Those who use real estate agents to sell their property earn 23% more than For Sale By Owner. The right agent reduces the stress of finding a new home or selling your current one. In this article, we discuss what to look for in a good real estate agent.
State Licensing and Certification
Many people confuse the terms real estate agent, real estate broker, and realtor. Both agents and brokers have taken an exam and are state licensed to buy and sell real estate on your behalf. Real estate agent is the starting point in the real estate career path. A broker has more experience and specifically takes a broker's exam to become licensed. Brokers are able to work independently as an agent but all agents must work under a brokerage. Also, brokers are always agents, but not all agents are brokers.
A realtor is a member of the trademarked National Association of REALTORS. They function under a code of conduct that ensures transparency and ethical behavior in real estate transactions that keep the clients' best interest at the forefront. Every realtor is either an agent or a broker, but not every agent or broker is a realtor.
Provable Knowledge and Experience
The real estate agent you choose should have proven experience with clients. Ask to see their closed listings on the Multiple Listing Service. This is a popular tool exclusively for real estate agents. From their closing listings, you'll get a good picture of the closing price, houses they've sold similar to yours, the neighborhood, and time on the market before the sale. Ask for references and followup with them.
When interviewing agents, ask about their experience in your neighborhood and their marketing strategy. Some neighborhoods are more competitive than others when it comes to buying and selling. An agent that is unaware of these nuances won't be able to give you the results you're looking for. Also, their marketing strategy plays a big part in how fast your home is closed on. At 37%, millennials are now the biggest group in the home buying pool. This means video and internet-based marketing work better than in previous years. Good agents use a combination of the MLS, posting to social outlets, and reaching out to their personal network of buyers and sellers.
Responsiveness to Your Needs
Last but not least, your agent should have you as their focus not on how much commission they can make. Real estate agents are offering a service but your needs as their client should be their primary concern. Are they searching for the features on your wish list? Are the homes they're presenting within your budget? Do they respond quickly to counteroffers and adhere strictly to deadlines? Is their advice based on market research? These are all the questions to keep in mind as you search for your perfect agent.
Before finding an agent, know what you want from your ideal home buying/selling situation and how much you can afford. Getting approved for a loan ahead of time will help your agent find the best options for your budget. The best real estate agent for you will be responsive to your needs, licensed, and carry a proven track record in their industry.