No Secret to Finding a Reliable Agent- By: Jamie Mathwig
Most of us take pride in what we do; whether we work in a book store, are stay-at-home parents, chop down trees, or run the country. And when it comes to the general public's perception of which are the most honest, and dishonest, professions, there are very few surprises to be seen in the frequently published polls. Nurses, teachers, doctors and pharmacists usually occupy the top spots in the most honest lists, while those bastions of BS, car salesmen, rank consistently high in the roster of unreliable trades people. Also to be found in the upper reaches of this less than flattering roll call are lawyers, politicians, bankers and, yes, real estate agents.
But are these widely-held opinions, simply based on long-standing, impermeable prejudices, or do certain professions actually appeal to the less discerning characters amongst us? As with all things, there is good and bad everywhere. There are definitely some very ethical and utterly trustworthy automobile dealers out there, and plenty of politicians find themselves on their particular vocational path, through genuinely wanting to do good things. But, and it's a big but, the lure of easy money, privilege and prestige that can come with certain positions, may be too strong for some people to ignore.
So, how does a consumer tell the honest professional, from the charlatan?
Let's take a look at real estate. It is commonly opined that anyone can become a real estate agent. You just walk out of high school, pay for the necessary licenses and away you go. Of course, it's not quite so simple as that. But the truth is, people with little or no experience of the housing market, can attend a few courses, pass a couple of exams and become certified real estate agents in a relatively short period of time. For the majority of those pursuing a career in real estate, and determined to do the job well, the process of learning the ins and outs of the industry begins upon receipt of the necessary documentation. For those less scrupulous individuals, a license means that they are now ready to go out and demonstrate their new found expertise with a ton of confidence, and dreams of their first lamborghini.
So, how does one identify the reliable, hard-working agent? Don't be afraid to ask questions, a knowledgeable and honest agent will know the answers, or at least admit that they don't, and promise to look into your query. Ask your friends and family to recommend agents they have used, often a trusted referral is all you'll need. Also, ask an agent for references. An experienced, successful professional will only be too happy to oblige.
Make sure that you are informed about the local housing market. Of course, you don't have to be an expert, but do check out the listings, and compare the prices of similar properties on the market with your own, if you are selling. If you are looking to buy, familiarize yourself with the values of those homes that match your requirements.
There is no doubt that a great real estate agent will make the stressful process of buying or selling a home a good deal easier. And remember, there may be some relatively poor or uncommitted real estate agents out there, but there are only a few truly dishonest ones, so do your homework and make sure that you don't become their next client.
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