License requirements for real estate agents vary by state. While you should work with a licensed agent, finding a valuable real estate agent involves more than just credentials. Your agent should keep up with continuing education to stay on top of industry changes. You should also consider several other factors.
Who does your agent work for?
Whether you are buying or selling real estate, you want an agent that is working for you. While a real estate agency can handle both buyers and sellers, you need either a buyer or seller's agent. If you are in the process of trying to purchase a home, stick with someone who primarily deals with buyers. You want to avoid any potential conflicts of interest that could come from an agent trying to direct you towards a listing they have on the market.
Both buyers and sellers need an honest agent. Integrity is very important when it comes to home sales. A seller should not be told the home is perfect when the home could benefit from improvements before a sale. This applies equally to buyers. While your agent may not know all the pros and cons of a home, they should do their due diligence.
A good real estate agent will be responsive to your needs. Agents may not always be able to return calls within minutes but you should not have to keep calling for answers to questions. A willingness to answer your questions shows that the agent cares about your needs.
Finally, when you are choosing an agent, you should also consider how well you interact with each other. The agent's personality does matter, especially when you may spend a good deal of time in a buying or selling process. You want the agent to understand, and be responsive to your needs. Choosing the right professional can make your experience easy and even enjoyable.
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