The housing market is heating up with many people looking to buy and sell property. For some it’s a first home, for others it might be downsizing or moving to a new locale. No matter the reason, when it comes to dealing with details and mountains of paperwork, most people opt to work with a trusted professional.
If you’re looking for a real estate service provider, your BBB® advises:
Get Referrals. Ask friends and family for recommendations of real estate agents or companies they’ve worked with in the past. Ask if they were satisfied with their experiences and if they would use the Realtor or company in the future. Look for someone in your area who is knowledgeable about neighborhoods and the community.
Interview Candidates. Make a list of at least three professionals and schedule times to meet with each. If you are selling your home, each professional will give a listing presentation that allows you to become familiar with his or her background and marketing plan for your home. They will also present a market analysis that provides an overview of similar houses in your area that have recently sold. Ask to see samples of the current agent’s listings. Ask how long each has been in the business, how long they’ve been with their current company and if they work full or part time. Find out if you’ll be dealing directly with the agent or if he/she has a team.
Request References. Ask the real estate agent to provide a list of references. Contact the references and ask about their experiences with the agent. This will give you an idea if the agent or company suits your needs. Also, check out BBB Business Reviews for real estate professionals at wynco.bbb.org.
Ask if They are an Agent or Realtor. A real estate agent is required to take real estate courses and pass a licensing exam before practicing. Every licensed agent has taken the same courses and passed the same exam, but a Realtor with a capital “R” is a member of the National Association of Realtors and is held to a specific code of ethics while practicing real estate.
Discuss Compensation. Real estate professionals are usually compensated through commission, which ranges from 5 to 7 percent of the selling price, but it can vary from area to area. The percentage of the commission fee can sometimes be negotiated depending on the housing market. The agent receives commission regardless of who finds the buyer, but receives no commission if the property doesn't sell.
Carefully Read the Contract. Be wary of agents and Realtors who pressure you to sign documents immediately. Carefully and completely read the documents and make sure all of your questions are answered. If you are selling your home, usually you sign a contract granting the agent exclusive rights to sell your property within a period of time. Make sure to ask about the length of that period of time.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org.