How to Find a Real Estate Agent you can Trust

A good real estate agent will guarantee a bigger price for your property, get it sold faster, and attract the best buyers, however, a bad real estate agent will drain your funds, cause you to settle for less, and end up having you commit more time and money than you should need.  Real estate agents are numerous, so being able to filter out the noise and get a real estate agent that understands your needs and can work with you to get your property sold to the best qualified buyer.

Are they Licensed and Certified?

This one is easy, right off of the bat, check to see if any real estate agent is licensed by the state to do business by going online and searching for their name on the official database.  Many real estate agents will also sport additional credentials, like CRS, or Certified Residential Specialist.  These added certifications prove that they have undergone additional training to specialize in residential property sales, for example.

ABR, or an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, means they’re trained to represent buyers at the time of sale.  Finally, another popular certification is the Seniors Real Estate Specialist, or SRES, which means they have experience dealing with real estate sales for baby boomers, or anyone who is at least over 50 years old.

Certified Realtors are official members of the NAR, which is an association of realtors that abide by a code of ethics and must uphold certain standards.  If you come across a realtor that has earned the title of “Realtor of the Year” then you should make an effort to try and secure their business, as this is a noteworthy accomplishment in the field.

Do your Homework

While researching real estate agents, start your selection process by researching their previous client reviews.  You can ask them to provide you contacts for their recent sales, then you can find out how satisfied those clients were with their services.  Not all home sales are considered success stories, so find out the truth and see how your home stacks up with their previous work.

Level of Experience

When you check online to verify their license with the state, you can see how long they have been practicing locally, but they should have at least five years total real estate experience, to be safe.  Their previous history in real estate sales should give you a good idea as to what their comfort level is with price ranges, demographics, and environmental knowledge.  The wider the range of these real estate metrics, the more comfortable and confident your agent will be, in general.  

While you’re at it, stop to take a look at the agent’s current listings online.  Don’t just rely on their own homepage, you can try looking on realtor.com and other directories to get more search tools at your fingertips, which will allow you to draw better comparisons from similar real estate listings, for example.  Although, it is a good idea to see the quality of their own homepage, see how much care they put into crafting their public image.

If the real estate agent you’re considering doesn’t have any current listings that relate to your own, you should save yourself the guesswork and continue searching for a better match.  A good variety and volume of real estate listings means they are in-demand, but make sure that they aren’t too busy to the point where they look like they would be unable to denote enough time to get your house sold.

Survey your Surroundings

Never go into a market blind, know which properties in the neighborhood are also for sale or have been sold recently.  You real estate agent should have an idea about these properties, too, it shows initiative and understanding of the local market.  They must also be aware of any noteworthy surroundings that could help or hurt your listing.  Important landmarks include: vicinity of nearby schools, hospitals, jails, shopping plazas, parks, farmer’s markets, airport, and major sports facilities.  

Real estate agents that go the extra mile and know how to ‘beautify’ their listings are the ones who get houses sold, no matter how many other houses are on the block with a “for sale” sign in their front yard.