by Thomas Kraeutler and Meredith Brennan

Once you've narrowed down the list of Realtors, make an appointment to meet with the agent in their office.  Before you start talking about houses, find out as much as you can about the agent. You should ask:

  • How long have they been licensed as an agent?

    An inexperienced agents may be fine for uncomplicated purchases like condos or townhouses. But for the most part, you want to look for somebody who has at least 5 years of experience. Getting licensed is relatively easy. Staying with the business for at least five years isn't and shows a strong commitment to the profession.

  • Is the agent part-time or full-time?

    While all agents have to start somewhere, working with a part-time agent may not be in your best interests. Part time agents have other commitments that can get in the way of giving you full-time attention. In addition, agents that are part time may simply not be successful enough to have developed business adequate to support a full time commitment.

  • What awards has the agent won?

    Most full time realtors worth their salts will have made "million dollar club" at the least.

  • How accessible is the agent?

    Do they maintain office hours? Can you call them at home? By beeper? Buying real estate can be a traumatic experience. With lots of surprises along the way, you'll want an agent that's easily accessible if you need to reach them.

  • Take note if the agent is good listener.

    Do they cut you off before you've finished a sentence? There's nothing worse than wasting time looking at houses you have no interest in because the agent has not listened carefully to your needs.

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