Read these 11 Tips About Real Estate Agent Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Real Estate tips and hundreds of other topics.
A realtor typically charges a percentage of the selling price of your home to list the home, market the property, and advise you during the sale and closing process. You can shop around for price, but in most communities every realtor charges about the same amount - usually 5-7% of the selling price. This may seem steep at first glance, especially in these times when half million dollar homes are commonplace. But chances are, your realtor isn't walking away from the sale with the entire commission in her pocket. Here's how it works: You pay the listing broker (your realtor) the agreed-upon percentage. If another broker brought the buyer to the transaction, the fee is split between the two brokers. Then each realtor has to split their commission with their agency. The agency gets a share (often 50%) of each commission in return for supplying the broker with office space, and marketing and administrative support.
One of the best ways to select a real estate agent is to spend a Sunday afternoon viewing Open Houses in your area. By attending an Open House, you have the ability to observe the salesperson's style, personality and professionalism. Examine the hand-outs the agent has prepared to see if they are attractive and offer the proper amount of information about the home. Determine if the agent's personality is not only one that has the potential to sell the home, but if it is a personality that you will get along with, as well.
Visit a good cross-section of homes to come up with your potential list. After narrowing it down, visit their websites to see if they are fulltime professionals and if their website is more concerned with promoting themself or the homes they have listed.
Once you have two or three potentials, arrange interviews to have them give you a price opinion of your home and to describe the marketing plan they would incorporate to get your home sold.
When you are in the market for a new home, you may want to consider using a buyer's broker. A buyer's broker is a real estate broker or agent who contracts with the home buyer rather than the home seller to represent the best interests of and negotiate on behalf of the home buyer. It's a little known fact among first-time home buyers (and even some repeat buyers) that the seller's real estate agent, while no doubt professional and probably charming to buyers, has a legal responsibility to represent the seller's best interest in all matters. No matter how likable an agent may seem to a buyer, it is important to keep that in mind. Much as a seller's agent will work to get top selling price for the client, so too will a buyer's broker strive to get the best deal for the buyer.
If you have never worked with a real estate agent before, you may be wondering what relocation services or real estate services the agent and the agency provide. It depends on whether you are buying or selling a property. If you are selling a property, the agent will provide you with a market analysis, help you set a fair price for your property, and show the property to potential buyers. Depending on the relationship the agent has with its agency, your property may be advertised at the expense of the agency, the agent, or a combination of the two. The agent will also present any offers received on your property and negotiate the best deal possible on your behalf. If you are buying a property, the services provided by an agent will depend on whether the agent is a buyer's broker (which is recommended) or the seller's agent. If you are working with the seller's agent, understand that while the agent will show you properties and do everything possible to sell you a home you are happy with, that agent's legal responsibility is to represent the best interests of the seller. If you prefer to have an agent working exclusively on your behalf, you can work with a buyer's broker. A buyer's broker is committed to the buyer's best interests. That includes showing you homes that best match your needs and finances as well as advising you during negotiations should you decide to place an offer on a property. Many real estate agents function as dual buyer/seller agents in a particular transaction. In this case, you may wish to consider hiring a real estate attorney to review any legal documents before you commit yourself to a deal.
When it comes time to sell or buy a home, finding a good real estate agent is almost as important as finding the right home. Many people see a listing they want to look at, call the number in the ad, and end up in a long-term relationship with whatever agent picked up the phone at the other end. Sometimes that works out just fine. Other times, it doesn't. To make sure you end up with a realtor who understands your particular needs and ranks high in customer satisfaction, ask your relatives, co-workers, and friends who they have used in the past. Chances are you'll not only get some good tips for which agents to call but for which agents to avoid as well. If you are buying a home, make sure you know if the agent you are working with is a buyer's broker--that is, working for you and not the seller--or is the seller's agent. If you are selling a property, make sure you are happy with the terms of service to be provided by the agent and the agency, including the commission rate.
FSBO (pronounced "fiz-bo") stands for "For Sale By Owner." Thanks to the hot real estate markets throughout the U.S.over the past few years, more and more FSBO real estate property listings are popping up in classified ads all over the country. Why? It's been a seller's market in many markets in recent years. Houses are being snapped up by buyers sometimes before the for-sale sign is even in place. If a particular house is especially desirable, very often there is a bidding war buyers and the house sometimes sells for more than the original asking price. On the surface, it appears the real estate agent has done little or no work to sell the property. While this may be true in some cases, most often the real estate agency has been involved in helping the seller price the home fairly to attract the best offers. The real estate agency pays for to advertise the property and provides expert advice and guidance to seller's. Most importantly, the real estate agent streamlines the selling process for the seller by screening the countless calls generated by a for-sale sign, showing and re-showing the home, and coordinating the various parties to the sale such as the lender, home inspector, and title insurance company. If you know for a fact that homes in your area are selling like hotcakes, discuss the possibility of a reduced commission with your agent before you sign the listing agreement. Some agents will agree to this, particularly if you agree to use their services to buy your new home.
Real estate, like the weather, is a favorite topic for many Americans. For some, it goes beyond a casual topic of conversation, though. Many people make careers in real estate. If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent, you will need to complete an accredited real estate course before taking your state's licensing exam. To find a list of accredited real estate schools in your area, contact your state's real estate licensing board. Most maintain Web sites that include important information on licensing requirements, application forms, and local real estate schools. You can find a list of real estate regulatory agencies by state by visiting the Association for Real Estate License Law Officials Web site.
Most realtors would prefer that you thing that the percentage they charge for their fee is cast in stone. As is common with any large purchase, it is, in fact, quite negotiable. Since most realtors charge similar fees, you will hear the 'you get what you pay for' argument if you try to negotiate a lower fee. The truth is, no realtor will steer a buyer away from a house they truly love for the sake of a percent or two. However, you will have the most leverage in negotiating realtor fees if you are buying and selling a home in the same community. If you list your house with a broker, and then task that broker with finding your new home as well, it's almost as though the broker is getting two commissions for the price of one. So they may be willing to deal.
The difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker pretty much boils down to experience. A real estate agent must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have completed an accredited real estate exam licensing course, have passed a real estate licensing exam, be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker, and provide proof of errors and omissions insurance. In addition to these requirements, a broker must complete additional course work, have been an actively licensed real estate agent for at least two years, and pass the broker licensing exam. You can check whether a particular agent or broker is licensed in good standing by checking with your state's real estate licensing board.
There is a sort of halfway point between a full service broker and a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). There are several 'discount brokers' who will help you sell your house, providing support and guidance, but charging a much lower fee than a realtor (2% vs. 6-7% of the selling price of the property). Assist2Sell (www.assist2sell.com) is a discount broker, with franchise offices all across the U.S. There are many local discount brokers that you can find on the Internet. Research a discount broker to be sure you know what you're getting. Have a real estate attorney look at the contract to identify anything you may need to do on your own in order to comply with local, county or state regulations.
Some people flip open the phonebook, call the first real estate agent listed, and have no problems finding the dream of their homes while others do meticulous research before deciding on which realtor to use. Working with a reputable real estate agent can mean the difference between peace of mind and losing your mind. Before you agree to work with any real estate agent, you should conduct some due diligence. In other words, check the realtor out with family and friends. Have they used this agent before? What did they think of the service they received? You can also check with your state's real estate licensing board to make sure the agent is licensed and in good standing in your state. Finally, you may want to contact the local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the agent or the agency.