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How To Find a Good Real Estate Agent

Purchasing a new home is one of the biggest and most complicated processes that a person may face in their lifetime. And yet many people don't spend much time on what may be the most important part of that process: finding a good real estate agent.

How does someone go about finding a great real estate agent? There are several factors you may wish to consider.

Experience

Just because someone has a real estate license does not mean they've necessarily bought or sold many houses. Many agents may not even be full-time real estate businesspeople, and may have just sold a house or two to a family friend.

You may wish to look for someone with a good amount of experience in the real estate field. Someone who has decades of experience will likely know many of the secrets and tricks to being able to find the right home and produce a good deal for you.

See Them In Action

If you're looking at open houses, consider that time to also be an opportunity to investigate potential agents. Even if you're not interested in a particular house, the agent or agents you run into at an open house will probably be looking for clients. This gives you a chance to see the agent in their actual working environment. Did they do a good job marketing and promoting the house? Do they seem easy to work with and helpful? After looking at a number of open houses, you will probably see a clear difference between the agents you would like to work with and those you would rather pass on. You may also wish to make sure that an experienced agent actually has experience in the location that you're interested in.

Referrals and Recommendations

And of couse a great way to find a real estate agent is to get the recommendation from someone you trust. If someone has had a great experience with an agent in the past, chances are they will perform in a similar way with you. Keep in mind that different people have different needs and working styles, so someone who is a great agent for your friend may not be as great an agent for you. Ask specific, detailed questions about the interactions the person who is doing the referring had with the agent.

Make sure that the aspects of a potential agent that are the most important to you will be satisfied. For example, if you are a first-time homebuyer, it may be important to you that the agent is patient and willing to take the time to explain things in detail.

You can also look at various review sites for user reviews. But be sure to read the reviews to try and understand why a reviewer liked or didn't like working with the agent.

Consider a Realtor®

There is a National Association of Realtors. In order to join the association and become a Realtor®, an agent must comply with a Code of Ethics established by the National Association of Realtors, which are a stricter set of rules than what is legally required for real estate agent. It is estimated that only about half of real estate agents are Realtors®.

A Buyer's Agent Is Recommended

Astonshingly, only about 60% of home buyers who purchased a home through a real-estate agent had buyter representation, according to a 2011 report from the National Association of Realtors. Some may not even have realized that they were actually working with a seller's agent. Keep in mind that a seller's agent is obligated by contract to work in the favor of the seller, which generally implies getting close to or meeting the asking price if possible. We recommend that unless you are very knowledgeable about real estate transactions you work with a buyer's agent. Note that as a homebuyer you do not pay the buyer's agent directly. Rather the commission from the sale is paid by the seller and is split between the seller's and buyer's agents.

If you're not sure who an agent is working for, don't hesitate to ask them directly whether they are working for the buyer or the seller in the transaction.

As a buyer, if you are concerned that even an agent who is not the seller's agent would still not be working in your favor, you might consider the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents, who may be able to help you find an agent who has no ties to seller's agents and may be able to work with a fee structure payment system rather than a commission-based one.

You do want to make sure that your agent will be one who is interested in finding the right house for you and giving you a favorable transaction financially and not one who just wants to close a deal, get paid, and disappear as quickly as possible. Will they recommend a termite inspector who is not so careful so that the sale gets completed easier? You might want to pass on that kind of agent.

Talk to Many Agents

Whatever method you choose, it is probably a good idea to talk with many agents. The chances of finding the agent that is right for you is better if you pick your top 2 out of 20 instead of your top 2 out of 3.

Finding a good real estate agent may be the first and most important step in making sure that your homebuying experience is a successful and even enjoyable one.

This information has not been verified by YLocale and may not be reliable. Please use at your own risk.

Factual Places data © Factual Inc. (http://www.factual.com).

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