This was originally published on Monday, May 13, 2019, in the Pacific Daily News. Click here to subscribe to the PDN.
A real estate agent who understands your needs can assist you in making a confident decision when buying or selling a home. Real estate agents promote themselves with yard signs and online ads, but finding the right agent can be tough.
You want to ensure that your agent fits your needs and produces the outcome you desire. Here are several ways to find a great real estate agent whether you are buying or selling your home:
Referrals from other clients. One of the best compliments a real estate agent can receive is positive word-of-mouth reviews from satisfied clients. If others were pleased with their experience, chances are you will be, too. Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information.
You want someone who specializes in what you’re selling. It’s best to interview at least three agents before picking one. When interviewing a real estate agent for the job, first look to see that they do a lot of business and if their previous customers are satisfied. Second, go with your gut feeling. If it feels right, they may be the realtor for you.
License, disciplinary actions. Check with your local regulatory body to find out whether an agent you’re considering is licensed and whether the agent has any disciplinary actions or complaints.
Credentials. Like doctors, real estate agents have specialties. Some agents get additional training in particular areas. A real estate agent may have advanced training and credentials. A certified residential specialist has completed additional training in handling residential real estate. An accredited buyer’s representative has completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions. And a seniors’ real estate specialist has completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers age 50-plus.
An agent who is a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and has formally pledged to a code of ethics.
Experience and knowledge. Ultimately, you want someone who is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. You will want an agent to demonstrate knowledge of the area and real property in your price range. The local licensing authority often can tell you how long an agent has been in business.
Ask about recent selling prices of other neighborhood homes. Is the agent well-informed about the community and special features of the neighborhood? Are they honest about something that could be a concern, such as previous structural damage?
A good agent should know about other properties that are available in the area. If the agent knows the property and can give you a few details, that may indicate he or she really knows the area. You want someone who is knowledgeable about the market.
Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 24 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at http://www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.