How to find the right Real Estate Agent
Does it Matter?
Well, yes, sure it does. But Why?
More importantly, how do you go about finding the right one? You’ll be learning more about it real soon.
But first, All REALTORS® are NOT the same. Some questions to start off with:
- Are they a Real Estate Agent, or are they a REALTOR®?
- Are they a full time agent, or part-time agent. (This isn’t always a huge factor, but it’s good to know up front).
- What experience do they have? At least a little?
- Will they be working for YOU or do they actually represent the Seller?
Let’s Dive in…
1. Real Estate Agent or REALTOR®
There is a difference. Most people tend to use the word Realtor® when describing all agents. But did you know that’s actually not the case?
– A Real Estate Agent is pretty much anyone who has a real estate license.
– A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, and they are held to a higher standard of ethics.
You can read more about the specific differences here: Real Estate Titles Explained
2. Full time or Part Time?
You’ve probably noticed it too. It seems everyone knows someone who has a real estate license.
Admit it, someone you know has told you at some point or another that they hold a real estate license for the following reasons:
- JUST IN CASE – “you know, just in case someone I know wants to sell or buy a house.”
Interpretation: So they can make a commission off of you.
- FOR REFFERALS – “if someone I know wants to buy or sell a home… I can make a referral”
Interpretation: So they can just make a commission (referral fee) off of you.
- JUST SOMETHING TO FALL BACK ON eh, if my current career doesn’t work out, I’ll have a real estate license to fall back on
- … and the list goes on …
There are many reasons, and ones you should keep in mind when selecting whether or not to use them for one of the most important transactions of your life!
Just because someone is part-time, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be able to do their best. I know a lot of fantastic part-time agents. In fact, we have part-timers on our staff, but they are backed up and heavily supported by our (yup, you guessed it) our Full-Time Agents!
A full time agent normally dedicates themselves to making real estate a “career”.
Not just something they can turn on & off at will, when they get bored… or when they need to make a few extra bucks.
YMMV. Take all of the above into consideration when choosing someone. Having someone who does this as a full time career and not just a weekend hobby, might just be an important consideration.
3. Experience Matters
Tell me, Would you consider getting a tooth pulled by your friend whom you watch football with while sharing a few beers, and happens to watch lots of DIY Videos on YouTube and can save you a few bucks instead of visiting your actual dentist?
Oh. No? Yea, me neither.
There is a plethora of information you can find about real estate all over the internet. But it doesn’t replace the need for an experienced real estate agent to guide you through the process at the same time.
Start with asking your agent a few questions.
- How many homes have they sold?
- When was the last time they actually sold a house?
- How long have they been in the business?
- What exactly are they going to do for you? Will they just “show up” when it’s time to collect a check?
Hey! Don’t do your Agents Job!
Ohhhh… this one is a doozey. One we see alot.
Folks, please don’t do your agent’s job for them. I can’t tell you how many buyers call me to schedule appointments when they are working with an agent. These buyers do their own research on the houses, schedule their own appointments, even sometimes show up without their agents and yet that same invisible agent expects to collect a big paycheck when the property closes? Do you see something wrong with this picture?
Let your agent work for you! It’s what they are getting paid to do! Really.
Feel funny asking them these questions?
There’s another way. Just Google them!
I’ll be willing to bet you can find lots of great info on them, and if there is a lack thereof… then that may be a reason to want to investigate them further. Ask around about them. Word of Mouth is an amazing tool.
Did you know you can look up any real estate agent’s license online to see when they actually started their career, as well as any current disciplinary issues?
Check it out: Research a Real Estate Licensee
*Having said all of this. Please remember, all agents had to have their first start somewhere. So even if the agent is fairly new, they may be willing to work really hard for you! Just ask my own customers from 17 years ago! 😉
4. Does the Agent work for the BUYER or the SELLER?
Did you know that when you visit an Open House, and make an offer on that house, that more often than not that agent MAY NOT REPRESENT YOU! They may represent the Homeowner!
Think of it this way: You’re kinda sorta the Fish. The Open House is the Bait. Don’t bite without making sure you don’t get hooked. Have a BUYER’S agent of your own beside you, one who can protect your interests and help you negotiate. Use their experience to your benefit.
Not sure who is on your side? Just Ask.
However, by law, your real estate agent should’ve already told you. They are supposed to provide you with a Mandatory Agency Disclosure at the first meeting to discuss a specific property.
(With Open Houses, this disclosure is supposed to be posted at the open house, although most buyers fail to even notice this!)
If you visit a house for the first time with a Massachusetts real estate agent, and they do not provide you with this disclosure, they are breaking the law!
This disclosure clearly explains to a consumer who that particular agent works for.