In the market for a new home?
When you’re in the early stages of house hunting, searching online or visiting open houses on the weekends may be great ways to get a feel for what’s out there, which neighborhoods you like best and what you can — or can’t — afford.But when it comes time to start looking more seriously, many people turn to the real estate experts to help them find their perfect home and navigate the buying and selling process.
5 tips for selecting a real estate professional
- Know what you’re looking for: There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between real estate agents, brokers and Realtors. Here’s a brief breakdown:
- Realtors are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and must adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which does not apply to agents or brokers.
- Real estate agents are licensed to sell real estate but cannot work independently — they must be employed by a broker.
- Brokers are licensed to sell real estate like an agent, but have more qualifications and knowledge of real estate law, and can run their own brokerage firm.
- Do your research: Whoever you choose, you should check their credentials, ask to see some of their recent listings and/or sales, and get references from some of their previous clients, if possible.
- Look for the right fit: As with any partnership, you need to click with your agent. You’re likely going to be spending a fair amount of time with them and making some big decisions together, so it will help if you trust them and if your personalities mesh.
- Make sure they understand your needs: Different agents can specialize in different areas of real estate, such as luxury homes, commercial properties or condominiums. Try to choose someone who has experience in the kind of home you want to buy, the types of neighborhoods you’re interested in and your price range.
- Start close to home: As with many decisions, a good first step is to ask people you trust — like family and friends — if they’d refer any agents, Realtors or brokers they’ve worked with and had a great experience with in the past. This is another way to ensure the agent you choose has great references.
For additional tips on specifically choosing a Realtor, check out a few tips from the National Association of REALTORS®.