Taking the time to do a little research before you commit to a working relationship with a real estate agent can prove beneficial to you by saving you time and money. Try these tips before you hire to get the best service available and have a pleasant experience.
1. Talk to Recent Clients
If you are buying, ask for a list of recent clients your potential real estate agent has helped find a home. Call them and ask about their experience.
If you are selling, ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information. When you call, you should ask what the asking price was and then what the sales price was. Another good question for sellers is: How long has the home been on the market?
2. Research Your Agent’s Official Record
Georgia has a Board of Realtors who license and discipline real estate agents. Check with them to find out if your potential agent is licensed and if there have been any disciplinary actions or complaints against them. The information may be posted online.
3. Pick a Winner
Peer-given awards count. One that really means something is the “Realtor of the Year” designation awarded by the state or local branch of the Board of Realtors.
4. Select an Agent with the Right Credentials
Just as other professionals specialize, so do real estate agents. And even generalists will get additional training in some areas. So those initials after the name can be an indication that the person has taken additional classes in a certain specialty of real estate sales. Here is what some of the designations mean:
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in a transaction.
SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
If the agent calls himself a Realtor with a capital “R,” that means he’s a member of the National Association of Realtors. By hiring a Realtor, you get an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics.
5. Research How Long the Agent Has Been In Business
You can often find out how long the agent has been selling real estate from the state licensing authority. Or, you can just ask the agent.
Look for someone who has been in business for more than five years, otherwise, they may be learning on your time, and that’s not ideal.
6. Look at Their Current Listings
Check out an agent’s listings online. A few places to look are the agency’s own site, Zillow.com and Realtor.com.
Check out how the agent portrays their current listings. This may give you some insight into how thorough they are and their attention to detail.
You also may look at how closely the agent’s listings mirror the property you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same area? Is the price range similar? And does the agent have enough listings to indicate a healthy business but not so many that you’d just be a number?
7. Ask About Other Houses for Sale Nearby
A good agent should know about other area properties that are available off the top of his head. Mention a house in your area that has sold recently or is for sale. If the agent knows the property and can give you a few details, that means he or she really knows your area.
If you do these things, you will be on your way to finding a real estate agent that can help you buy or sell a home in the shortest time and for the best return. Check out our preferred vendors list in the index for a list of agents we recommend!