Choosing a Real Estate Agent

With over 2 million licensed real estate agents and brokers across the United States, chances are you won’t have a problem finding one to help you sell or buy your home. Choosing an agent, however, is another story. Here are a few ways to narrow down your choices.

Credentials. Obviously, you should only be considering agents who have been licensed by the state you live in. But there are more advanced credentials as well. Only about one quarter of real estate pros hold designations such as GRI (Graduate Realtors Institute) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), which require additional, specialized real estate training.

Outcomes. The agent with the most “experience” isn’t necessarily the best. After all, she could have plenty of experience in showing homes, but very little in actually selling them. So instead of asking about experience, ask about outcomes: how many homes did she sell last year? How close did she get to the initial asking price? How many days does it take her to sell the average home? How does that compare to the overall market? Etc.

Marketing. You’re not just looking for an agent who will sell your home—you’re looking for an agent who will create buzz and competition, and these days that takes an innovative approach. Ask a prospective agent how they plan to market your property. Choose an agent with a website, an agent who uses social media, an agent who’s technology savvy and willing to do whatever it takes. You don’t want someone who’s just going to put a sign in the yard and hope for the best.

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