There are plenty of valid complaints that consumers may have about whomever they’ve chosen to help them purchase or sell real estate but the fact of the matter is that they have the ability to choose. Consumers can choose or not choose to use a real estate agent, choose their own buyers agent, choose their listing agent or choose to not choose and stumble around the market they’re shopping until someone ends up being their real estate agent.
The overwhelming majority of home buyers and sellers use the Internet as their discovery tool for buying and selling homes. They crawl all over the consumer facing MLS services, tax rolls, clerks office and “guess-timating” sites like Zillow, getting their education about the market and the real estate they’re about to buy or sell. All the while, they’re able to educate themselves about the real estate agent they’re going to choose and use.
The Internet is the consumer’s friend. Just as easy as it is to check the crime rate or a Zestimate of the property, a consumer can find out more about a real estate agent. Start with www.MyFloridaLicense.com and check for licensure, violations or to see how wet the ink is on that license. Actually, you can check any professional license here, so have at it when hiring any trade.
Google the agent’s name or the community they claim to be an expert of. If you can’t find a website owned and operated by the real estate “expert” you’re thinking of using, exactly what are they the expert of except finding lost consumers?
Make sure the agent isn’t traveling beyond their geographic area of familiarity. Agents in the state of Florida are licensed for the entire state, but they’re not experts of the entire state. And yes, we get lost, desperate Miami and Tampa agents over here all the time.
It goes without saying that if your agent doesn’t have access to the local MLS, how exactly are they going to provide recent closed sale comparables and advise on the purchase or sale of real estate, absorption rates for the neighborhood or access the important disclosures for the properties?
Everyone knows a reel-a-tor. Just because your mother’s housekeeper’s sister is a real estate agent doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t research them if you’re going to take a reference.
There are scads of people brandishing a license that have no business experimenting with you or your life savings. That includes losing the genetic lottery and having to use a family member who’s driving around town with a multi level marketing adver-decal on the back window of their car, too.
The real estate agents on the other end of your transaction want you to do your research and thank you for doing your research. They would like you to use someone that knows what they’re doing, doesn’t sabotage the transaction with ignorance and doesn’t need to be babysat.
Consumers can wing it and carp about the disappointing results or carefully research the agent that they hire. Unfortunately, many consumers spend more time shopping for a new sofa then vetting whether the real estate agent they choose is actually qualified to help them.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.