how to find a real estate agent

Buying or selling your home, the first step is to find a real estate agent who can guide you in making decisions.

The first thing you should understand is the difference between a real estate agent, a realtor, and a broker. It’s more than just semantics:

Real estate agent: a person who holds a state-issued license to practice real estate

Licensed real estate salesperson: the same as a “real estate agent,” more commonly used term in some geographic areas

Realtor: a member of the National Association of Realtors

Broker: a real estate agent who has extra education, a specific number of hours of experience, and who may have additional certifications, depending upon the state in which they practice

In North Carolina, individuals must complete a state-approved 75-hour broker pre-licensing course and then pass the North Carolina Licensing Exam. After receiving a broker’s license, brokers have three years to complete 90 additional hours of state-mandated post-licensing education.

Find a Broker to Help Sell Your Home

If you are buying, a broker will help you determine your budget, and make sure that you are well-informed about neighborhoods, properties in your price range, and guide your search.

Your agent will be the person negotiating on your behalf during the process of making an offer and closing on your new home, so you must have confidence in their professionalism and talents. If you are selling, a Broker Realtor will advise you on preparing your home to show to the best advantage, determine selling price, and manage listing and marketing your property.

Find a Real Estate Agent to Help You Buy or Sell a Home

How do you find a broker-realtor to work with you in your home search or sale?

Many people find a real estate broker by asking family and friends for a referral. Almost everyone knows someone who has sold or purchased a home, and their experience with the agent that worked on their transaction is a good place to start in your search for a broker realtor. If they can give the broker glowing reviews, that’s a good start. On the other hand, if they weren’t happy with the attention they received or the process of negotiations, move on in your search.

If you are looking for property in a part of the country where you have no family or friend connections to call upon, you can search online for real estate companies in the area. Click on realtors’ bios, look at agents’ listings to get a sense of what type of property they specialize in, and check out their social media.

Narrow your list of potential agents down to a four or five, and then send emails or make phone calls to get more information. A broker that takes a week to get back to you is probably not a good choice: every interaction is an indication of the type of service you will receive.

You are hiring a broker to do a very important job for you, so don’t hesitate to conduct an interview for the position. A broker should answer these questions for you:

  • How long they have been in business?
  • What area are they most familiar with?
  • How do they advertise and market properties or what tools do they use to find properties for you?
  • Can they provide current references?
  • What makes them different from other agents in the same market?
  • Can they provide you with a network of other professionals, like mortgage brokers, home inspectors, insurance agents, and title companies?
  • What are their fees?

When you are working to find a real estate agent, approach the project like a employer. You are engaging a professional, and should feel confident that the broker realtor you are working with can get the job done.


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