Tips for Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent
If you’re ready to purchase a home, you may want to enlist the services of a real estate agent. Buying requires a significant amount knowledge about the process – you have to understand your obligations and you have to be prepared to do the complicated paperwork. Real estate professionals are licensed and trained to handle the steps necessary to purchase a property – and will, hopefully, make your buying experience a stress-free event.
The terms agent, broker, and REALTOR are often used interchangeably – but they have very different meanings. After schooling and testing for a state issued real estate license, a broker may then join their local REALTOR association. This means that they become a member of NAR – the National Association of REALTORS and it requires that they subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics – which in many cases goes well beyond state laws. We recommend selecting a REALTOR – especially because they can share with you information on the homes which are being marketed through the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The MLS will give you access to the greatest number of homes.
Here are some basic questions to help you evaluate a potential agent:
- Are you a REALTOR?
- Do you have an active real estate license in good standing?
- Do you belong to one or more MLS services? Do you co-operate with selling brokers on a sale?
- Will you please explain “agency”/representation?
- Please tell us something about your company.
- Please tell us something about your own experience in real estate.
- Please tell us something about your knowledge of the region.
It’s always a good idea to compile a list of several REALTORS and talk to each before choosing one. Select a REALTOR who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust. If you check references, you can get a sense of performance. Ask those references the telling question: