Real estate agents promote themselves with yard signs, online ads, direct-mail postcards and even sponsored public benches. So, cutting through the advertising hype and finding the right agent can be tough.Still, there are ways to size up an agent’s record — and potential. Check out these seven ways to find a great real estate agent, whether you’re buying or selling a home.
Talk With Agents’ Recent Clients
Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information.
If you’re selling, ask whether the previous properties were similar to yours in price, location and other key features. You want someone who specializes in what you’re selling.
Another good question for sellers to ask: How long were the homes on the market?
Check For License And Disciplinary Actions
The states license and discipline real estate agents. Check with your state’s regulatory body to find out whether an agent you’re considering is licensed and or has any disciplinary actions or complaints. That information may be posted online.
Select An Agent With The Right Credentials
Doctors have specialties, and so do real estate agents, many of whom get additional training in particular areas. The alphabet soup after an agent’s name can indicate that the agent has taken classes in a certain area of real estate sales. Some of the designations include:
- CRS (Certified Residential Specialist):Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
- ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative):Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist):Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
If the agent calls herself a Realtor with a capital R, that means she’s a member of the NAR.
Find Out How Experienced An Agent Is
A state licensing authority often can tell you how long an agent has been in business. Or, you can ask the agent directly.
Ultimately, what you want is someone who is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. You’ll want an agent to demonstrate knowledge of the area and homes in your price range.
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Look At The Agent’s Current Listings
Check out an agent’s listings online. Places to look include the real estate agency’s website and sites such as Realtor.com, which offer a searchable online database of properties in the multiple listing service.
Look at how closely the agent’s listings mirror the property you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same area? Is the price range similar? Does the agent have enough listings to indicate a healthy business, but not so many that you’d be waiting days for him or her to return your call?
Gauge The Agent’s Knowledge Of The Area
A good agent should know about other properties that are available in the area. Mention a house in your area that recently sold or is for sale.
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