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Choosing the right Real-Estate Agent

Choosing the right Real-Estate Agent

Buying or selling property is not just about going through open houses or putting up ‘For Sale’ boards on the lawn. On the contrary, dealing in property can be quite overwhelming for the common man.  There are various reasons why it can be cumbersome for some when dealing with property. For some, it’s not possible to go through all the houses in a particular area, some don’t have an understanding of where the real estate market is headed and some may not even know how to read real estate contracts. Hence at the slightest feeling that transacting in property is turning into a headache one should consider opting for a real estate agent or broker. But before one hires a real estate broker there are some things they should take note of. Here are some of the some tips to consider when hiring a real estate agent or broker.

  • Before a person can call themselves as a real estate agent or broker they have to meet certain prerequisites such as education, experience and examinations. The standards of these requisites depend on the state the agent operates in. After obtaining a license the agent may join their state or local Realtor associations.
  • When hiring one, it is very crucial to check out if the agent has an active license with a good standing and one should also check as to which agency or association the agent affiliates to. These agencies in turn have their own set of benchmarks to scrutinize the agents willing to join them and they also have stricter norms or guidelines in place to maintain the quality of service of its affiliates.

  • Just because a friend or a relative is an agent doesn’t necessarily mean that one should hire them. When it comes to real estate agents, credentials count. A friend or relative should understand that there are tough standards to be met while selling a property and they should offer to compete for the listing. Also, if at any point, things do go downhill, one wouldn’t want to spoil their relations with that person.

  • When hiring an agent, along with looking at the credentials, it is important to go with one’s gut instincts. If one doesn’t trust or like a particular agent, they simply shouldn’t hire them. An agent becomes as good as family member for the time he/she has the listing or for the time the property is on the market. If one doesn’t see themselves comfortable with that agent in the house for that short or elaborate time span, they shouldn’t hire that agent.
  • One should consider interviewing at least three agents separately. Generally an agent takes 6% of the sale price, so it is only right (and essential) that one gets to ask a few questions. During the face-to-face interview one should cover all the important questions such as what kind of experience the agent has, if the agent works full-time, how many homes the agent or the brokerage has sold over the past year, what is the average time it took to sell the house and how close to the asking price was the house sold for. Also, one should ask for minimum three recent references from the realtor.
  • An agent who charges a low commission or promises to sell the property for the highest price is not necessarily a good agent. In fact there are more downfalls of putting a ‘higher than current value’ price tag on the house. Also, a good selling agent will inform or suggest necessary repairs or changes to help fetch a well priced and quicker sale.If one is buying property, one would want their agent to be a good listener rather than who is pushy or patronizing. The agent should be able to understand the client’s lifestyle and choices and narrow down the selection respectively.
  • A very important question to ask the agent is if that agent will be representing you exclusively or will they be acting as both the buying and selling agent.  There are certain obligations that bind an agent which again vary from state to state. When hiring an agent one should ask them to explain these obligations along with common-law ones. One should refrain from disclosing sensitive information to the seller’s agent as in many states, the seller’s agent is law-bound to share all the information with the seller. More and more people, especially first time buyers are opting for a buyer’s agent these days to protect against unforeseen pitfalls. But buyer’s agents are not available everywhere and would need an extensive search.

Also, while listing with a particular agent, one should go through the contact thoroughly and get doubts cleared or changes made.

  • Again the importance of screening the agent thoroughly cannot be stressed enough. An agent with long years in the field will be the right choice but one should also see if their performance is jaded. Younger agents do lack the experience but they can more than make up for it in enthusiasm. One would also want an agent who is tech savvy. With the technological advances, almost 90% of the people look up the house they are interested in, on the internet. Hence one’s agent should be able to provide a good online marketing strategy along with a solid general one.
  • When one decides to buy a home, they generally have a fair idea of which neighborhood they want it in. It is only natural that when selling a house, the agent usually ‘sells’ the neighborhood as well. So, a buyer should look for an agent who knows that neighborhood properly or better yet, lives in it. That way one gets a better understanding of they are getting into.

If one is selling the property, they should clearly inform the agent as to what they will be including in and excluding from the sale; like, curtains, carpets, furniture etc.  There should also be clear communication between the client and the agent regarding other things as well.

Before signing the listing contract or deciding on the buying agent, one should always call up the references given by the agent as they help make the decision easier.