Choosing 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 not even all. 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 services of a real estate broker or agent come in handy.
The following are pointers that can help you find a good realtor:
Know the differences among different real estate professional titles.
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 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 can either be an agent or a National Association of Realtors(R) member realtor. Realtors are obliged to follow a strict code of ethics, which dictates how they are supposed to treat their clients. Think of it as extra insurance that they’re devoted to your cause.
Talk to more than one real estate broker or agent.
The NAR says at least 66% of first-time buyers contacted only one real estate broker, and that a wrong practice. Besides, how can you be so sure about making the right choice if you didn’t even look around? Whatever additional legwork you do today can certainly pay off in the future. Be sure to check out at least two or three agents and compare them before making a choice.
Personally interview your prospective agents.
This is a crucial step that you shouldn’t skip. And during the interview, make sure you ask about the following:
Specific Local Knowledge and Experience
You want to work with a seasoned agent–not necessarily with decades of experience, but at least with more than two years of experience. 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. Try to strike a balance between general and local experience before you make a decision.
Alone with with a Group?
If an agent works with a team, you can expect faster response times and greater attention. This is clearly because people will be helping each other for the same task, such as making a realtor marketing plan.
Availability and Schedule
Finally, as much as possible, choose a full-time agent to ensure that availability will not be an issue. If you need to adjust to their schedule all the time, you could miss out on so many nice properties. Availability is particularly important if you want to buy a house as soon as possible.