Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Candidates to Interview
With real estate agents, very little works better than word of mouth, or driving around and seeing who handles a lot of listings in the areas that appeal to you. But there is also nothing wrong with going to the national organizations, or their local or regional chapters, to find a referral, particularly if you are looking for a buyer's agent. Contact:
- The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, which oversees the Realtist designation, has a find-a-Realtist page at its website, www.nareb.com.
- The National Association of Realtors' website, www.realtor.com, has a search feature, plus contacts for state and local associations, which will come in handy for checking credentials of any agent you are interested in.
- The Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, which is part of the National Association of Realtors, oversees the "Accredited Buyer's Representative" credential and can help you find a buyer broker at www.rebac.net.
If you go to the local arm of any of these groups, try this trick: Ask which firms in the area do the most business, then schedule appointments with the top-selling agents in those firms.
It won't guarantee that you find the right personality match, but it does ensure that your candidates will all be very active members of the local real estate community. The big plus to this method for a buyer is that the most active agencies are likely to have the most listings and give you the chance to see the most houses before they go out to the rest of the world.
Smart Investor Tip If you want to see how an agent will represent your house, show up at an open house they're doing for someone else. You'll get an idea pretty quick of how they come across to potential buyers.
One other plus when looking for a real estate agent is that it's easy to see them in action. While you can't see an estate-planning lawyer write up a will, you can go to open houses in your neighborhood and check out the broker in action. As a seller, this helps you see how the agent represents a home and helps the owners get it ready for a showing. In addition, going to open houses and looking at homes through the eyes of a buyer is a good "reality check." After you have done a walk-through of a houseâ
By Chuck Jaffe