Purchasing real estate is a significant life step.  Not only does it require large amounts of money, but it can also be an emotional investment.  Therefore, working with a real estate agent who understands your expectations and budget is essential.  

Conduct informational interviews with at least three potential agents to find an ideal real estate agent.  Compare their styles of communication, qualifications, and transaction history.  Then select one agent to represent your interests throughout the real estate buying or selling process. When buying or selling a home, working with professional real estate agencies in Birmingham, AL, can help you make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. 

Learn more about choosing the best real estate company with the ideal experience in the desired real estate market.

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Keys to real estate agency activity

Realtors help people buy and sell homes. Agents inform clients of current market conditions, guide them through each step of the process, and introduce them to other professionals such as planners and real estate attorneys. 

Buyer’s agents help buyers find and buy listed homes, submit competing offers, and negotiate business with sellers. Whereas selling agents help sellers evaluate homes, create listings, sell, and negotiate with buyers. In some cases, an agent can represent both sides of the deal, but it is better to have your agent only representing you. 

All real estate agents must have the appropriate valid official license in the state in which they work and must comply with state and national laws. Members undertake to adhere to the ethical norms and rules of the association.

The difference between real estate agents and brokers

Real estate agents undergo additional training to obtain a real estate broker’s license. Brokers must complete state courses and pass exams to become licensed. Real estate brokers may supervise other real estate agents, work with brokers, or work independently.

How to interview real estate agents 

Find potential agents by asking friends and colleagues for recommendations. Explore agents’ websites and online profiles, learn about their experience and expertise, and read customer reviews. Select at least three agents to talk to and see how they can work with you. 

You can also compare Alabama real estate companies through independent expert services. Before using these key parameters to interview a real estate agent, you need to be clear about what you expect from your agent, how you want to communicate with them, and what happens if you don’t like the agent you work with.

What should buyers and sellers ask their agents?

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself.  

First, does the agent have the proper, valid license to legally deal in real estate? To obtain a license, agents must complete a series of courses and pass exams. Check your state’s real estate commission website to see if a particular agent is licensed. 

Second, is my agent representing my best interests? You can trust that the real estate agent you choose has only your best interests at heart. 

However, in some cases, the law does not require real estate brokers to represent only the buyer or seller in a transaction. For example, a “dual agent” represents both a buyer and a seller in a single transaction. In contrast, a “commercial agent” works with both parties but has no specific legally binding duties to either party. When working with you, it is important to understand the role of the agent. The Consumer Federation of America recommends asking potential agents only if they represent your best interests throughout the process and asking for a written disclosure of cooperation. 

Real estate agents can earn professional qualifications. There are designations and certifications for working with certain client groups (such as retirees and military) and certain types of properties (such as luxury properties). Ask your agents what special training they have received.

How to contact affordable and qualified real estate representatives?

Do you prefer to communicate via text, phone, or email? Most agents use all three channels. However, make sure that you discuss the best method of contact and that the agent responds to your chosen communication method. 

How much do agents earn? Typically, the seller pays a real estate commission that the agent splits with the buyer’s agent. A typical commission for real estate agents is 5-6% of the sales price. According to the Consumer Federation of America, sellers can negotiate a lower price, especially for expensive homes. Brokers and agents may not be willing to lower the commission, but it’s worth asking. 

Also, consider if clients were satisfied with the service levels of estate agents. Ask for informative testimonials from clients who have worked with your chosen agent within the past year. Were they satisfied with the agent’s performance?  What worked and what didn’t? How did the agent communicate? A recent conversation with a client can help you understand whether the agent you choose is a good fit for you.

Tips and considerations for finding the right agent

Here are some key things to look for when choosing a home-buying agent. 

What challenges do you face as a buyer in today’s market? A good real estate agent will explain the availability of offers, the level of competition from other buyers and set realistic expectations. 

How do you find housing in the right price range? Ask for examples of how agents have helped other buyers like you in the past. This will give you an idea of the agent’s ability to meet your current needs. 

How can you help me create competitive offers and negotiate favorably with other parties in the real estate market? Find an agent who will make sure that everything will happen within the budget set by the client and that you will achieve your goal. 

What similar properties are available in my area? Agents should show you similar homes that have sold in the last 6 months and compare them to market prices and options. 

If selling, think about what price you hope to sell at and discuss that with the agent. Choose a broker that supports recommendations based on market knowledge. Also, discuss how you can improve your home. Depending on the local housing market, selling a home may require renovations. Find out the reasons why your home may need renovations and see the return on investment in these improvements.

Published by HOLR Magazine.