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How To Guide 2022: How to choose a real-estate agent – Davis Enterprise

Sometimes it feels like every time you turn around you meet another real estate agent, but how does one find a great Realtor who has solid experience, credibility, and strong ethics? As with finding a delicious restaurant, a good hairstylist, or a relaxing vacation spot, look to your friends and family as an ideal source for a referral.

It’s important to delineate between a real estate agent and a Realtor. A Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States. Realtors must adhere to a strict code of ethics founded on the principles of the “Golden Rule” requiring them to cooperate with each other to further the best interests of consumers and their clients. All California real estate agents must take courses and pass an exam from the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) in order to obtain their license to sell real estate. Every four years, continuing education and ethics courses must be taken before their license can be renewed.

Finding a reliable, reputable Realtor is essential when you are considering buying or selling a home. These professionals will guide you through the complex process of negotiations, contracts, and disclosures to the desired end-result of a successfully closed sale. They also will inform you of the precise steps to take before buying or selling, and often this advance preparation is the most critical part of the process.

Where to start looking

Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a qualified real estate agent or Realtor. Ask people in your social network for referrals. Sometimes agents have a niche helping clients purchase homes (buyer’s agent), or sell them (listing agent), but most agents serve in both roles. Keep this in mind when searching for the right professional.

If you need a buyer’s agent, ask the agent for a list of their buyer-represented sales and testimonials; if you need a listing agent, ask them for a list of their seller-represented sales and testimonials. While many of the skillsets needed on the buying and listing side are the same, there are some unique differences.

Another great way to meet an agent is by attending open houses. Often the agent holding a house open is not the listing agent of that property and seeing them in action at an open house offers a great way to get to know them. Talking to agents at open houses is a comfortable and informal way to meet, ask questions about the market, and determine if their personality is a good fit for you.

What next?

Whether buying or selling, you’ll want to have an initial consultation with your prospective real estate professional to ask questions and determine your comfort level while interacting with them. Do you get the feeling they are genuinely concerned about your needs, or is their primary concern their commission? Do they know the current housing market and trends? Can they negotiate a contract?

Do they have strong relationships with inspectors and tradespeople who may be needed during the purchase or sale?  Many buyers and sellers interview more than one agent prior to selecting one. You and your agent will work closely together over what could be a significant span of time, so it’s important that you find someone who aligns well with your needs.

Communication and planning

Your agent should be an effective communicator. If you are selling your home, your agent should develop an effective marketing plan, explain it to you and respond to any questions or concerns you have. This plan will involve the marketing and advertising of your home. Will there be public open houses, or will your home be shown by appointment only? How will print advertising and social media be used?

If you are purchasing a home, allow your agent to recommend local lenders to you so that you can get pre-approved, a vital step before you go out to look at property. With your agent you’ll want to discuss your non-negotiable “needs” vs. negotiable “wants” as well as your budgetary limits. For example, you may “need” three bedrooms minimum so looking at two-bedroom homes is out of the question; you may “want” a swimming pool but be willing to look at homes without pools.

Above all, your real estate agent should provide consistent updates on the process. If you find yourself working with an agent who ends up difficult to get ahold of or who doesn’t return texts, calls or emails, you might consider terminating your relationship and seeking a new Realtor.

Your Realtor for life

If you have a positive experience buying/selling real estate, chances are you will refer your Realtor to others and call upon him/her when you need help in the future. A great Realtor is highly connected to their community and can assist you with recommendations for many things beyond real estate. Many Realtors are connected with networks across the country and can help you find a competent Realtor in another location if you want help buying or selling elsewhere.

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