Before you start looking for a realtor, you need to understand what representation actually is. A seller’s agent will represent you if you are looking to sell your property. If, on the other hand, you want to buy a property, then 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 tend to deliver the best service. If you find someone who was operating before the financial crisis and is still in business today, you are on to a really good one. You also need to make sure that the experience they have is relevant to you. For instance, the needs of a first time buyer are very different from the needs of a national property developer. The second important thing is that they understand your demographic requirements and are able to deal with those. For example, if you want to become a rancher, you need to find a realtor that is able to understand the different types of land, how it has been produced and what the homestead is like. If, however, your interests lie in historic or listed buildings, you will need a very different type of realtor.
The other very important thing to look into is reputation. It is easy enough to find a realtor that has a really bad name, unfortunately. Thankfully, there are also a number of tools that you can use to find the good ones. Make sure you review the realtor you are considering through the Better Business Bureau. Social media is another very important tool. People leave comments and reviews through social media that are hard to ignore or hide by companies, so this is a great way to get an honest opinion. Do also ask the opinion of people you know. But remember to always consider whether any complaints are relevant to you and see how they were resolved.
If you are selling, you are likely to have to sign an exclusive realtor agreement. It is a very normal thing to do but you still have most of the same rights. For example, if you realtor does not represent you properly, you can always terminate the contract. The contract, essentially, just means that you can only work with a single realtor at the same time. You are not obliged to sign this type of contract if you want to buy. However, there are now more and more realtors who do request it. Last but not least, you need to understand the way realtors earn their living. There are a number of constructions realtors can use. In most cases, you will find that a realtor is paid a commission on the final sale price of the property, but some work on flat fees. Before you agree to work with a specific realtor, you have to find out which type of payment construction they opt for.