Saturday, February 11, 2023 / by Amy Brown
As you probably have realized by now, the moment that you enter your contact information into that home search site to view the photos, you are going to be inundated with realtor calls wanting to solicit your business. While there are certain guidelines that all real estate agents must follow, agents differ widely in knowledge base and professional expertise. In a transaction where the financial consequences can be catastrophic, you need to choose an agent that matches your goals, can obtain the information that you desire, and that has the expertise to navigate tricky negotiations. No two states have the same real estate practices, laws, and education requirements so this is very important. Here are some search criteria that you need to look for before you commit to a real estate agent:
What is the difference between a real estate agent, real estate broker, and a realtor?
The difference between all three of these designations has to do with the amount of education, time invested, and commitment to the profession.
In order to become a real estate agent or provisional broker in North Carolina, you must take 75 hours of NC real estate principles, law, and contracts and successfully pass a national and state exam. You are then allowed to work in the field selling homes under the supervision of a broker-in-charge.
A real estate broker is required to take an additional 90 hours of coursework that focuses on real estate management and navigating controversial real estate situations. They can work as either an affiliate broker for a real estate brokerage company or as a sole proprietor.
A Realtor is a trade association that a broker chooses to be a member of designating that the real estate professional is a broker, a member of the National Association of Realtors, and has agreed to abide by an additional strict code of ethics with the required continuing education.
Confirm that the agent you are speaking to is actively licensed and is an agent in good standing. You can do this by going to the NC Real Estate Commissions website and conducting a search.
This will give you the person’s license number, date that they became a NC agent, type of agent (PB = provisional broker, B = broker), the firm that they are affiliated with, and the name of their broker in charge. Agents can still hold a license in NC and not actively be able to show or conduct a real estate transaction, so make sure that your agent’s status says “active”.
Ask for a copy of your agent’s sales production history for the last year.
Any agent worth their salt is never going to be afraid to show you their transaction history. Agents work both part-time and full-time and there are always market fluctuations depending upon the year and the point in the sales cycle. Their transaction history should reflect that. What you want to see is that they are consistently selling homes and thus keeping up their skillset in the industry.
Look on their website or one of your preferred real estate search sites for reviews or testimonials.
There is nothing better than a great review! We are a review driven society and love to express our opinion and read others when considering a product or service. The same should be said of your chosen agent. Check out their reviews and see how they are doing in the public eye.
Have a candid conversation.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. A professional may have all of the expertise in the world but if you don’t like them, you won’t work well together. Personality compatibility is so important. You want to pick an agent that can match your energy level. If you are looking for a home aggressively and eager to make a purchase, then you want an agent that is out there on the hunt daily; but if you are taking more of the scenic route and looking to move sometime within the year, then you are going to want an agent that is more relaxed.
Once you do get under contract, you are going to be working very closely with this person for several months under stressful conditions. Having a good rapport is extremely vital to a successful and stress free closing.
No matter who you choose to work with, I want you to always consider me a resource for information and assistance. Real estate is about people and taking care of one of their most basic needs ahead of your own...a safe, comfortable place to call home.