How do I find a trusted real estate agent? Buying or selling a property is a significant financial transaction, and having the right real estate agent by your side can make all the difference.

How To Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent
How To Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent

A trusted real estate agent not only helps you navigate the complex world of real estate but also ensures a smooth and successful transaction.

Who is a Real Estate Agent and What Do They Do?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who facilitates the buying, selling, or renting of properties. They act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, helping clients navigate the complex real estate process. Real estate agents assist in pricing properties, marketing listings, negotiating deals, and guiding clients through legal and financial aspects of transactions. They leverage their knowledge of local markets to provide valuable insights and ensure successful property transactions. In return, agents typically earn commissions based on the final sale or lease of a property.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are like professional guides for buying or selling houses. To become an agent, they need a special license from the state, and they have to take a test after finishing some required classes. Some agents are called Realtors because they’re part of a national group called the National Association of Realtors. These Realtors have to follow a set of rules called the Realtor’s Code of Ethics. If a Realtor does something against these rules, people can complain to a local group of Realtors, and the agent might face consequences.

Real Estate Broker vs. Agent

Agents can become real estate brokers after getting extra training and passing a broker’s license exam. There are different types of real estate brokers:

Principal/Designated Broker: They oversee all licensed agents in a real estate brokerage, making sure they follow state and national laws. The principal broker reviews and approves all real estate contracts.

Managing Broker: Responsible for the everyday running of the office, managing administrative staff, hiring new agents, and providing training.

Associate Broker: Also known as a broker associate, broker-salesperson, or affiliate broker, they have a broker’s license but don’t supervise other agents. Usually, they work under a managing broker.

Differences Between How To Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent for Buyers and Sellers

Buyer’s agents and listing agents have different roles because they represent different sides in a real estate deal. The buyer’s agent works for the person buying the property, while the listing agent works for the person selling it.

Seller’s Agent Responsibilities:

below are Trusted Real Estate Agent responsibilities:

  • Home Consultation: They visit the seller’s home, assess its value, and provide advice.
  • Recommend Contractors: Suggest contractors for any needed updates.
  • Staging Support: Help in arranging the property to make it look appealing.
  • Marketing: Create materials and a website to promote the property.
  • Showings: Host open houses and private viewings.
  • Communication: Coordinate between the title officer, seller, and buyer to avoid surprises at closing.
  • Closing Preparation: Ensure the seller has the right documents and understands them before closing the deal.

Buyer’s Agent Responsibilities

Buyer’s agents do important things when you’re looking for a home:

  • Know the Area: They help you understand what houses are like in your neighbourhood.
  • Plan Home Visits: Set up visits to homes and may even drive you there.
  • Price Advice: Assist you in figuring out if a home is priced right.
  • Paperwork Help: Explain the offer form and advise on adding certain conditions.
  • Inspector Suggestions: Recommend good home inspectors.
  • Keep Things Smooth: Talk with the seller’s agent and others to make sure everything goes well with buying your home.

Steps to Take Before Hiring a Trusted Real Estate Agent

Before you choose a real estate agent, it’s important to do a few things:

If you’re buying a home:

Get pre-approved: Find out how much money you can borrow for your new home. This helps you focus on houses that fit your budget.

Learn about mortgages: Especially if it’s your first time buying a home, understand the process. You’ll need money for a down payment (about 20% is good) and earnest money, a deposit when your bid is accepted. Consider other costs like property taxes and insurance too.

Figure out your priorities: Make a list of what you want in a home. Know the type of home you need, and the features you want, and get to know the towns and neighbourhoods where you’d like to live. This helps you narrow down your search.

If you’re selling:

Don’t wait to start looking for an agency. A house requires time to prepare for sale, particularly if significant repairs are required. You may budget and prepare for repairs that will pay for themselves and help you receive the greatest price if you speak with a listing agent many months to a year before you want to sell.

Organize your house. It is necessary to tidy up a crowded house before listing it for sale. Give yourself some time to go through old furniture you won’t be bringing to your new house, boxes you haven’t touched in decades, and objects that are just taking up room.

How To Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent

If you’re looking for a real estate agent, there are different places to check beyond just asking friends. Here are some simple ways to start your search:

Ask People You Know: Talk to friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have bought or sold homes recently. You can also ask on social media. A recommendation from someone you trust is valuable because it shows how well the agent works.

Do Some Research: Look up agents online. Check their social media and see what people say about them. Visit open houses in your neighborhood to meet agents in person.

Official Sources: Check with the local chamber of commerce in the area where you want to buy or sell. You can also use the National Association of Realtors’ website to find agents. Contact real estate companies, either big ones or local ones with a good reputation.

Referral Agents: If you’re looking for an agent in a different state, you can use a referral agent. This is a person you trust, maybe someone who has helped you before, who will connect you with a good local agent and get a small part of their commission as a payment.

How to Choose  a Trusted Real Estate Agent

Once you’ve got a list of potential agents, it’s important to consider a few things as you decide. Here are some key factors:

Experience:

Check how many years of experience an agent has, especially in areas that matter to you, like working with first-time buyers or dealing with condos.

Certifications:

Look for certifications like ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) or SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), which show extra education and training.

Local Knowledge:

An agent familiar with the area can give better advice on prices and help you find neighborhoods that suit your priorities.

Marketing and Technical Skills:

For sellers, ensure the agent can make your property look great online with good photos and descriptions. Buyers should look for agents who can quickly find newly listed homes, even those not on regular channels.

Availability:

Full-time agents who aren’t too busy can be more available for calls, texts, and last-minute home visits.

Personal Attention:

Decide if you want to work with a single agent or a team. A team offers more availability, while some prefer a one-on-one connection.

Commitment and Contracts:

Understand the terms of the listing agreement, which typically lasts a few months. Negotiate commissions, and make sure your agent is working in your best interest, especially if they represent both buyer and seller.

Choosing the right real estate agent involves balancing their experience, certifications, local knowledge, technical skills, availability, personal attention, and the terms of the agreement to ensure they prioritize your needs.

Questions To Ask a Realtor

If you’re selling:

  • Ask about their experience, especially in situations like selling condos or helping with simultaneous selling and buying.
  • Check if they are certified and hold a real estate license, with additional certifications from groups like the NAR.
  • Inquire about their marketing skills, ensuring they can professionally promote your home to a wide audience, possibly using social media.
  • Understand how they prefer to work, whether independently or as part of a team, to align with your expectations.

If you’re buying:

  • Similar to sellers, inquire about their experience, especially if you have specific needs like being a first-time buyer in a competitive market.
  • Check if they are certified and hold a real estate license, with additional certifications based on their specialization.
  • Understand how they prefer to work, whether independently or as part of a team, ensuring it aligns with your expectations.
  • Asking these questions helps you find a realtor whose experience, certifications, work style, and approach align with your needs, whether you’re selling or buying a home.

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