Buying and selling a home is a complicated endeavor. Each property is unique. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs.
Because of all those factors, it might make sense to work with a real estate agent who is well acquainted with the community and the things that make that community tick.
Additionally, agents should be intimately familiar with the paper trail and negotiations that will follow as you buy or sell a home. But how do you choose?
There are many sources for locating a real-estate agent, including the Internet, open houses, local advertising, referrals from other Realtors and what many consider to be the most reliable method, word of mouth. Ask friends, neighbors, lenders, attorneys and financial planners for their recommendations.
It is suggested that you interview several Realtors before selecting one with whom to work. These interviews will provide a chance for you to consider issues such as training, experience, representation and personal certifications.
Once hired, a Realtor will provide information detailing market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation.
Questions to ask a Realtor:
- While deciding on a real estate agent to represent you, here are some questions to consider asking during the interview process:
- Do you have an active real estate license in good standing? You can check with your state's governing agency for this information.
- Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer's search service?
- Is real estate the agent's full-time career?
- What real estate designations does the agent hold?
- Which party is he or she representing — you or the seller?
- How will the agent help you accomplish your goals?
- Use Web sites, referrals and recommendations to locate potential agents
- Interview agents to find one with whom you're most comfortable
- Establish a business relationship with an agent to represent and protect your interests
Sources for these stories include: Coldwellbanker.com, Moving.com, Federal Citizen Information Center Home Page, Realtor.com, Homestore.com, homebuilder.com, forsalebyowner.com, San Diego Association of Realtors, Monstermoving.com, Interest.com, Century21.com and Amsouth.com.