Buying a home is a tricky business. Whether you are an investor, or a first-time buyer, you need some expert advice in order to navigate the real estate market, and make the right choice for your needs. To close the best possible deal, you need an expert realtor, one who is familiar with the local market, who understands the ups and downs of the real estate market, and who can make an offer and negotiate on your behalf. Needless to say, the relationship between a buyer and a real estate agent must be built on professionalism and trust, so don’t put your future into the hands of the first agent that you talk with. Do some thorough research, interview several agents and find the one that best suits your needs. In the following lines, we will discuss some key factors that you need to consider when looking for a realtor.
Agents vs realtors
A real estate agent is a person who has been trained at a certified institution, and who passed their licensing tests. Agents can represent owners, buyers or both. After a few years of experience, most agents take the next step in their careers and they become brokers. To become a broker, an agent must pass an exam. Once they do this, they can work independently, although many still work for agencies. Last but not least, realtors are brokers or agents who belong to NAR (National Association of Realtors). The main difference between an agent and a realtor is that realtors must abide by a code of ethics and they are committed to always put their client’s best interest at heart. As such, we advise you to work with a realtor, to be certain that your interests will always come first.
Where to look for reputable realtors?
When it comes researching the market, you have two options. You can ask your family and friends for recommendations, or you can search the web for the best realtors in your area. If you opt for the internet, try to find some reviews from former customers, to get an idea of the services provided by each agent. Narrow down your choices to a few agents, and then interview them all, and see which one is a better fit for you.
Essential qualities to look for in an agent
The way that you communicate with an agent will give you an idea of whether or not the two of you can work well together. After all, communication is essential in the home-buying process, since there will be a lot of details to discuss. When talking to potential candidates, consider the following factors:
- Local expertise
A good agent should be very knowledgeable of the local market, so ask them a few questions about the neighborhoods that interest you. They should be able to tell you not only real estate trends, but also valuable information about local schools, public transportation, restaurants and much more. A knowledgeable agent should be able to answer all your questions with ease.
- Experience aligned with your interests
Beginner agents typically get small deals, featuring cheap properties. If you are looking for buy a luxurious property, you need an agent that has a lot of experience at the top level of the real estate market. For example, if you want to buy a luxury property in Hollywood Hills- Sunset Strip, you need to work with a reputable realtor like Brad Jan. He has been in the market for over 12 years, and his client base includes celebrities, royalty and industry leaders.
Some agents can take on more clients than they can handle, which can often make them unavailable at critical times. During the home buying process, you will have to meet with your agent on short notice, or provide them with various documents at critical times. While you can never be 100% sure of how responsible an agent is, you can test them by sending them a phone message or an e-mail and see how long it takes them to contact you back.