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5 Tips for Picking a Great Real Estate Agent

Thinking of buying a home? A good real estate agent can help make the process smooth and stress-free for you.

In this article, Realty Times provides proven tips for picking a great real estate agent.


Conduct your own extensive research

Most people prefer to rely on the information that they get from other people instead of conducting their own research online or by meeting agents face-to-face. However, that is not a prudent idea. Information is power. If you have the right information at hand, then it will be very difficult to fall into the hands of scammers or bad Realtors.

Remember that buying or selling a home is a big investment. You, therefore, need to take your time and research to know more about the role of a buyer's specialist real estate agent and what you should expect when you hire one. Also, research to know the credentials that a good real estate agent should have. Once you have the right information at hand, then finding a good real agent will fall into place.

Interview Realtors

Create a short list of at least three Realtors. Research them online at Yelp.com and Zillow.com. Take phone interviews with them. An interview is very important because it will help you know the qualifications, experience, and values of the Realtor. Ask straight questions then listen keenly how the agent answers. If you realize that the agent is taking you in circles, then that is a clear red flag that you should avoid that particular agent. Only hire an agent who answers all your questions clearly and precisely. Here are a few questions to ask:

• How many homes have you sold in the past three months? • How many escrows are you currently in? • Do you have recent clients I may speak with? • If the agent hasn't recently sold at least five homes, isn't currently in escrow, or doesn't have current or past clients for you to chat with, that's a red flag.

Check if the realtor is licensed

This is a very important factor that many people usually overlook. If you want to be on the safe side, then you need to hire a real estate agent who has a current license. Don't just stop there, take necessary steps to check if indeed the license is valid and the agent doesn't have any disciplinary actions. You need to be very careful because some agents can present fake licenses. Only choose an agent who has a valid license and is in good standing with the board of Realtors.

Talk current or recent clients of the Agent

I mentioned this above but it's important to bring back up. Talking to genuine current or past clients of the Realtor will help you get a real picture of what to expect when you choose to work with that particular agent. For instance, if you are looking for a house for sale, look for past clients who had a similar situation to yours. Find out from them the quality of service that they received and whether they were satisfied with the agent's performance. If the answer is YES, then you should consider hiring that agent. However, if past clients are or weren't impressed with the quality of service that the agent delivered, then you should not even think of hiring that particular agent because you too could be disappointed. Only hire a real estate agent who has good reviews and ratings from his/her past clients. Period.

Gauge the Realtor's understanding of the local market

You will only get quality service that you are looking for if you hire a neighborhood expert agent who understands the local market. A good agent needs to understand what is happening locally. The best way to know if the agent understands the local market thoroughly is by asking him/her specific questions. For instance, you can mention a house within your neighborhood that was recently sold. If the Realtor knows about that particular property and can even go ahead to give you a few details, then that is a good indication that the agent knows what's up in the local market. A good agent needs to understand the local real estate market and should be well updated on what is happening in the real estate industry as a whole.

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