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How to Choose a Real Estate Agent (from a Real Estate Agent)

July 2, 2021

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent (from a Real Estate Agent)

Choosing a real estate agent is a critical step when buying a home. Many go with whatever agent they find. They don't do research. They don't take the time to ask questions. Then, when things go wrong, they're left in a lurch because they've already invested time (and often money) with the agent. We want to help you avoid being in that position with this guide to choosing a real estate agent from a real estate agent.

Differences Between a Real Estate Agent, Broker, and Realtor

Do you know the differences between a real estate agent, real estate broker, and realtor? If not, here's what you need to know:

  • Real Estate Agent: Agents are required to take introductory classes and pass a state licensing exam. Each state has different certifications and education requirements. An agent must work with an organization or for a broker.
  • Real Estate Broker: Brokers do everything agents do but take more classes to earn a broker's license. A broker may work for themselves, unlike an agent. Again, each state has different requirements and license processes for brokers.
  • Realtor: A realtor is a trademarked term from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If you are part of this organization, you may call yourself a realtor. Otherwise, you must call yourself a real estate agent or broker. Most agents and brokers are also realtors as part of the NAR.

Real estate agents facilitate real estate transactions between sellers and buyers. Seller's agents work for sellers while buyer's agents work for buyers. Sometimes, the agent works for both sides, trying to find the best possible deal to get the most out of the transaction. Agents must work with a broker to finalize all transactions.

Real estate brokers perform all the same tasks as agents, but they don't require "sign off" to complete a real estate transaction. With additional education supporting what they do day-to-day, many brokers specialize in one type of real estate over another, such as commercial real estate. They can do business without running it up a chain of command like real estate agents.

Realtors are members of NAR. They can be either agents or brokers. They hold themselves to NAR's Code of Ethics as members.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent or Broker

Many potential buyers or sellers turn to websites like Redfin and Zillow to start looking for a home or get an idea of what their home would sell for. They might start reaching out to agents or brokers directly from those sites.

For those who've bought or sold a home before, this process is perfectly fine. Sometimes you can't choose as a buyer who is selling the house – you must work with that agent.

For first-time homebuyers or sellers, finding the right agent or broker to work with is essential for understanding the process better. You are doing something for the first time. Something extremely complicated. You're about to spend an incredible amount of money one way or another. Working with an agent or broker is essential to make sure you're not wasting time or money on something so monumental to your future.

When looking for a real estate agent or broker, look for the following:

  • They have good reviews. They can provide referrals. Look at their website, read testimonials, and learn what you can about the agent or broker.
  • Promptly answer your questions thoroughly. They answer your follow-up questions with as much enthusiasm.
  • Do you connect with them? Does the conversation flow easily? You want someone you trust and have a natural conversation with. You're going to be working closely with them.
  • What does your gut tell you? Do you feel they have your best interests at heart, or are they pressuring you into making decisions?
  • How long have they been in business? Are they a new agent or broker? Or have they been doing this forever? The latter is what you're looking for when it comes to getting the best experience.

One of the best ways to find a broker or agent is to ask your family, friends, and colleagues. They have good and bad experiences in real estate. They'll share these experiences with you. Referrals are one of the best ways to find

Trust Your Gut When Choosing a Real Estate Agent or Broker

When choosing a real estate agent or real estate broker, trusting your gut is vital. Talk to the agent. Ask questions. See how they respond and relate to you. If something seems off, it usually is. It's time to vet a new agent or broker. Take the time to find the right person to work with, or else you could end up with a house that's less than ideal. Choosing a real estate agent is like choosing a life partner. You must have absolute trust in that person for the relationship to work. Heed the advice from this real estate agent wisely.

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