By Bruce Cathcart
Step 1 to finding a great agent involved getting a recommendation from someone whose opinion you trust and then asking them the right questions to see if their recommendation would be a good match for you and your type of real estate transaction. Step 2 is the easiest of the three steps and you won’t even have to leave your computer to accomplish it!
Today, using your computer to access the Internet can generate more information on real estate agents than anyone could ever need or care to know. Step 2 is about narrowing that search down to three websites that will allow you to verify that your prospective agent is properly licensed and in good standing with the Department of Real Estate, check out their presence (and participation) on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and check out their company and or individual websites.
To get started log on to the Desert Area MLS at: http://www.desertareamls.com/. We are fortunate that our local MLS is accessible to the public. Locate under “Public Access” on the left “Find an Agent” and click on it. On the new screen type in your prospective agent’s name and then click the Search button (upper right). Click on your prospective agent’s name and you should see their picture, a short profile, their contact information, license number and webpage address. Read their profile and begin to learn a little about this agent. Write their license number down (you will need that later). You can also click on “See my Listings” and that will take you to the agent’s current listings that are still available on the market. Don’t be surprised if your prospective agent only has a few listings available. Inventory is scarce and listings are selling right away, so even a great agent may only have a few listings that are not already under contract. Now click on the prospective agent’s “webpage” and this should take you to either their company or personal website. Spend some time here and learn as much about this agent as possible and try to get a feel for who this person is and how they do business. Do not put much stock in testimonials as no one is going to put anything less than “Bruce was a GREAT agent” signed, Bruce’s Mom, on their own website. Besides, you already have the best recommendation from a known source!
Next go to the California Department of Real Estate’s website at: http://www.dre.ca.gov/Consumers/ Click on “Verify a Real Estate License” (or use the pull down menu) and then insert the prospective agent’s license number on the next screen and click “Find”. The next screen will verify that your prospective agent is licensed and in good standing with the California DRE. Don’t forget to check down at the bottom of this page under “Comments”. What you want to see here is “No Disciplinary Action, No Other Public Comments”.
You don’t have to go full on detective/stalker and search Facebook, Google, and Wiki your prospective agent. By checking out just these three websites you should be able to develop a good feeling about your prospective agent and confidently go forward with Step 3… the face to face interview.
This week’s real estate tip: If you have been watching our Current Mortgage Interest Rates box below you will have noticed that interest rates have gone up the last 3 weeks in a row. If you have been putting off refinancing your current mortgage or buying a home, now may be the time to take action… especially if this trend continues!
Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “Your Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at email@example.com or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.