Clearwater, Fla. (970 WFLA) - With home sales soaring, the news headlines regarding the housing market are much different now than they were a few years ago. If you’re a seller, you’re in luck. Buyers on the other hand have to look a little harder to find the right fit at the right price. Better Business Bureau wants consumers to be smart in choosing the right real estate agent or Realtor to help you get the best deal.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 40 percent of existing homes sold in the U.S. are here in the South. That’s around two million homes.
So far in 2013, BBB received nearly 400 complaints nationally regarding real estate agents. Some complaints allege their agent was not properly organized or was not able to sell their home in the timeframe discussed. Other complaints allege their agent was rude or uncooperative.
A good Realtor or real estate agent can help you determine how much your home is worth, devise a strategy to market the property, help judge whether prospective buyers are financially qualified to purchase your home and coordinate many of the financial details involved in closing the deal.
When looking for a real estate service provider, BBB advises consumers:
- Get referrals. Ask friends and family for recommendations of real estate agents or companies they’ve worked with in the past. Ask if they were satisfied with their experiences and if they would use the realtor in the future. Check with bbb.org to see the company’s BBB Business Review for history of complaints, details about those complaints and any advertising issues or government actions. Use bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business.
- Interview candidates. Make a list of at least three professionals and schedule times to meet with each of them. If you are selling your home, ask each professional to give a specific marketing plan for your home, a market analysis with an overview of similar houses in your area that have recently sold and samples of their current listings. Find out if you’ll be dealing directly with the agent or if he/she has a team.
- Request references. Ask the real estate agent to give you a list of references. Contact the references and ask about their experiences with the agent. This will give you an idea if the agent or company suits your needs.
- Ask if they are an Agent or Realtor. A real estate agent is required to take real estate courses and pass a licensing exam before practicing. Every licensed agent has taken the same courses and passed the same exam, but a Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and is held to a specific code of ethics while practicing real estate.
- Discuss compensation. Real estate professionals are usually compensated through commission which can vary from area to area. The percentage of the commission fee can sometimes be negotiated depending on the housing market.
- Read your contract. Be wary of agents and Realtors who pressure you to sign documents immediately. Carefully read all the details in any document you help create or sign and make sure all of your questions are answered first.