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How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

If you need the services of a real estate agent, you’ll obviously want the best. But with almost countless options out there, how do you know who’s best for you?

Whether you intend to buy or sell a property, below are tips that will come useful:

1. Ask for client references.

Ask for a list of properties your prospective agent has listed and sold in the past year, complete with contact information. If you’ll be selling a property, ask them if the have sold similar properties to yours based on such important features as price, location and the rest. You want someone who actually specializes in what you’re selling.

2. Check if they are licensed.

Real estate agents need a license before they can practice their profession – legally, at least. Stick to an agent who has one. Contact your state board to verify.

3. Pick an agent who has the right credentials.

Just like doctors and lawyers, real estate agents have specialties as well. Some common designations are Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). If an agent calls himself a Realtor with a capital “R,” that means he is a National Association of Realtors (NAR) member. Hiring a Realtor assures you of an agent who has formally sworn to support the organization’s strict code of ethics.

4. Choose a seasoned agent.

Know how long your potential agent has been working in the industry. You can simply ask the agent directly or verify with your state licensing board. You’d like to focus on prospects who have been in the business for no less than five years. You don’t want to be the guinea pig in their experiment.

5. Take a look at current listings.

Spend time to check an agent’s online listings. Check out their website or search realtor sites’ online databases of properties that are currently listed in the MLS. Nowadays, people start their search on the Internet, and you’ll want an agent who can manipulate this tool for your maximum benefits. You should tap that enormous market out there, or you may end up missing so many opportunities.

6. Inquire about other for-sale properties nearby.

A good agent will have knowledge about the different properties located in your preferred area. Mention a house that has been recently sold or is still for sale. If the agent can give you a few details, that’s a sign that he’s really familiar with the area.

Before choosing an agent, you should have considered at least two or three prospects and made comparisons. You can’t say someone is right for you if there is no point of reference.

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