When you are looking around for a real estate agent, you really want to put in the time and effort to find the best. Agents use plenty of different ways to market themselves, such as direct-mail postcards, online ads, and yard signs, but this doesn't always give much information about the agent's record. Here are four things to consider in the process of picking a good agent:
The agent is licensed
It is possible to check the local state's regulatory body to ensure a particular agent holds the relevant license, as well as finding out if any complaints or disciplinary action has taken place in the past. This type of information is often available to view online.
Also, it is worth checking to see if the agent has received any awards, such as Realtor of the Year, which may be given by the local branch of NAR or the state.
Number of years in business
It is worth finding out how long the agent has been actively involved in their profession. You can simply ask the agent directly, or check the information held by the state licensing authority. It often benefits to find someone who has been in business for 5 or more years, which gives enough time to learn their trade.
You want to use an agent that is actively involved in a particular price range and area, and has the ability to demonstrate keen knowledge of the properties in their chosen area.
Research the current listings
A basic step to take is to research the listings the agent currently has online. In addition the checking the agent's own website, you can also look at the online directory sites that list a complete database of properties for sale. The majority of buyers will start looking for a home using the online tools and resources, so it is helpful to use the agent with a good online presence.
When looking at the agent's website you want to look at the price range to make sure it is similar to your needs, that the property location is right, and that a good number of listings are included to indicate a successful business.
Talk with past clients
When interviewing the different agents it is worth asking for a list of properties sold in the past 12 months, with any relevant contact information. This gives the opportunity to find out more about the agent. Also, ask other buyers or sellers questions like the period of time the house was on the market, if the asking price was achieved, and if particularly pleased or disappointed with the service provided.