5 tips for picking a real estate agent
Want to see through the hype to hire the best real estate agent?
There are things you can do to pull back the curtain and accurately assess a real estate agent’s past performance and potential success with your home, even though when it comes to choosing real estate agent, Like choosing any service professional – from an accountant to your family doctor – it’s important to do your homework before deciding on a real estate agent. Your home purchase or sale likely represents one of the most significant financial transactions of your life, and you definitely want to find the right person for you.
Abilities matter. And production matters. You want someone with experience, education and a proven track record of successful closings. On all counts, RE/MAX Stars is a solid place to start your search. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, and RE/MAX agents collectively hold more professional designations than agents at any other national real estate brand.
So whether you’re the buyer or the seller, here are seven ways you can find out more about your agent before you hire.
1. Talk with recent clients
Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year. And, if you’re the seller, ask if these past properties are similar to yours in price, location and other salient features, Poorvu says. What you want is someone who specializes in exactly what you’re selling. Another good question for sellers is: How long has the home been on the market?
2. Select an agent with the right credentials
Just as doctors specialize, so do real estate agents. And even generalists will get additional training in some areas. So that alphabet soup after the name can be an indication that the person has taken additional classes in a certain specialty of real estate sales. Here’s what some of the designations mean:
- CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
- ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in a transaction.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range. If the agent calls himself a REALTOR® with a capital “R,” that means he’s a member of NAR. By hiring a REALTOR®, the most important thing you get is an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics.
3. Research how long the agent has been in business
You can often find out how long the agent has been selling real estate from the state licensing authority. Or, you can just ask the agent.
Ultimately, what you’re looking for is someone who is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. You’ll want to know what knowledge of those two factors they can demonstrate.
4. Look at their current listings
Check out an agent’s listings online. Two places to look are the agency’s own site and Realtor.com, a website that compiles properties in the Multiple Listing Service into a searchable online database.
Most buyers start their search on the Internet, and you want an agent who you can find easily on the internet.
You also can 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? And does the agent have enough listings to indicate a healthy business but not so many that you’d just be a number?
5. Ask about other houses for sale nearby
A good agent should know about other area properties that are available “off the top of his head. Mention a house in your area that’s sold recently or is for sale. If the agent knows the property and can give you a few details, that means he or she really knows your area. You want t hire someone like that who’s on top of the market.