It seems like everyone and her brother is a real estate agent these days. It’s relatively easy to become licensed for the work, but it’s a lot tougher to get the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to help your clients thrive.
Which is why it’s so important to find the right real estate agent for your situation. Here are a few important points to consider.
At the bare minimum, a real estate agent has to be licensed to sell in the state in which you’re buying/selling. (If they’re not, the person claiming to be an agent won’t even be able to help you, so why bother paying their commission?) After that, there are a few more licenses to look out for. Once this crucial threshold is met, consider looking for a professional who is a Realtor, rather than just an agent. Realtors with a capital “R” are members of the National Association of Realtors, a group that requires strict adherence to a code of ethics - and that’s something you want on your side.
Real estate markets vary from city to city - and sometimes even neighborhood to neighborhood. Make sure your Realtor knows what’s going on in the areas in which you are looking to buy/sell.
There are a million tiny little things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and really the only way to know what signs to look for is from experience. Make sure your Realtor has had experience both buying and selling and specifically in the type of property you are looking for. There are differences, for example having to do with available financing and rental potential for first-time buyers vs. experienced buyers, as well as for condos vs. single-family homes.
Is your Realtor available when you need her or him to be? Markets move fast, so an agent who’s there for you one day and ghosts you the next is a bad sign. Also, just having a genuine, authentic rapport with the person guiding you in the real estate process will go a long way towards having a genuine, authentic experience.
While shopping for a Realtor is an important first step in shopping for a property, it can be the most important part of the journey. And all of these factors aside, the right fit always comes down to feeling comfortable with and available to the real estate agent that will be taking you on this exciting journey.