HOUSE TO HOME

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Sep 2016

How to Find the Right Real Estate Professional

When it comes to buying a house, you’ll want to find a real estate professional who will give you the best advice about the housing market, be honest with you about [house prices versus your budget](https://atlanticbay.com/blog/finances/how-what-can-i-afford-is-the-wrong-question/ "How 'What can I afford?' is the wrong question"), and be accessible to you.

Ways to find a good real estate professional

Ask a mortgage banker

Talking to a mortgage banker is a great start. Not only can you [start the pre-qualification process, but they can also tell you about REALTORS® or real estate agents that they work with. You can then interview the real estate professional to see if they’re a good fit for you.

Get a referral from a friend

Talk to family and friends who’ve recently purchased a home in the neighborhood you’re considering buying a home in. They can tell you who they used and whether or not they’d use them again. You’ll be able to not only learn about their full experiences with the agent, but you’ll also be able to ask questions.

Check out online listing sites or real estate organizations

Zillow and Trulia both give you access to available real estate professionals in your area. They may even have reviews from recent clients for you to read and get an idea of who the agent is as a person and professional. The National Association of REALTORS® is also a good source for contacts and information regarding reputable real estate professionals. You can search for a local chapter to find people who know the current housing market in your local community. Finding an agent who knows your community well and is knowledgeable in the local housing market could significantly help you in the home-buying process.

Attend an open house or tour of homes

One of the best ways to find an eager and active real estate agent is to attend some open houses in the neighborhood you’re considering buying in, even if you aren’t interested in the specific home being showcased. You can start a conversation about what you may be looking for and get a feel for the real estate agent’s interest in helping you.

Traits of a good real estate professional

Make a list of the things that are important to you in your home search – from the features of the home, to location, to how available you need the real estate professional to be. Are you constantly on the run and need someone who’s mobile-accessible? Is this your first time and need someone who’ll take time to thoroughly explain everything beginning to end?

Your real estate agent or REALTOR® should have your best interests in mind at all times, therefore, let them know what’s important to you so that they can focus on it.

Someone who’s good at what they do will already anticipate what you may need and will be ready with a plan of attack to keep the home search moving forward. You should feel comfortable talking to your real estate professional about budget, neighborhoods, time-frames, and expectations about when you need to close on the mortgage and move into your new home.

While you’ll be working hand-in-hand with a mortgage banker and a real estate professional at the same time, your real estate agent should be just as up-to-date with mortgage products and the status of your application process. Communication is key for having a strong relationship with your real estate agent. A good real estate professional will make sure to be responsive, approachable, and open to your preferred methods of being reached — If you prefer texts, they’ll work hard to accommodate.

Difference between real estate agent and REALTOR®?

When you start searching for a real estate professional, you’ll come across a lot of different titles such as broker, agent, REALTOR®, assistant, professional, salesperson, and associate. It can seem overwhelming or confusing.

Agent

An agent is anyone with a real estate license and the most general term used in the business.

Broker

A broker is someone who has a real estate license but also has a broker’s license. They have the ability to screen and hire other agents to work for them.

REALTOR®

REALTORS® are licensed real estate agents who are also members of the National Association of REALTORS®. They’re required to meet the specific standards of the association to be able to use that title.

It’s always beneficial to find someone who takes continuing education classes, attends webinars and seminars, goes to conferences, and takes advantage of every opportunity to learn more about real estate, mortgages, the housing market, and regulations. By working with such an agent, it will help put your mind at ease knowing that you’re truly working a knowledgeable professional.

Once you find the right real estate agent, the right house is soon to follow. Learn what questions to ask a real estate agent when you’re going through the process of finding one by contacting a mortgage banker.