Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent
It’s easy to be confused between the terms “real estate agent” and “real estate broker.” They are often interchanged and they usually mean the same thing. The term “agent” is often the blanket title used when referring to most real estate professionals, though it may not reflect the highest level of training they have completed.
- A “real estate agent” is licensed by the state’s real estate commission, which means they have completed prerequisite courses and passed an exam.
- A “real estate broker” has experience as an agent, completed additional training courses, earned certifications, and usually has some managerial responsibility within an existing real estate company.
- A “REALTOR®” is an official member of the National Association of REALTORS®, a voluntary step that makes them a part of an organization of over 1.3 million agents, brokers, and appraisers involved in the business of residential and commercial real estate. They abide to a high standard ethics and have access to a wealth of training available to all members of the association.
How to Find the Right Agent
You don’t have to take the first real estate agent you come across. Consider several agents – their interests, training, and location and then narrow it down to a few that seem to best fit your requirements.
For example, if you are hoping to have a new home there are training designations that an agent can earn that provide extra knowledge in the details of working with a builder, contractors, and specific bank financing.
If you are looking for a bank-owned property. there are agents that have specialized experience in Real Estate Owned (REO) property, which means the home is owned by the bank.
When you’ve narrowed down your list, interview those agents to see how their personality fits your own. Ask about their level of experience, their track record, referrals or reviews, what skills they have that will assist your individual concerns or needs, and how easily they can be reached during the process.
Setting Reasonable Expectations
Once you have chosen your agent, take some time to review both your and your agent’s expectations, regarding what you are looking for in a property and what you expect by way of communications. This will help things get off to a smooth start and keep the process moving.
Here are some topics worthy of discussion:
- Communication: How often do you want to be contacted? What is your preferred method of staying in touch? Phone, email, txt, or in-person?
- Motivation: Why are you looking to buy a home at this time? How motivated are you? What is most important — location, size, features, or price?
- Timeframe: Is there a certain date that you will need to be in your new home? How flexible is that date?
- Price: Have you determined a price range for your property search and been preapproved by a bank if you need a mortgage?
- Home buying decisions: Are there any other people who will be involved in your decision-making process? If so, who will be the main point of contact? Whose name will be on the deed and mortgage?
- Home search plan: Do you have a plan to find your next home? Do you plan on attending open houses, do online searching on your own, and want to consider FSBO? Your agent can help but he/she has to know ahead of time.
- Concerns: Are there any concerns or challenges you are worried about? Present them to your agent.
When you’re ready to begin the interviewing process to find that perfect agent, be sure to contact us at Manhattan Real Estate. We think you’ll find us to be personable, easy to work with, and thoroughly knowledgeable about the Manhattan real estate market at any point in time.