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How to be a Smart Shopper in a Flooded Real Estate World

When did becoming a realtor get SO TRENDY? Now, everybody knows somebody who does real estate. Learn to tell the difference between a pro and a dabbler, or you’ll get yourself into big trouble.

Search for an agent with real experience in real estate.

Lately, we’ve seen a major shift in real estate. A large number of people have left their jobs or stepped out of unemployment, expecting to make a living in real estate. While this wave of activity shines a positive light on the market, it leaves us wondering why real estate is now such an alluring career option.

It would appear that someone has convinced America that selling houses was a direct route to fortune. People from all walks of life are getting licensed to practice real estate. Once certified, they’re gathering data from people with intent to guide them through the process of buying or selling a home.

Spoiler Alert: Real estate is not like selling candy bars, and it’s not like becoming a rep for the newest multi-level marketing craze! It’s a very demanding job that comes with a ton of serious responsibilities. A good realtor knows the industry inside and out, and has the experience and connections to prove it.

People need to get real about real estate. Despite what self-made real estate expert programs may claim, it is not the perfect job for everyone. What we now face is an overabundance of rookie realtors who are fighting for clients. Be careful not to get stuck with a realtor who will waste your time and money, leaving you very disappointed in the end.

You might be temped to work with a real estate rookie, because they’ll be eager and available to help you. They might even offer you a generous commission rebate - a real estate incentive recently made legal in New Jersey. You may feel comfortable working with a realtor you know personally, but please use caution. Before putting your future into the hands of a real estate agent, make sure they are the real deal.

“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” -Red Adair, notable firefighter

Red Adair’s famous quote warns that hiring an amateur will eventually cost you more than you’d expect. As a firefighter, Red was faced with trouble in the form of uncontrollable oil well fires. He understood the importance of fire prevention firsthand, and the same is true with real estate. Put your trust in a realtor who understands housing, and will avoid mistakes that would bring you trouble- very expensive trouble.

Don’t rely on the realtor with the wrong type of expertise.

Even the best realtors should be analyzed for what they can bring to the table. Realtors vary a great deal in what they are good at and what they can offer you.

If you are in the market to buy new construction housing, or pre-construction so you can customize it, you must find the realtor with this expertise. A real estate professional specializing in new construction will have relationships with builders and information on zoning and codes that a typical realtor will lack. If you are looking to buy and flip a property as an investment opportunity, you will want to work with a real estate professional who has experience with investors and contractors, and can utilize their databases to match up buyers and sellers.

Think of this as a partnership. You need to work with someone on your level, who shares the same goal and can provide the guidance and resources that you need in order to be successful. There is no return policy on real estate, even if your realtor has led you the wrong way. Make sure you find a trustworthy real estate professional to help you buy or sell your home.

Be careful not to become the victim of a real estate scam.

There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there. With such an overabundance of real estate professionals, it can be hard to identify a fraud.

Early this year, a mother-and-son real estate team were arrested for scamming homebuyers in south Jersey. The pair was breaking into foreclosed homes, and selling them to unsuspecting individuals. The mother had previously worked as a realtor but her real estate license was revoked for life back in 2010. Working under a different name, she continued taking advantage of people, collecting money for homes that she had no legal right to sell. This tricky woman hopped around different office buildings, working under her own company name and managed to fool over twenty people into working with her.

Spare yourself a real estate nightmare like this. You should insist on a well-known real estate agency. Even if you want to work with a private office, pick one that’s affiliated with a major realty like Sotheby’s. Working with agents of a well-known realty is less risky, because the paperwork is going to check out. Also, ask plenty of direct questions when you are touring a property. Don’t be afraid to inquire about why the house is being sold, or ask what insurance claims have been filed. There are so many unknowns, so it’s best to research the property and do a thorough home inspection. Better yet, invest in new construction housing where everything is new and there is no history of damage, mismanagement or fraud.

Find a real estate professional, and let the dabblers practice on somebody else.

Beware of the overabundance of unqualified real estate agents out there in the world. Choose an experienced realtor with a great reputation, who will keep you from making expensive mistakes and regrettable decisions. Spend your time and money on the real deal, and let the dabblers practice on somebody else.