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How to Choose a Realtor

Purchasing a new house calls for some serious prep work, from cleaning up your credit history to saving enough money to make a down payment. But, that’s just getting started! You also want an ally who will be there to lead you to homes you’ll absolutely love, find the best possible mortgage for you, and just basically help you through this normally complicated process. That’s where the role of a real estate broker or agent makes a difference.

Below are tips that can help you find a good realtor:

Understand what different titles mean.

The first thing you may notice as you try to get some help with buying properties is that professionals in the industry can use different titles, such as agent, broker, Realtor(R), etc. Do they all mean the same? Certainly not! A real estate agent is any person with a license to sell real estate property, where the requirements usually involve hundred plus hours of course work and passing a state examination. A real estate broker is a professional who has taken advanced studies and can hire agents working under them. A Realtor may be an agent or a broker who is a National Association of Realtors(R) member. Realtors are obliged to follow a strict code of ethics, which dictates how they are supposed to treat their clients. Think of it as extra insurance that they’re devoted to your cause.

Talk to more than one real estate broker or agent.

The NAR says over 65% of first-time buyers spoke only to one real estate broker before moving forward, which is definitely wrong. Besides, how can you be so sure about making the right choice if you didn’t even look around? Any extra work you do today can really pay off in the near future. Explore at least two or three agents, compare them and choose the best.

Personally interview your prospective agents.

This is one crucial step you’re not allowed to skip. And during the interview, ask questions that delve into the following:

Knowledge and Experience in the Local Scene

You want to work with a seasoned agent–not necessarily with decades of experience, but at least with more than two years of experience. A freshly licensed agent, on the other hand, shouldn’t be instantly erased from your list of prospects if they have been residing in your chosen area for a long time. When making a decision, find a balance between overall experience and local experience.

Alone or with a Team?

If you choose an agent who is part of a team, you can expect them to respond to your concerns in a more timely manner, as well as give you more attention. Obviously, this is because a lot of people will be working on the same tasks, such as drawing up a realtor marketing plan.

Agent Schedule

Finally, as much as possible, choose a full-time agent to ensure that availability will not be an issue. If you have to adjust to their convenience before you can see houses, you could be missing out on a lot of great properties. Availability is particularly important if you want to buy a house as soon as possible.