Week by week we’re leading you through the steps towards homeownership. Starting with assessing your credit score and moving onto saving for a down payment and getting preapproved. The next step in the process? Finding a real estate agent who will work for you.
What To Look For
Any google search, community bulletin board, or a poll of your Facebook friends will yield name after name of local real estate agents. How do you weed through all these names to find the right one for you?
Here are a few starting points.
- Look at their titles. A Realtor (with a capital R) is an agent or broker who has partnered with the National Association of Realtors. This means they stick to a strict code of ethics and workmanship. A real estate agent (no capital R) has their license, which takes hundreds upon hundreds of hours to achieve and includes passing a state exam. Brokers are agents with people hired to work under them.
- Shop around. Yes, taking a recommendation from your best friend’s mom or using the Realtor who lives down the street may work out for you in the long run. But what if it doesn’t? Purchasing a home is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions you ever make. Why settle? Look at this relationship like you would a business deal. And you should– you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Find someone who will work for you.
- Ask interview questions! When you’re considering agents, think about asking questions like, “how long have you had your license?” “How long have you lived in this area?” “Do you work alone or with a team?”
Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you want! The right Realtor for you will want to check items off your wish-list and will be just as excited as you are when you find your forever home.