Finding a real estate agent to work with you on a real estate transaction takes careful screening and selection on your part. Often, the real estate agent you choose has everything to do with the success of your real estate deal. Whether you are buying or selling, you need an agent that is market savvy, has an expansive professional network, has strong communication skills, possesses exceptional negotiation skills, and is a creative thinker and problem solver. Below is a list of both online and offline places that you can seek information when choosing your real estate agent.
Local State Licensing Board
Your state’s Real Estate Commission keeps a comprehensive database and records of all complaints and disciplinary actions filed against licensed real estate agents in your area. It is essential that during your decision and selection process, you actively seek this level of detail to ensure that the agent you select a) is licensed and b) does not have any disciplinary actions or complaints against them. Most states hold this information in an online database that is easily searchable by the name of the agent. However, if you cannot locate the agent you are considering, do not hesitate to call the Real Estate Commission or state licensing board for more information. In addition, you can find valuable information including the number of years they have held their real estate license and some states even show the accredited continuing education they have completed.
Zillow is a comprehensive real estate website that offers information to home buyers, sellers, renters, and real estate professionals. On Zillow you can get an estimated market value of your home, search for comps in your neighborhood, and read reviews written by customers like you of real estate agents in your area. In addition to a comment field, reviewers rank real estate agents on a) Local Knowledge, b) Process Expertise, c) Responsiveness and d) Negotiation Skills, all relevant and pertinent to any real estate transaction. Even though they offer estimated market values, the accuracy of those home values vary from city to city.
For nearly 10 years, Yelp has provided consumers the opportunity to find local businesses in their area, and read reviews written by other customers. While Yelp does not focus simply on the real estate industry like Zillow, it has the added benefit of providing visitors to the site with information about the real estate agent, including contact information, specialties, and links to their website. In addition, on each real estate agent’s page, you can read reviews, or leave one of your own. Unlike many review sites on the internet, Yelp does screen reviews that may appear on other sites or are otherwise questionable.
The problem with many reviews you read online today, is that you can’t verify their legitimacy or accuracy. Sadly, competitors have been known to submit damaging reviews while paying others to write favorable reviews for themselves. Angie’s List gets around this challenge; reviews are not anonymous and they have certified data collection practices that prevent the scenario above. In addition, unlike other review sites, Angie’s List is supported by its consumer membership, not by businesses. This means that you do have to pay a small monthly fee, but for truly unbiased reviews, it could be worth the small investment.
Better Business Bureau
In nearly every community across the country, there is a local Better Business Bureau. The BBB is dedicated to giving consumers the opportunity to file complaints about businesses and asking for response and resolution from customers. While the BBB does not provide the opportunity to read reviews, it will provide you with information on the real estate agent, their overall satisfaction score, and give you a list of BBB accredited businesses in your area.
Because agent ranking data is so limited to the general public, there are companies that specialize in evaluating Realtors and real estate agents and sharing those findings with the public. AgentHarvest is a free real estate agent finder and referral service focused solely on vetting and evaluating real estate agents in your immediate area. Evaluation metrics include sales awards, rankings, sales volume history and online marketing promotions for their active listings. Through analysis of this information as well as your specific real estate needs, AgentHarvest provides you with up to 3 hand-picked and qualified real estate agents in your area, saving you valuable time and effort in the selection of an agent for your needs. The real estate agents are continuously evaluated to ensure they are maintaining the high standards for which they were originally chosen for so you can rest assured that the agents referred to you are of the highest quality. AgentHarvest also provides a huge selection of articles and information regarding the subject of finding, evaluating, working with, and maximizing the value of your next real estate agent.
Reading real estate agent reviews isn’t your only responsibility; proceed with screening of any real estate agent and continue your due diligence to include proper licensing, a lack of complaints and disciplinary measures, and by reading trustworthy reviews mentioned above. Be sure to interview at least 3 agents, from different offices, and get a feel for their personality, their sales attitude, their recent success in your area, and review the types of marketing and research they will do on your behalf. Contact AgentHarvest and get 3 real estate agents that are pre-screened and hand-picked for you with the experience and skills you need for your real estate transaction.