serious preparation, from increasing your credit score to saving up for a down payment. But, that’s just getting started! You also want somebody who will be able to help you find homes you’ll love, search for the mortgage that best suits your needs, and basically just be your guide through the whole financially and emotionally demanding process. That’s where the role of a real estate broker or agent makes a difference.

Below are tips that can help you find a good realtor:

Understand the different titles used by real estate professionals.

The first thing you may notice as you try to get some help with buying properties is that professionals in the industry can use different titles, such as agent, broker, Realtor(R), etc. Are they all but one and the same? Of course not! A real estate agent is someone who has earned a license to sell real estate property, where the requirements typically include taking 100+ hours of course work and passing a test administered by the state. An agent who has furthered his studies and can hire agents to work under him is known as a real estate broker. A Realtor may be an agent or a broker who is a National Association of Realtors(R) member. Realtors follow a strict code of ethics when it comes to treating clients. Consider it extra assurance that they’re serious about promoting your cause.

Consider more than real estate broker or agent.

According to the NAR, more than 65% of first-time home buyers talked to only one real estate broker before proceeding, which is just totally wrong. After all, how can you say you’ve made the right choice if you didn’t even look into other options? Whatever additional legwork you do today can certainly pay off in the future. Explore at least two or three agents, compare them and choose the best.

Personally interview your prospective agents.

This is one critical step you mustn’t skip. And during the interview, make sure you ask about the following:

Specific Local Knowledge and Experience

You should look for a seasoned agent–and even if they don’t need decades of experience, they can be risky if they only have up to two years. On the other hand, someone who just received their license shouldn’t be automatically eliminated from consideration if they have been a long-time resident of your preferred area. Balance overall experience versus local experience when you decide.

With or Without a Team?

If you choose an agent who is part of a team, you can expect them to respond to your concerns in a more timely manner, as well as give you more attention. Obviously, this is because a lot of people will be working on the same tasks, such as drawing up a realtor marketing plan.

Availability and Schedule

Lastly, it’s always better to go with the full-time agent because you know availability will not be a problem. If you can only see houses during their convenient time, you could be missing out on many good ones. Availability is specifically important if you have to purchase a house ASAP.

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