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Which Real Estate Agent is right for you?
 
Picking the right agent can make all the difference
 
There is a general misconception that buying or selling a house is simply cruising through open houses or sticking a “For Sale” sign in your front yard. A professional real estate agent is an integral part of the entire buying/selling process. Finding the right agent is important. For those individuals thinking about forgoing an agent there are several questions you have to ask yourself: Do I have the time energy and know how to research the housing market in the neighborhoods I’m interested in? Can I market a property effectively? Can I read real estate contracts and, if selling a home, do I understand my legal obligations toward buyers?
 
Buying and selling real estate is probably the largest transaction any of us will make in our lifetimes. There is so much at stake and is extremely complicated. Working with a professional real estate agent will help you find the right property at the right price, or negotiate the best possible deal.
 
Here are some helpful hints on how to pick the right real estate agent.
 
* Any time you hire someone to work for you they are put through an interview process. A real estate agent will be working on your behalf so it is essential to interview them. Some you will like, some you will not. Interview candidates from different agencies. Look into their qualifications. How many years have they been on the job and how competent are they? Have there been any complaints filed with the State Board of Realtors? Finally, how compatible are you? There’s no underestimating the importance of personality when choosing a real estate agent.
 
* It is important that the agent knows the housing market in the areas that you are looking to buy in or sell. Ask the agent how familiar you are with these neighborhoods. Agents with a history of transactions in neighborhoods that interest you will know what’s available and in what price range. If you’re listing your property, a good agent will know the market well enough to set an optimum asking price attractive to both seller and buyer.
 
* One of the most powerful tool that a real estate agent has is the Multiple Listing Service (M.L.S.). This service inventories all available properties by region. A professional real estate agent can use the M.L.S. and their own experience, to find the homes in neighborhoods that match your personal requirements (quality school system, convenient shopping, close highway access, etc) and fall into your price range.
 
Keep in mind that the real estate agent you choose is a business partner in probably the largest financial transaction you will ever experience. Make sure the agent you choose is always ready willing and able to handle all of your needs. Be sure that communication stays open and phone calls are returned. Some agents employ assistants to handle much of their legwork. If this is the case, be certain your agent is the one present and accounted for when it comes time to check the contracts and close the transaction. If an agent wants you to sign a working contract, be sure to know what exactly you are signing.
 
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