Helpful hints in choosing your REALTOR®
In making your decision to work with an agent, there are certain questions you should ask when evaluating a potential agent.
1. The first thing you should do is ask your friends, family, or co-workers for a referral - if they worked with an agent and were happy with the results.
2. Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state's governing agency.
3. Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer's search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
4. Is real estate their full-time career?
5. What real estate designations does the agent hold?
6. Does the agent have back up for when they are unavailable for a day or two?
7. How experienced is the agent in giving an opinion of value? (whether you are a buyer or a seller, you will be asking advice on the right offer, or the right listing price).
8. Which party is he or she representing - the buyer or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at "first serious contact" with you. The agent should discuss your state's particular definitions of agency, so you'll know where you stand.
9. In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?
10. Ask each agent how long the listing contract would last. The slower the market, the longer the contract an agent is likely to require. However, four to six months is typical. For slower-selling high-end homes (say, those over $1 million), agents may want a year, an agent with Windermere in Seattle. Agents don't want to risk losing the listing after they've spent a few thousand dollars on marketing and staging.