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There’s a lot to do when you decide to buy or sell a house. It’s not just a matter of dialing up a real estate agent and saying, “Go to it.” As a homeowner, you need to give your agent all of the information necessary to make a sale or a home purchase happen according to your wants and needs. An experienced agent has the knowledge to help you get the maximum value for your house or the best value for the home of your dreams.
Always check to be sure an agent is fully licensed. Most states make agent licensing information available online; you can also check the Real Estate Licensee Verification Database. The National Association of Realtors provides information about credentials and specializations so you can make certain you’re working with a fully-qualified representative. Real estate companies also list their agents online, including information that can tell you about their experience and what kinds of properties they usually deal in (residential or commercial, for example).
Client references are another good way to check an agent’s background. In addition to learning whether previous clients were happy with the service the agent provided, you can find out how long an agent’s properties were on the market. Don’t assume that an agent is available full-time. Many work on a part-time basis, often on weekends, as a means of augmenting another salary.
Fees and commissions
The seller normally pays the agent’s fee or commission, though the buyer may contribute in certain markets. It’s usually a percentage of the final sales price paid to the broker, of which the agent gets a portion. It’s usually possible to negotiate a commission based on what you need an agent to do for you.
Find out what an agent will do
Determine what services an agent will perform on your behalf before making a commitment. Agents can help you prep and stage your home, find ways to market a property, ensure that professional photos of your home are taken and displayed online and in marketing materials, and develop market analyses that can aid you in setting an asking price. Agents should remain accountable to you and willing to meet on a regular basis. Ask a lot of questions before formally agreeing to work with an agent.
Decide what you’ll demand
Decide what you’ll expect from your agent beforehand, and make those expectations clear once you decide on someone. If you’re not sure what exactly an agent does, do your homework so you know what to realistically expect.
A real estate agent can be an invaluable asset whether you’re selling or buying. Real estate can be confusing, and as one of the most important transactions of your life, it requires a certain level of expertise that an agent can provide. Learning what an agent can do for you is one of the first things you should do when preparing to enter the market.