Some of the most important decisions that you will make in your lifetime are the ones associated with buying or selling a home. If you are a buyer, then you have to find the right neighborhood, the right home and the right mortgage. If you are a seller, then you have to know the right time and decide on a price. But the step that is often overlooked is finding the right real estate agent.
A real estate agent can be extremely helpful to guide you through the home-buying or selling experience. They have the knowledge and experience that you might not have. They take care of handling the paperwork so that you do not have to worry about it. When you are buying, they can help by letting you know where schools, shopping centers and hospitals are located, so you can find the home and the area that best fit your family's needs. When you are selling, they set up and oversee open houses, making your life a little easier. Therefore, you should not underestimate the value of a good real estate agent.
Here are four ways that you can find a real estate agent:
- Referrals: Ask your friends, family, or co-workers to refer you to a real estate agent with whom they had a positive home-buying or selling experience.
- Searching Online: Do a search for the top real estate companies in your area, then go to those websites and look up profiles of individual agents at offices near you.
- Attending Open Houses: This is a great way to meet real estate agents without the pressure of having to make a decision right then and there.
- Using Print Advertising: Look in your local newspaper for real estate in your area, and then look online for the agents who are advertising those homes.
One more very important factor to take into consideration is that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. All REALTORS® are real estate agents, but not all agents are REALTORS®. Although both a REALTOR® and a real estate agent are licensed to sell real estate, the basic difference between the two is that a REALTOR® belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR®), while a real estate agent does not. As a member of the NAR®, a Realtor must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which contains 17 Articles and Standards of Practice. Because of the pledge that licensed REALTORS® must make to "put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly and fairly" (Source: The REALTOR® Code of Ethics), it's likely that you'll have a much better experience if you take the time to find a REALTOR®.
When considering a real estate agent, it's important to know your goals and expectations, that is, what you want out of your real estate agent. If you have certain expectations, such as daily color ads, ad placement or a certain frequency of open houses, it is crucial that you find an agent who is on the same page. So, before you choose a real estate agent, sit down and make a list of the things you know you want to do in order to sell your house. Then find a real estate agent who will meet those expectations.
If you are buying, don't assume that your work is done after you find a good real estate agent. Be sure to continue to shop around for the best mortgage, so you can afford the home that your real estate agent finds. Always compare rates and monthly payments, and find a mortgage that fits into your budget.
Source: Informa Research Services
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