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Warrant Realty, Inc. Real Estate Tip of the Week:

How to Find YOUR Real Estate Professional

Now that the Holiday Season is over and the new year has begun, many families start thinking about buying a new home. In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia with one of the largest Military populations in the country, many active duty members are anticipating transfer orders to and from the area. That means more home buying and selling movement. One of the first things that should be considered when preparing to buy or sell a home is finding and working with the right Real Estate Professional.

The titles Real Estate Agent, Realtor & Broker can sometimes be confusing.

Real Estate Agents help folks buy or sell property. They hold licenses issued by a state and work under the supervision of a broker. Some agents specialize in representing buyers, some are seller’s agents (or listing agents), and many do both. When an agent represents both the buyer and seller in the same transaction they are called dual agents. (Dual agency must be disclosed upfront to both parties in order to be legal, and it’s prohibited in some states.)

Realtors are brokers and or agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional association with a code of ethics and standards. NAR has trademarked the word, Realtor. They are licensed by a state, may work under the supervision of a broker and carry the same responsibility as the above referenced agent.

Brokers are legally responsible for the actions of their agents whether they are Realtors or not. They are licensed by the state to collect fees and oversee negotiations for a purchase. Brokers can manage a real estate office, work on their own or work in an office under another broker.

No license or designation can guarantee that a real estate professional is the right person to do the job for you. The right fit depends largely on you. Whether you are a real estate newbie who needs someone to hold your hand throughout the process or have bought and sold multiple homes, know what you want, and just need an agent to deal with paperwork, there are things to be considered when searching for the right Real Estate Professional.

Compatible qualities
There’s a lot at stake in a real estate transaction – money, time, the future happiness of your family – so finding a qualified agent is important. Finding an agent based on a list from your mortgage company may not be the best way to go. Who is that agent really working for? You or the mortgage company referral service they subscribe to?

Local knowledge is a no-brainer, especially if you’re looking in a city or neighborhood you don’t know well. And because buying a home is an anxious business, you want an agent who responds quickly. You want someone who will be there when you need to make offers, check on deals or just calm your racing heart.
If you’re concerned about an agent’s integrity, you could check Better Business Bureau ratings and any outstanding disputes. And you can verify the agent’s license with your state’s real estate regulating body.

Referrals and references
Nobody knows an agent’s skill and integrity like past clients. Ask everyone you know for a referral: friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. Listen to assessments carefully, and ask follow-up questions like, “Did the closing go smoothly?” and “Did the agent help solve any problems?”

A meet-and-greet
If at all possible, never hire an agent you haven’t met in person. When you do meet with that agent, here are a few questions you might want to ask:

How long has the agent been licensed?

What percentage of their business is working with buyers/sellers?

How familiar is he or she with the area where you want to purchase?

Do they have references from other buyers/sellers who have used their services?

What are their thoughts on foreclosures, bank-owned properties or for-sale-by-owner properties?

How often will you be notified about properties that meet your search criteria?

Will the negative aspects of each property be pointed out as well as the positive aspects?

Will the agent negotiate the best price and terms for the deal?

Does the agent have a list of lenders, home inspectors, insurance agents and other professionals to recommend?

How does the agent get paid?

Does the agent require a written agreement?

What is the duration of that agreement?

How would the agent represent you as a buyer client for properties listed with their firm?

Evaluate an agent’s listings
This is trickier than it sounds. You want a potential listing agent to be successful and represent lots of satisfied customers. On the other hand, the more listings an agent has, the more divided her attention will be. Also, pages of active listings may mean nothing’s selling, which may be a reflection of the market, that particular agent’s skill, or both.

Previous and current listings may reflect the types of housing an agent likes to sell. Look for an agent who has experience selling homes in your neighborhood and for your price.

Bottom line: Pay attention to your gut. If you don’t get a good feeling about an agent, chances are you should keep looking.

Contact Warrant Realty, INC for more information on this topic or any other Real Estate related questions you may have. Register for our next FREE Home Buyer Workshop on Saturday morning February 25, 2017 from 10:00 to 12:00.

Hope this help!