As with anything, there are good realtors and bad realtors out there. If you are thinking about buying or selling a house, you want to have a good realtor in your corner, especially in this economy. Houses are still selling at low prices, but a good realtor can get you the best price for your home. Also, because home prices are so low, people are starting to buy houses again in many areas of the country, so you want a realtor that is going to get you the best deal on your new house too. Gone are the days when people could sell and buy their own houses. It's a much better bet to find a realtor if you're planning on buying or selling a house.
When you use a realtor to buy or sell a house, you are essentially hiring that person to do a job for you. At closing, part of your closing costs will be a fee that you pay your realtor. As with any employee or anyone providing you with a service, you will want to interview your realtor before you get started with the buying or selling process. You can tell a lot of things about a person in an interview, especially when you go in with questions prepared. You can ask how many homes the realtor has bought or sold in the past month, or where he or she usually works. You might also want to get a sense of his or her family life. You want someone who has been through the buying and selling process with their own home too, so you know that they know how stressful it can be.
Check the Listings
If you're on the buying end of the equation, when your realtor starts showing you listings for houses, make sure he or she is not also the listing agent. When that happens, your realtor will be making a fee based on selling and buying the house for his or her clients. The fee is a percentage of the price of the home, so if you are looking at a house your realtor listed, he or she is really working in his or her own best interest. You can also feel free to email them listings you've found on your own to be sure you're seeing the houses you want to see.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask
When you have questions, you shouldn't be afraid to ask your realtor. They're there for you to answer any questions you have. This is especially important if you are buying or selling your first house. Your realtor should walk you through the process, but he or she can't possibly know all the questions you might have. If you feel like you can't ask your realtor questions, it's probably time to find someone new.
Honesty is the best policy, and that goes for buying and selling a house, too. When you are selling a house, you need to disclose certain problems - like water damage or mold - to your realtor and the buyers. If you try to hide this information, you'll be facing legal issues down the line. Also, if you are casually looking at houses, or if you need to move right away, tell your realtor that in your discussions about buying a house. Your realtor will work around the clock to get you into a great place. But if you're not ready to buy quite yet, they deserve to know that too. You should also be upfront about your budget if you are buying a house, and what you want to get if you are selling a house. All of this information can help them help you.