There are plenty of real estate agents out there, which can make choosing just one seem like a daunting task. Considering how important buying or selling a huge investment like real estate is, it’s essential that you choose an agent who will adequately serve your needs.
It might take a little time and effort on your part to sift through the agents in your area, but doing so will boost the odds that you’ll find the right one to represent you in a real estate deal.
Here are some tips for finding and choosing the right real estate agent.
1. Choose One With the Appropriate Credentials
All agents need to be licensed in the state they work in. In order to obtain their license, they need to have gone through a number of courses and passed a test. In California, agents are required to complete 135 hours of education and pass the salespersons exam before being licensed and able to work as an agent in the state.
They may have other credentials and designations that specialize them in specific areas of real estate. For example, many agents go on to take additional courses on top of the mandatory ones required to be a licensed agent.
Make sure the agent can provide proof of their credentials and a commitment to their fiduciary duties.
2. Find Out About Any Disciplinary Actions
Disciplinary actions happen in the world of real estate. That said, the severity of such actions vary from minor issues to more severe offenses. While the odds are pretty low that the agent you’re thinking of working with has had past disciplinary action taken against them, it’s still worth checking out anyway.
Check with the regulatory entity in your area to find out whether or not the agent you’re considering has had any complaints or actions taken against them. If so, find out what they are and decide whether or not you’re comfortable working with an agent with a potentially blemished past.
3. Find Out if They Work Full-Time in Real Estate
There are plenty of agents out there who work on a part-time basis. While many of these agents are good at what they do, they may have other work obligations that can take them away from providing their clients with comprehensive services.
Ideally, the agent that you work with will be dedicated to real estate full time and will be able to give you their full attention.
4. Find Out About Their Experience
Credentials and training are certainly essential qualities for a real estate agent to possess, but experience is also an important factor to consider. Being successful in buying and selling real estate requires a certain amount of experience to master.
It’s one thing to study real estate, but it’s quite another to have hands-on, real-life experience. An agent who has lots of experience working will be more engaged in their craft and will have a better handle on the ins and outs of the industry.
5. Scope the Agent’s Online Listings
If you’re on the selling end of a real estate transaction, you’ll want to make sure that the agent you choose is skilled at marketing. You can gain a sense of how the agent markets their properties by checking out their listings online.
Check out the descriptions and photos and gauge how attractive and enticing they make their listings appear. Further, determine how the agent’s listings match the property you want to sell.
Looking at the agent’s listings will also be able to tell you how busy they are. You want them to be busy enough so that they’re in high demand and successful, but perhaps not so busy that you’ll get lost in the crowd of other clients.
6. Make Sure They’re Familiar With the Area
Whether you’re buying or selling, you want an agent who is very familiar and experienced with the housing market in your particular area.
Each community has its own unique features that affect its respective real estate market, so understanding what these traits are will make the agent an expert in that particular area. Such a deep understanding of the local market can give you a leg up on the competition and ensure a more successful experience buying or selling.
7. Find Out Their Availability
Selling and buying certainly take plenty of time, as there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into the process. As such, you want to make sure that your agent has enough time to dedicate to you.
Find out what their availability is and whether or not they work with a team. If they work with other professionals, you’ll still be given the attention and service you’ve been promised by always having someone available to field your calls, answer your questions, or take you to showings. Look for an agent who works with a team or at least has an administrative assistant so you can be sure that your needs will be met.
8. Interview the Agent
Think of an agent as someone that you’re hiring. Like any employer, you’ll want to conduct an interview before making your decision on who to bring on board, and working with a real estate agent is no different. Agents expect to be interviewed, so there’s nothing wrong with asking them a number of questions to gauge whether or not the agent makes a good fit.
The Bottom Line
Buying and selling real estate shouldn’t be rushed, nor should choosing a real estate agent to help you go through the process. Take the time to ask all the right questions and do a little homework to make sure the agent you ultimately narrow down is the right one to serve your specific needs.