How well do you know your real estate agent?

46410940 - financial adviser showing terms of contract on tabletChoosing the right real estate agent can be just as hard as choosing the right house. How do you know that you’ve found the right person to help you? You don’t want to just choose your friend’s cousin’s brother’s wife who just got her real estate license. You want someone experienced who knows what they are doing.

In New Jersey, obtaining a real estate license is rather easy. It only takes 75 hours of classroom training and a grade of 70 percent or better on the final exam, which only costs $60 to take. So it’s not that daunting for anyone to give it a try. That’s why you need to be careful when you are looking for the right agent. Pay attention to these things:

  • Experience: Check your agent’s portfolio of sales, interview past clients and read reviews. You want someone who knows what they are doing. Past work is usually a good indication of future work. Put in the time (beyond asking on Facebook) and research your potential agent.
  • Area knowledge: If you are interested in a particular area, you should find an agent who knows it well. Check local listings for professionals who are familiar with a specific neighborhood.
  • Disciplinary action: Some agents break the rules. It’s easy for you to check if yours has done anything sketchy in the past. Visit the state real estate commission website to check for any disciplinary actions. It’s better to know before you sign a contract.
  • Web presence:. If you want someone who is easy to communicate with, check their website and social media presence. A great agent should be available on whatever platform you are most comfortable with and ready to communicate when needed.
  • Additional training: In New Jersey, agents are required to take only 12 hours every two years of continuing education, including two hours of ethics training and six hours of core topics. Ask your potential agent what type of continuing education they have under their belt. Have they specialized in any areas of real estate? If you’re looking for a specific type of property, it may be worth it to find a professional who specializes in those type of listings.
  • Recommendations: If your agent recommends other services, like a home inspector, a contractor, or even a title agency, check their reviews. Good agents will only work with the best. If you see that they regularly work with us, you know they always pick a good title agency!

Choosing the right agent isn’t easy. That’s why it’s important to do your homework and be prepared. Don’t be afraid to interview your potential agent to find the best one for your situation. This is an important relationship. It has to work to find the right deal. Put in a little effort and you’ll be rewarded.