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How to choose a real estate professional

Real Estate
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If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate in 2017, here are some things to consider when hiring a Realtor. There can be a lot of anxiety in finding the right person to help you — after all, you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person throughout the process, and he or she will be helping you through arguably one of the biggest decisions of your life. How can you find the right Realtor?

According to the 2015 National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, potential buyers should talk to friends and family to get agent suggestions. In fact, 40 percent of buyers found their agents through a referral from a friend, family member or neighbor, while another 12 percent used an agent they had worked with before. On the seller side, 38 percent found their agents through referrals and 22 percent went with an agent they had previously used.

Always interview Realtors before hiring them to represent you. Here are a few key questions you might want to consider during the interview process:

What types of specific marketing products and methods will you use to sell my home? It is important for you to know how your home will be marketed, and for you to agree with and trust the approach. This includes how responsive the real estate professional will be to inquiries on the property.

How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Communication is key in any relationship. Real estate professionals adjust to what their clients prefer, but you must tell them your preferred method — email? text? phone call? — and how frequently you expect to hear from them. 

Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? A real estate professional will explain his or her agency relationship with you right at the beginning. You will also receive a brochure with a written explanation. Listen and read carefully to understand your options.

The most important question: Are you a Realtor and a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors? Seek out a professional who is invested in the profession and abides by the strict code of ethics set by the National Association of Realtors.