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Important Considerations When Hiring A Real Estate Agent

When you're ready to buy or sell property, having a real estate agent to do the heavy lifting for you is a good idea. But how do you find an agent that's right for you? You can start by doing an Internet search for agents in your local real estate area, and then checking out their company web sites. Alternatively, you can ask friends and family for names of agents they've successfully worked with in the past.

No matter which road you take, you'll find agents with unique strategies and personalities. Before you sign an agreement with an agent, make sure you take the time to ask them a few critical questions to determine if they'll be a good match for your personality, and whether they'll be effective in helping you buy or sell your home.

One of the first questions to ask in an interview is whether or not the agent is a REALTOR® or a real estate agent.

REALTORS® and real estate agents are both licensed to sell real estate, but a REALTOR® has voluntarily become a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. To maintain membership in this organization, agents must adhere to a strict code of ethics that are intended to protect both buyers and sellers in a transaction. REALTORS® are also expected to have greater real estate expertise than their non-REALTOR® counterparts, and to ensure that their clients receive the highest level of service.

Knowing how long the agent has been in the industry is also a good indicator of the type of service you'll receive with an agent. There are certainly new agents who can provide sound advice and first-class customer service, but generally speaking you want an agent who has experienced both the ups and downs of the realty market. If they can be successful even when the market has stagnated, it's a good sign that the agent truly knows what they're doing. Hiring someone new isn't always a mistake, but make sure that you feel confident in the skills and experience of whoever you choose to hire.

In addition to hiring someone with experience, you also want an agent that works full time in the business. There are many part time agents out there, but it's better to hire someone whose sole focus is on the real estate market. Working full time enables agents to be on top of the happenings in both the local and national markets, which is the kind of expertise you want your agent to have.

Ask the agent about their marketing strategies. If you're selling your home, this is particularly important. You want to make sure that your property gets exposed to buyers through traditional print advertising and online marketing. If you're buying, you want to know what the agent's plan is to get you a great price on the home you want to buy.

If you're selling your home, it's imperative to find out how many houses the agent has sold in the last year, how many days the average property sat on the market for, and what the average difference there was between the listing price and the selling price. These figures will tell you a great deal about how effective your agent is at choosing the right price, marketing the home, and negotiating a deal.

You also want an agent who's had a lot of experience in your local community. In order to really 'sell' the property to prospective buyers, the agent needs to be ready to answer all questions about the neighborhood, the local school system, and nearby amenities.

It's important to hire an agent who has an assistant who'll be available for you when the agent can't be. You deserve to have your inquiries answered quickly, and to be informed as soon as there's a hot new property on the market, or an offer on your house has come in. Because your agent can't be in two places at once, make sure that he has someone to back him up when he isn't available.