Before you start looking for a realtor, you need to understand what representation actually is. Those who want to sell a property may need a specialized seller’s agent. For purchasing properties, on the other hand, you need a buyer’s agent. Either way, as soon as you sign your contract with a real estate agent, they have a legal obligation to represent you.
Firstly, you should find out how experienced your realtor is. Usually, those with the most experience are also the best ones. If you can, try to find a realtor who has worked all the way through the economic crisis and still works now. You do have to ensure they have experience that is relevant to your personal needs. Someone who wants to flip properties, for instance, will have very different needs to someone who wants to find a home to raise a family in. You also need to know that your realtor understands your demographic and geographical requirements. For example, those who want to purchase a ranch will need a realtor that understands soil conditions and production methods and who can also look into the homestead that comes with the ranch. Similarly, if you were hoping to purchase a listed or historic property, you will need someone that understands the laws and regulations surrounding those properties.
Once you have looked into experience, you must review the realtor’s reputation as well. It is easy enough to find a realtor that has a really bad name, unfortunately. Luckily, a few tools are available to you in order to find a good realtor. Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau in terms of finding out how good the realtor is. You can also use social media to your advantage. It is almost impossible to hide an opinion, good or bad, once it has appeared on social media. Also speak to people you know and ask for their opinion. If you do hear a complaint, however, make sure you find out whether that is a relevant complaint to you, and how the realtor reacted in response to the complaint.
Usually, seller’s realtors will ask you sign an exclusive agreement with them. This is completely normal, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. If, for example, you feel you are being poorly represented, you are allowed to terminate the contract. The contract stops you from enlisting the services of a different agent at the same time, but is otherwise non-restrictive. Buyers, on the other hand, usually do not have to sign these contracts. However, it is becoming more commonplace for a realtor to ask for exclusivity. Last but not least, you need to understand the way realtors earn their living. Different realtors do this in different ways. Most commonly, they work on commission although there are also some that charge a flat fee. You need to work out which of the two constructions your realtor will use before you agree to work with them.