Choosing a Michigan Real Estate Agent
Experience Really Does Make a Difference?
Today, in the United States the number of licensed real estate agents is staggering! According to the National Association of REALTORS® as of Oct 2020, there were 1,451,031 REALTORS® in the United States.
With that many agents, how do you know Who to choose or what questions to ask? Well, if you're like most people, your home is your largest financial investment. So do your homework and be careful when you; hire your next real estate agent!
Real Estate agents are no different than any other profession. There are good and bad. There is full time and part-time. There are experienced and brand new. But ask yourself this. Would you hire a doctor that was also a barber? Would you hire a lawyer that has tried only a couple of cases? Of course not! So, Why would you hire an agent with another profession or someone who is brand new to handle Your largest financial decision?
Here are a few facts about real estate agents...
Getting licensed - In Michigan, all you need is a 40-hour real estate course, then once you have completed that, you can take the Michigan state exam. If you pass the test you are issued a Michigan real estate license. Then all you need to do is find a broker to work under and you're in the real estate business. Sounds pretty simple! But is that really enough?
What about the experience - The truth is most agents receive their license and go right to work. Some companies do offer a little classroom training but beyond that most agents just fumble through the process. The average agent sells 11 sides (houses) per year according to the National Association of REALTORS® - 2015. Make sure you ask your agent how many homes they sell a year and how long they have been in business. Everyone needs to start sometime but most agents do not receive the proper training. Do you want to put your largest investment in their hands? Make sure you hire an agent that has a track record. Verify their license and see how long they have been licensed.
Part-Time vs Full Time - a large percentage of agents have a full-time job and "do" real estate on the side. Stay clear of these agents. You should hire an agent that is committed to their profession. One that is available when buyers and sellers are available - mornings, afternoons, nights, and weekends, if possible. If your agent is at their "job" who is handling the sale of your home? When a problem occurs your agent needs to be available to handle it.
One thing you may not know - real estate agents are independent contractors. That basically means they run their own business and running a business is expensive. They need money for licensing, advertising, business supplies, equipment, marketing, insurance, taxes, websites, MLS fees, attorneys, accountants, etc. Does your agent have a well-established business? Or do they run their business on a shoestring... ready to go out of business?
MLS Systems - In the Macomb County area there are two large MLS systems - RealComp and MiRealSource. Both belong to the GLR Great Lakes Repository giving sellers exposure to the marketplace and buyers a ton of choices. Basically, when an agent places a home on the market they list it in the MLS and offer it to thousands of other agents. Members of an MLS system typically are REALTORS®.
Education - most real estate agents finish real estate school, take their con-ed every year, and never get any additional education. Could they? Yes, but that is an added business expense. Many agents are just not committed enough to their profession.
Designations - learn more about real estate agent designations, certifications, and courses.