Anytime that you are engaging a professional for specific services, you should vet them beforehand. That includes checking out their licenses and certifications, referrals, their experience in the field, and what their fees are. Here are tips on how to pick the best Realtor addressing these key areas.
Credentials & Accreditation
Every state has a department that specializes in real estate. For instance, there is the Arizona Department of Real Estate where you can research if a Realtor has certification and accreditation to buy and sell property in that state. You can also find out if the real estate professional has been involved in any disciplinary action as well. If a real estate agent refers to themselves as a Realtor, that means that they are a member of the National Association of Realtors.
There are real estate agents that don't specialize in one area, but there is a current trend for them to do so.
- Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR): Education to represent buyers in the real estate transaction
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): Training in residential real estate
- Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): Training in working with both buyers and sellers that are 50+ years in age
A good real estate agent relies on their reputation for future business. Referrals are the first step when searching for the perfect person to help you buy or sell your property. Start with asking those you trust about Realtors they have worked with in the past. Then once you have that list of professionals, ask them for a current and past client list. Everyone's situation is unique, but the overall experience should be positive. If not, keep searching.
Currently, real estate transactions incur a 5-7% commission split between the buying and selling agents. If the commission on your home is lower than normal, fewer agents are willing to show it as then they don't make as great of a commission on it. You can negotiate this later, especially when one agent does the entire transaction, but should not be on the table initially.
Everyone needs to start somewhere, but it shouldn't be on your house! If an agent has less than 3-5 five years experience, they should have a mentor making sure the transaction is completed accurately. Additionally, don't enlist a family member as your real estate agent as this is a very stressful time and can illicit negative emotions during the process. Also, look for professionals that specialize in your neighborhood, as they will know what has sold and at what price, and can usually tell you why. Someone who lives 50 miles away will only be able to make an educated guess.
By utilizing all of this tips and tools you will be able to make a more informed decision on selecting the right Realtor for your property.