NOTE: A REALTORÂ® is held to an even higher standard of conduct under the NARâ€™s Code of Ethics. In recent years, state laws have been passed setting up various duties for different types of agents. As you start working with a REALTORÂ®, ask for a clear explanation of your state's current regulations, so that you will know where you stand on these important matters.
Their is a big difference between a buyer's and a seller's broker
Suppose you sign an offer to buy a home for $150,000. You really want the property and there's a chance other offers are coming in, so you tell the broker that "We'll go up to $160,000 if we have to. But of course don't tell that to the seller." If you're dealing with a seller's agent, he or she may be duty-bound to tell the seller that important fact. In most states, the seller's agent doesn't have any duty of confidentiality toward you. Honest treatment might require that the agent warn you that "I must convey to the seller anything that would be useful so don't tell me anything you wouldn't tell the seller." So I reccomend buyers use a buyers broker. Bruce makes a great point on credentials look for a broker rather than simply a salesperson this is the only agent distinction conveyed by the California Department Of Real Estate between agents. You may ask does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check the California Department Of Real Estate website http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp on this website simply type in the agent name to see if they have a "clean" record you can also check their license status "Salesperson" or "Broker".
Other questions to ask:
Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyerâ€™s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORSÂ® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
Is real estate their full-time career? A real full time agent has active listings and recent sales
What real estate designations does the agent hold?
Which party is he or she representing--you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at "first serious contact" with you. The agent should discuss your state's particular definitions of agency, so you'll know where you stand.
In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?
Look at it logically. Napa is a fairly high end area. Knowledge of that area, pricing, what has sold, what is selling is everything in this tough market. Error on the side of local knowledge. There now, both agents are correct.
Ability? Your meeting with the agent and finding out how long they have been in the busiiness, whether you bond with them, whether or not they are a Realtor, and if they have any credentials (broker, CRS, GRI, etc) will give you a lot to go on. If you don't know what these credentials mean, FIND OUT. They measure training and productivity for you. If you kow what they mean. When you select a physician to address a serious problem, do you want a family practice physician or a specialist with a FELLOWSHIP in the medical area you are concerned with? It really is common sense when you think about it.
You have asked a very "straight forward" question and thus deserves an equal answer. Use a Napa Realtor that maintains the professionalism and ability that would be required for a successful home purchase.
After 33 years in the business I will say in a few cases there were Realtors I have met that have a fair to good knowledge base of their surrounding areas but most generally never the explicit knowledge you would find from a Realtor that resides within the community. For example, I participate regularly at the school where my son attends and can give school information that only a parent in my position could provide. I have 3 local websites that are designed to provide neighborhood information. I own homes in 2 of the neighborhoods and work in the 3rd. That is true "local knowledge" that is tough to equal. I have listed 2 of my websites below. In most cases, a St. Helena resident Realtor knows more about their community than I even though I have successfully sold and listed homes within that community.
Now, does a Realtor have to be born and raised within the city to provide the best information...absolutely not. If you desire the "History" of Napa and how it used to be visit my website " http://www.NapaOldTown.com " and click on "Napa History" in the left hand column or visit and talk to one of the "old sages" for some interesting stories. Napa is a city where many changes have taken place over the last 7 years and many more will continue to happen in the near future. Go to my website at " http://www.NapaOnTheWater.com " and scroll 1/3 of the way down the page to the article that says "Register Article 9/08/07: On The Riverfront. Napa is experiencing a transitional period and this will continue for years to come.
Good luck with your search. I was also a midwest resident (Iowa) before transitioning to California in 1992.
Intero Real Estate Sevices