For many people, buying or selling a home is the biggest purchase or sale they will ever make. It's no surprise then that most choose to involve a real estate agent in the process. With such important decisions at hand, it helps to involve a professional with experience in buying and selling homes.
But with so many agents out there, it's not always easy choosing the right one. So how to decide? The process often depends on the individuals doing the buying or selling.
Do You Really Need a Broker?
Yes. Real estate agents work on commissions, which are typically in the neighborhood of five percent. If you're selling your home for $300,000, the standard commission would be $15,000 on that sale. Naturally a person looking to save money might be apprehensive about the commission. But ultimately, a real estate agent can help you save money in the long run.
Agents have an intimate knowledge of the market and the industry. They also know your competition, the going prices in neighborhoods, and the intricacies of the home-selling process. By putting a qualified agent on your team, in addition to doing your own research through the local newspaper's real estate section, you could get more money for your house.
How Do You Know If You've Found the Right Real Estate Agent?
If you've decided to enlist the services of an agent but don't have one yet, finding the right one takes a little work.
* Flexibility: As mentioned, involving an agent will mean you'll have to pay a commission. A commission should always be flexible. A fixed commission isn't legal, so if the agent says all homes sold net a five percent commission, then tell him or her you know otherwise, and look for another agent. In general, the more expensive an area is to live the less the commission will be. More expensive neighborhoods should result in lower commissions, while less expensive areas will more than likely lean toward a higher commission.
* Reputation: Lots of people like to move closer to friends and family. Ask friends and family if they can recommend a real estate agent. If they can, this can be a quick way to find one, though it should be noted that you'll benefit if you make yourself the center of a competition between agents (you're more likely to lower the commission if you do). Obviously, avoid those who have negative reputations.
* Experience: How much experience an agent has is very important. Ideally, you'd like one who is established in the area where you want to live. Such an agent will have an extensive knowledge of the neighborhoods, knowing the pricing history of homes bought and sold and likely what life is like in the neighborhood. Ask for a recent transaction history of homes they've sold. In addition, check with the local government to see if any complaints have been filed in recent years.
* Trust your gut: Always be wary of agents who are trying to make a home into something it's not. If he or she is rambling on and on about renovating a home, the home's probably not a worthwhile investment. A real estate agent shouldn't have to sell you on a home, but rather help you find the right one.
What is a Realtor(R)?
Not all real estate agents are Realtors(R). Realtor(R) is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors(R) and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. A Realtor(R) may be able to provide you a different level of service.