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How to select a real estate agent that works for you

How to select a real estate agent that works for you

In 2006 the number of real estate agents and brokers nationwide has increased to more than 2.5 million. About half are realtors (members of a trade group called the National Association of Realtors). In California alone, there are more than 500,000 agents and brokers. According to a study, there were 2,820 single-family houses sold in San Cruz County of California in 2004 and there were 1,473 realtors in the county, averaging less than 2 houses per agent.

No doubt the real estate industry is very competitive and recent boom in real estate did not translate to a boom in agent's earning. Research showed that the median annual income of real-estate sales agents in 2004 was only $37,600, down from $39,300 in 2002.

Property prices have increased substantially in the past 10 years. In some areas, such as Orange County and San Diego of California, prices have increased more than 300%. A house worth $150,000 in 1996 is now sold for more than $500,00. Yet the average agent commission still remains above 5%. This represents a major cost to sellers. Realizing that real estate dealings could be more efficient, discount brokers have increased their present on the Internet. As a result, if you go with traditional method of choosing agents offline, you will miss out on big savings or substantial rebates.

Usually, agents would tell you that their reputation, the number of listings that they have, and their experience set them above others. Sure, there is a grain of truth in a saying that "nothing substitutes for experience". However, when selling a house, market condition prevails over factors such as location, pricing, and agent ability. Here we are in the summer of 2007 not 2005. Believe or not it's a buyer's market and the bidding war was over more than a year ago. Being realistic with your expectation (setting your asking price) would serve you better. After all, pricing matters a lot in this market condition.

More often than not, the agents that get lot of listings, especially with higher-price properties, tend to neglect clients with lower-value houses. There have been many cases that agents with less listing and less experience but more diligence are more effective. Besides honest and pleasant character, you need agents that are willing to do open house every weekend, instead of once a month, and to work closely with you in fixing or upgrading to make your house looks more attractive. These agents are more likely to succeed in closing the deal for you.

So how do you select the agent that works for you?
You should interview at least 3 agents and ask questions related to their allocated time for selling your property. Is she/he pleasant, honest and diligent (a key factor)? Is she/he up to date about local market condition? Remember there are more agents that can meet your needs than they (agents) lead you to believe.

Before interviewing agents, you should do a little research online.
Here are some of the sites:
For comprehensive listing of properties, visit www.Realtor.com
For automated home valuations, visit www.Zillow.com
For real estate search engine, visit www.Trulia.com

For real estate auction and agent's commission bidding, check out www.HomeMaxima.com

Good luck with selling or buying property.

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