How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Monopoly house

When you are ready to move, you want to do so quickly and for a price that is best for your wallet. So how do you find a real estate agent you can trust?

If you are selling a house, you want to find a hard-working agent with plenty of experience. You want someone who listens to what you want and understands your concerns. You want someone who is busy – but not so busy that she never seems to have time for you. You want someone experienced and up-to-date on current trends and technology.

If you are looking to buy a home, you may be tempted to drive around on your own or browse real estate websites then call the agent listed on the first house you are interested in. That rarely turns out to be the house – and now you are stuck with a real estate agent that you really don’t know anything about. A better way to find the right house is to find the right agent first.

Buying or selling a house is stressful enough without dealing with an agent who is never available to take your calls, won’t listen to your needs or concerns, or who tries to “sell” you properties that are obviously wrong for you.

Here’s how to find a great real estate agent:

Step one: Ask around. Word of mouth is great – to a point. While your friends, neighbors, and relatives may all have a terrific agent for you, remember that just because that agent was perfect for them, he or she may not be perfect for you. Buying or selling a home is an emotional roller-coaster – make sure the agent who will see you through the process is someone that you can work with.

Step two: Visit some open houses! You don’t have to be interested in the house – but this is a great way to see agents in action. While visiting the open house, observe the agent: Is he persistent without being pushy? Is he friendly and willing to answer questions? Does he seem harassed and in a hurry? Is he able to answer questions about the property or does he seem unfamiliar with his own listing? If you like how the agent is handling the open house, take his card or jot his name down when you leave and add him to your list of agents to interview.

Step three: Interview! The agents are all candidates for the same job – that of selling (or finding) your home. Just as you wouldn’t hire the first person through the door for a position in a company, you don’t want to hand over your real estate venture to the first agent you meet. Instead, interview several potential agents from your list and use those interviews to narrow down your choices to the top two or three candidates.

Step four: Do your research. Read reviews, browse the agents’ websites, and look up the agents’ MLS listings. Pay attention to the photos – are they professionally done? Do they emphasize the home’s selling points? You want an agent who pays attention to details.

Step five: Make sure your chosen agent is organized, confident, and familiar with the local real estate market. You want someone who is busy, but make sure they aren’t so busy they don’t have time for you.

Remember – your real estate agent is there to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home, so listen to what he or she has to say and stay open to new ideas. Now that you’ve selected an agent, trust them – they deal with real estate every day and are very familiar with the process.