Finding a Real Estate Agent

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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 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. And in today's marketplace, many homes are sold within days of becoming available.

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

For sellers, the story is different. A real estate agent will do everything in his or her power to maximize your home’s exposure. That includes things like staging the home, suggesting ways to improve curb appeal, hosting open houses, marketing your property online, and showing your home frequently to interested buyers. These could be all things you may lack the knowledge, skills, or desire 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. 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. There are three primary types of real estate professionals and the terms are often used interchangeably but have very different meanings within the industry:

  1. Agents
  2. 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.

  3. Brokers
  4. 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.

  5. Realtors
  6. 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 governed by a strict code of ethics in representing buyers and sellers alike.

  7. Buyer's Agents
  8. Buyer’s Agents are real estate professionals who only represent buyers. That helps to erase any appearance of conflicted interests among real estate agents. This is the only “true” buyer representation that a real estate agent/realtor can give as agents without this contractual arrangement have a fiduciary responsibility to the seller and is limited in what can be shared with buyer during negotiations. 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 and trust make the difference as does commitment and work ethic.

You want to choose an agent you click with, who will listen to what you are looking for, answer your questions honestly, and help you find your perfect home. Your real estate agent should strongly encourage you to seek prequalification from a trusted lender to insure that you do not spend time looking at homes outside your price range or that do not meet your requirements. Look for agents you click with, trust, and who come highly recommended by family and friends.

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 of the homes you sell?
  • What is your marketing plan? (Vital for people selling homes)
  • What do I need to do to make my home more desirable in the marketplace?

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 a home.

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