How to Obtain Your Real Estate Agent’s Home Sales Records

When planning to buy a house, especially as a first-time home buyer it is advised that you get the help of a professional such as real estate agents who are experts in their field. In this way, you are assured of buying and owning the best property that perfectly suits your budget, needs and lifestyle. However, a common problem most home buyers have with real estate agents is that they want someone who is effective, meaning an expert who has sold quite a number of houses. The answer to this is to get a hold of a real estate agent’s home sales records. So, how can you exactly do it?

Way back old times, the best way to track down an agent’s home sale records was to go to a county appraiser’s office and ask for a copy of the agent’s sales records. Generally, this was seen as a hassle since one has to travel to and from just to obtain what one needs. But, nowadays it is entirely different. You can go ahead sit in your chair and browse the web by conducting searches through a country assessor’s office via online or look up to real estate websites to find out about each real estate agent’s track records.

Ways to Get A Real Estate Agent’s Sales Records Typically, every real estate agent’s home sale documentation must be set out as a public property. It is a must that it is open to the public in order to give easy access for home buyers and home sellers as well. To make it simpler, here are some ways on how you can get an agent’s home sale records especially when it is kept as private property.

·Check home for sale listings (e.g. MLS, Realtor, etc.) or any office or an online site that has a record for properties on sale.This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to gain access of every agent’s records as information about the property for sale as well as its contact information who is normally a real estate agent representative are stated. Start from there, contact the broker’s employer or the company the agent works for. Ask for a copy of the agent’s performance report. If the professional owns a website and gets work using it, then the easier it is to access since feedbacks are stated as well as his details and certifications.

·Visit websites that has a list of certified real estate agents in the United States.Just like any accredited company, a real estate agent must be verified under a site that licenses or authenticates the broker as a member of the real estate agent club. Sites like these hold almost complete information about brokers – from name, address, certification, employer to client’s feedbacks to a report showing how much is his home sale success.

·Check with previous home buyers and sellers.Probably the best and easiest solution to get your answer is to contact the people whom agents have worked with. Try asking your friends, relatives, co-workers or even your neighbors who have gone the whole home buying and selling route. Ask for references.

·Contact agents personally.The number one answer to getting a home sale record is to communicate face to face with the agent. In this way, you are assured that every detail is correct. Plus, when you have at least three to five real estate agent’s on your list you can freely ask each of them to give you a presentation. Inform them that you are conducting the same process with other agents. In this manner, you get to make an assessment of how each agent works and weigh their effectiveness.

·Be observant.Knowing whether an agent is successful in his field or not depends on you as well. Learn how to survey agents. They must have the following traits – detail oriented, has a good and photographic memory, confident, honest, enthusiastic and level-headed. Someone who has a great background of the area he is in or the place where you wish to purchase a house as well as the vicinity around it is a clear sign that he knows what he’s doing resulting to an excellent performance and that he can work to your advantage.

Hiring a successful professional agent to help you with the whole home ownership process will truly get you the house you have always dreamed of.

Real Estate Agents – The Cons

Most articles you read talk about the benefits of hiring a professional real estate agent to help you either buy or sell your home. But as with anything, there is a downside. It’s much harder to find these negatives, but they do exist. Let’s look at a few of the cons to using a real estate agent, particularly when buying a house.

1. Using a real estate agent does often cost more. The agent takes between a 3% and a 5% commission, and though it might be built into the sale price, a skilled private negotiator can get that removed since there will not be an agent on one side and the agent who is involved in the transaction shouldn’t get a double commission.

2. By going through a real estate agent you end up losing some flexibility on price because your agent is doing all of the price negotiation for you. This is especially true if you have gotten pre-approved for your loan. It can be quite easy to do all of your own research on houses any more thanks to the vast use of the web by real estate agents.

3. A real estate agent sale might take longer. Since you have to use the agent, you have to rely on the agent calling you back and then contacting the other party. By acting on your own, you can strike at the time you want to.

4. If you have all of the skills already, you don’t need to pay for someone to do what you already can. You might have thought about becoming an agent and never ended up finishing the process, so you have more than a passing acquaintance with real estate law. Or perhaps you are a financial person who knows how the market is behaving in your area.

5. Some real estate agents are not always looking out for their clients’ best interests, and don’t always engage in the highest ethics. They may not share all of your requests with the buyer, or if they do, it’s not in the timeliest fashion.

6. If you are a seller, you can sell the home as you wish and decorate it as you wish, not as the agent wants to. This is particularly helpful if you are a set decorator or an interior designer already. You know the best way to showcase your home in its best light, so why not let it shine? It can really play to the potential buyers’ emotions to see what your house can be for them. You might also be able to move your house quickly if a bidding war breaks out during an open house.

7. An agent can only complicate simple sales from family members. You already know everything about a house your family owns, so you can skip all of the inspections to find out what needs to be done, and you already know all about the seller, so no vetting has to be done. The transaction can also be smoother when the seller knows who the buyer is.

