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How to Choose a Real Estate Broker You Can Trust

Whether you’re buying or selling, you need to be able to work with a real estate broker you can trust. But how do you know when you’ve found a reliable broker? To help answer this question, we’ve listed the key concerns and queries you need to keep in mind when choosing a real estate broker.
Real estate broker

Selling your home can be a stressful and time-consuming process. If you run into sale or listing complications, you need to feel like you can rely upon your real estate broker to handle the problem. Although it requires a little due diligence, taking the time to vet potential real estate brokers will ensure that the broker you choose is someone you trust to handle your property affairs.

What is the Broker’s Specialty?

Your choice of real estate broker should be informed by their credentials and area of specialization. We’ve listed three designations to watch out for:

  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): Real estate brokers who have undergone additional courses in representing buyers in property transactions.
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): Real estate brokers who have undergone additional courses in the sale and purchase of residential real estate.
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): Real estate brokers who have undergone additional training in buy and sell transactions that involve seniors.

Are Previous Clients Satisfied?

Talking with a real estate broker’s previous clients is one of the best ways to form an impression of the broker’s skill-level and trustworthiness. Questions to ask previous clients include:

  • What commission, if any, did the broker charge?
  • Did the broker offer their full attention and support throughout the sale or purchase process?
  • Was the broker knowledgeable about the local property market?
  • If the client sold through the broker, how long was their home listed on the market?

Do They Have a History of Complaints?

If you can’t get in touch with any previous clients of a potential real estate broker, it’s a good practice to review their licensing history for official complaints. If you do find a complaint record, check the state regulatory body to read the follow-up and disciplinary action report.

 

What is Their Level of Experience?

There are two ways to determine a real estate broker’s level of experience. You can either consult the state licensing authority or politely ask for more information about their professional history.

Real estate brokers that have worked in the industry for more than five years are generally regarded as a safe bet when it comes to experience. However, younger real estate brokers can be more responsive to new clients and more engaged with developing local areas.

Does Their Listing Record Suit Your Property?

Check the agency website or a realtor database to inspect the listing records of potential real estate brokers. The listing record will show relevant information about the properties sold by each real estate broker.

Ideally, the properties on the broker’s listing record should share similar location and pricing features with the property you are looking to buy or sell. You can also use the listing record to make a judgement on the amount of business the real estate broker is handling — are they overloaded? Or do they have a suspiciously small number of listings?

Are They Well-Informed About the Area?

Knowledge of the local area can be one of the most important components in the buying and selling process. A good broker should be able to rattle off a list of area-specific listing details, including:

  • Key local features, such as malls, parks, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Current or ongoing development plans.
  • Recent property sale statistics and projected trends.

Are They Personable?

As most real estate agencies offer free consultations, you’ll likely have a chance to talk face-to-face with potential real estate brokers. When meeting with real estate brokers, take note of their communication style and approachability.

You should be looking for real estate brokers who are articulate, sincere, reliable, and proactive. A good real estate broker will reply to your queries in a timely manner and keep you informed of any developments throughout the buying and selling process. Remember, putting your trust in the wrong real estate broker can have a significant financial penalty. Be particularly cautious of real estate brokers that make grandiose promises without providing any sign of evidence.

Ready to Take the Next Step? Reach Out to an Experienced Real Estate Agent!

If you’re ready to sell, get in touch to learn more about broker services and connect with a top-rated, local Clever Partner Agent. Brokers in the Clever Partner Network will sell your home for a $3000 flat fee – or 1% if the house sale is over $350,000. These features translate to an average saving of $8000 for sellers who list their home through Clever.

 

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Thomas O'Shaughnessy
Thomas O'Shaughnessy

Tommy O'Shaughnessy is the Head of Research at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top local agents to save on commission. Tommy's team of data scientists create surveys, gather data, and analyze trends in housing, real estate, and personal finance. He directs public relations efforts, acting as a "data communicator" between his team and the press. Clever studies have been featured in Politico, the LA Times, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and other publications.

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