Personal Advice

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Finding a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents fill important roles in the home buying and selling process. Finding the right real estate agent for your situation may take a little time, but it is worth the investment of time to ensure that you are happy with the results of your real estate transaction.

Why Do You need a Real Estate Agent?

Buyers and sellers alike benefit from the services real estate agents have to offer. As a buyer, you will receive information about homes that might not show up on websites and in real estate magazine listings. By telling your agent exactly what you are looking for in a home, he or she might be able to help you in your search. Your agent may be able to show you homes that haven’t even appeared on these venues yet, giving you an opportunity to make your bid before others even know about it.

When the time comes to make an offer to buy a home, your real estate agent can help you present your offer and get all the relevant ducks lined up to close the sale. That includes things like home inspections, title searches, closing costs, and other necessary components.

For sellers, the story is different. A high energy real estate agent will do everything in his or her power to maximize your home’s exposure. That includes things like staging the home, hosting open houses, and showing your home frequently to interested buyers. These could be all things you may lack the knowledge, skills, or energy to do on your own.

It can make the difference between getting the offer you are looking for and settling for one that is less than ideal. A dedicated real estate agent can help you by offering advice that might help boost curb appeal, make the home more marketable, and encourage a faster sale for your home.

Types of Real Estate Agents

Many people often get confused when they hear the term real estate agent. It means different things to different people on the street. However, they have very clear meanings and distinctions within the industry. There are three primary types of real estate professionals:

  1. Agents
  2. Brokers
  3. Realtors
  4. Buyer's Agents

The terms, while often used interchangeably, actually have very different meanings.

Real estate agents are professionals who have taken select classes, applied for, tested for, and received state licensing to become an agent. However, they must work with a licensed broker and participate in continuing education courses along the way.

Brokers are required to take additional courses and complete more intensive examination. They can go into practice for themselves. However, they must continuously educate themselves in the field to remain active brokers.

Realtor is a term that is set aside for real estate agents and brokers who have committed to a higher standard of accountability and become paying members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They are defined by a strict code of ethics in representing buyers and sellers alike.

Buyer’s Agents are real estate professionals who only represent buyers. That helps to erase any appearance of conflicted interests among real estate agents and places some buyers in an easier frame of mind. These professionals can earn the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation through the NAR by taking specific classes.

Picking the Right One

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong professional to choose to represent you when buying or selling your home. In this field, personality may make the difference as can commitment and work ethic.

You want to choose an agent you click with, who will listen to what you are looking for and help you find it. You do not want to spend an endless line of afternoons exploring homes that are outside of your price range or do not meet your requirements, for instance. Look for agents you click with and ask around about their reputation for dealing honestly and fairly with buyers and sellers (if you happen to be selling).

Questions to Help You Make a Decision

You might want to have a few questions in mind to ask an agent you are considering for selling your home, like these, ahead of time:

  • How many homes have you sold?
  • What is the average price range for most of the homes you sell?
  • Do you have a marketing plan? (Vital for people selling homes)
  • How can I improve my home for a faster sale or higher asking price?

Finding a great real estate agent is easy when you are looking for specific things. Some of the most important details to consider are reputation, energy, and enthusiasm for meeting your needs, whether you are buying a home or selling one.