Depending on the circumstances and your own knowledge and comfort level, you can actually forgo using an agent all together in your real estate transaction.

Real Estate Agents – Whose Side Are They On?

Yes, I said it, is the real estate agent really on your side? We have worked with some outstanding agents, some good agents, some mediocre agents, and some agents that should NOT be agents. Like any industry or profession, there are people who are good at their job, and people who are not. Nobody is going to debate that with us, but what we will debate is whether you actually need a realtor when you’re buying a property. It may seem like they only have their commission on their mind and not your best interests. And if you do need one, how do you actually get a good one?

Like a bathroom renovation, your taxes, your wedding and so many other things, you have the option to do the work yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. Doing it yourself is always more time and work, it can be a bigger hassle than you expected because of your lack of expertise and it can end up costing you more than you think it will. But, it can also ensure you know exactly what was done, get exactly what you want, and it can be a source of much self satisfaction when it’s done.

At least half of the properties we bought were done so without the aid of a Buyers Agent. I did the research online using MLS or Realtylink or CLS, tabulated details in a spreadsheet over a period of time to help me spot opportunities and then, when I find what I think may be a good buy, I contact the listing agent for more information.

I’m not advocating you head out there and buy properties without a Buyers Agent, I’ve just found that when I venture into a geographic location where I haven’t got an existing relationship with an agent, I do better research on properties because I know exactly what I want. Without that pre-existing relationship, when I’ve told a realtor what I want they either don’t provide me with enough details on properties for evaluation or they’ll put me on their automated e-mailing list and send me every 3 bdrm, 2 bth house in X area for X dollars or they’ll limit the search too much to find the ones I want.

But, if the agent doesn’t know you and doesn’t have all of the details, it’s difficult for a Buyers Agent to find the “perfect” property for you. And if they don’t know you, many of them won’t go through the effort and time to go through each and every property on a detailed basis to find the right property for you (because that is a lot of work for an agent to do for a potential client that could just be “kicking tires”). But before the real estate agents on our subscriber list get angry, let me note that some of our purchases have come with your help! In those cases, they were almost always agents we’d worked with before, that knew what we were looking for and knew we were serious shoppers. For the most part, I have found most of our properties completely on my own and have done very well (cashflow and appreciation) without help from an agent in the property selection phase of the process.

But, before you fire your agent, let me say that not everyone is up for the market research detail that I do (just ask my wife – sometimes she bans me from using MLS because I get so out of control), and we still prefer to use a Buyers Agent when we buy. Having an agent represent you is not just about finding a property. Remember all the other things an agent does for you:

  • Provides you comparable sale information for properties in your area of interest;
  • Books and takes you to appointments for viewing properties of interest and fields all calls from Sellers Agents;
  • Handles all of the negotiation on your behalf when you put in an offer to purchase;
  • Handles the paper work mess that follows the acceptance of a purchase offer;
  • After the purchase the agent will usually keep in touch and provide you with updated market information for your area to help you identify new opportunities in the area and keep tabs on your property value.
  • And having your own Buyers Agent removes the bias or collusion that could exist if only a Dual Agency Agreement is in place.

You don’t want to grab just any agent though. No matter what, they still are on commission and only earn their commission when you buy a property. So, it’s in their best interest for you to buy that house, whether it’s really the best one for you or not.

Get a Great Realtor Working For You

It’s IMPERATIVE that you work with an agent that has helped in the purchase of many investment properties, and even better, owns several properties him/herself! (Although Julie argues with me on this point – she says “If they invest in real estate themselves how do you know they are going to bring you the good deals they find? Why wouldn’t they buy them for themselves?” – so the only thing she and I agree on here is that the agent MUST have experience working with investors).

As a residential mortgage broker I used to seek out agents that said on their website that they specialized in helping real estate investors. That was one of my specialties too so I thought we’d have a lot in common! Well – I can’t tell you how many realtors I met that said their “specialty” was Investment properties yet they a) have never owned one, and b) don’t even know what a GRM (Gross Rent Multiplier) or CAP rate is! So, if you do intend to start looking to purchase, go out and research your prospective real estate agent first and then ASK QUESTIONS:

  • How much experience do you have working with investment properties?
  • How many investment properties do you currently own?
  • Can you provide some referrals from investment property purchasers you have worked with?
  • How will you find good investment properties for me to evaluate?
  • Besides sending me automatic emails that show general listings that may fit my desired property criteria, what else do you do to find that “perfect” match?
  • What criteria would you use to pick an investment property for yourself?

Of course, you’ll need to have a good sense of what you actually want before you contact the realtor. Your agent will only be as good as the information you provide him or her. If you tell your agent that you want a property that makes money each month that doesn’t give them much to work with. Narrow down your area before you call them. And, as always, know your objectives! Do you intend to manage the property yourself? Do you care if it is a single family home or multi-family? How much money do you have to put in as a down payment? Are you willing to do renovations to improve the property? And, a good realtor should ask you these questions to help narrow down what you’re looking for. If a prospective realtor doesn’t ask you any questions, you might want to keep looking.