Buying or selling real estate is a complex procedure, so it’s important to select a competent, honest agent who will skillfully represent your best interests throughout the entire process. As you begin your search for property or for a new owner of your home, keep your eyes and ears open. Notice the names on real estate signs in your neighborhood, ask friends and relatives for referrals, attend open houses in your target area to meet the agent on duty, and check the real estate section of your community newspaper,
Once you have compiled a list of names, you will next want to determine if the person is a Realtor, agent, or broker. A Realtor is someone who is licensed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is bound by a Code of Ethics, and has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
As you prepare to interview Tampa real estate agents on your list, be sure to discuss the following topics:
- The price range of most of their transactions. Some agents specialize in high-end properties and won't give their best effort on properties under a set value. If they usually deal in fixer-uppers, they may not have the experience to navigate "Millionaire's Row".
- Their familiarity with and experience in your target area. If you're buying, a Realtor should be able to provide you with information on the community, the schools, taxes, traffic, nearby amenities .and other facts. If you're selling, you want your agent to be able to talk to prospective buyers about these details.
- The amount of time they can give you—and availability to meet at your convenience. If you need someone on weekday evenings or can meet only in the morning, will the agent be able to accommodate you?
- What services can you expect from them? In addition to helping you buy or sell real estate, interviewing potential clients, previewing and showing property, discussing sales conditions, drawing up and presenting offers, holding open houses, and writing contracts—all the while meeting deadlines and hand-holding when necessary—you should also expect your agent to be current on marketing strategies, federal/state programs, and area real estate trends and comps.
- References from previous clients. Listen to what their past customers have to say. Google their names, too, and check the state for any licensing or disciplinary information.
Information courtesy of Tampa Realtor Linda Nowicke, Inside Tampa Homes.