BuyersSellers August 24, 2017

How to Choose a Realtor: 8 Steps

Deciding to purchase a home is a big step in the right direction. Now you need to find a real estate agent who understands your requirements and works to find the perfect house under budget Here is your guide on how to choose a realtor. 


1. Decide whether an agent or broker is appropriate
Many do not understand that a real estate salesperson is not the same as a broker. A broker must complete additional classes and take an additional test that qualifies them to supervise real estate agents, whereas a salesperson only needs a few courses to obtain their license to market property. The average broker has at least two years of experience in the field and may operate out of their own office.

First-time home buyers may feel more comfortable with brokers because of their extensive experience and education in the field. An agent, however, should not be counted out simply because of his status as a salesperson. Many real estate agents have decades of experience that far exceeds anything a broker can learn in a classroom. 


2. Consider a buyer’s agent
Some professionals in the industry only specialize in the purchasing aspect of real estate. Such persons do not search for clients looking to sell property but rather fill their roll books with individuals searching for the homes to purchase. These real estate professionals are known as buyer’s agents, and they may be the ideal choice for consumers who want to get the best deals. 

Buyer’s agents usually take additional courses that focus on their concentration and are more adamant about their clients getting the most property for their dollar. A realtor focused on the buyer’s market may beat his client to the punch of offering an amount lower than the asking price. Buyer’s agents may also come with the benefit of being more knowledgeable about loan programs geared towards first-time purchasers, which is a definite perk for beginners. 


3. Rely on referrals
A real estate agent is someone who should work for his client at all times. The best salespersons have stellar referrals from previously satisfied customers. Asking family members and friends about agents that they have used when purchasing property in the past is the best way to start your list of potential agents. It is also a good idea to check with your local chamber of commerce for referrals since the best agents are heavily involved with local events. 


When asking loved ones about agents, consider the following questions:

  • How did you and the agent get along?
  • What was your greatest like and dislike about the realtor?
  • How long have they been an agent or broker?
  • How well did the real estate professional communicate?
  • How did the agent handle pressure or sudden changes?

Real estate professionals who remain in constant contact with clients throughout the buying or selling process are more likely to understand the desires of customers. Those agents who fail to return phone calls and answer emails are probably consumed with the wishes of other clients and, hence, do not have time to provide adequate service. 


4. Investigate licensing and alleged success stories
You need to verify your potential realtor’s information. States usually make an agent’s license status available for public viewing online and often include complaints filed against professionals by previous clients. Checking with your local government’s regulatory body is the best way to learn of an agent’s actual proficiency in the field. 


5. Research how long the agent or broker has been in business
Determining how to choose a realtor involves looking into the agent’s past, which should include at least five years of experience. Such is especially the case for first-time home buyers who are unaware of the arduous process of closing a home deal. You do not need someone who is learning along with you to be in charge of intricate details that could cost you the residence of your dreams if left ignored. An agent or broker who has five years of experience is still new to the field and, hence, carries the excitement needed to get you through the process. He is also knowledgeable enough to know when a deal is going South and can pull you out in time to minimize the number of resources wasted on a hope that will never come to fruition. 


6. Pick an agent with the right credentials
Real estate professionals who have taken courses in specialty fields may have acronyms behind their names that represent education in different classifications. Three of the most common credentials that real estate agents obtain are:


  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), where recipients have completed additional courses in residential transactions
  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), where recipients have completed additional courses focused on effectively advocating for buyers in sales
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), where recipients have completed training that helps them better serve clients over the age of 50


Selecting a real estate agent with credentials could be beneficial as such advanced education shows the professional’s dedication to the field and ultimately you, as the client. 


7. Look at current listings
A real estate age who has too many listings is one too preoccupied with other clients to service your needs. At the same time, a professional with too few houses for sale is one who may not have the drive that you need for success in your quest to buy or sell property. You ideally want to pick a realtor who has the right balance of listings so that you know that he will not over-exert himself. 


8. Interview the prospective agent or broker
The interview process should not be taken lightly when you are choosing an agent for your next home. Remember that real estate professionals want you to hire them and, as such, should prove competence and excitement about the task at hand. An agent who is confident to the extent of arrogance should be avoided since he will more than likely not work to fulfill your wishes. At the same time, you want a professional who knows what he is talking about and is not afraid to stand his ground. Such characteristic is paramount when homeowners want an astronomical price for property all while refusing to complete major repairs. 


You may want to begin the interview process by asking agents the following questions:

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • Have you ever had a complaint filed against you?
  • What is your average number of transactions per year?
  • What is the median price range for the community in which I wish to reside?

Some of the inquiries are integrity tests while others question the agent’s proactiveness (i.e., providing an answer concerning price ranges means the salesperson has looked at your filed and conducted a bit of research). The real estate professional should have a viable response to every query. 


Conclusion: Expectations
You cannot have a working relationship with your newly chosen real estate agent without setting reasonable expectations. You should not expect the realtor to find a house in the hills and haggle for a price that works with your low budget. At the same time, your agent should do everything within his power to find all of the amenities that you want and need without exceeding your price limits. It’s a relationship of giving and taking when you are working with a realtor to buy or sell your home. The right agent finds the balance and delivers success.