How to Pick a Real Estate Agent

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A real estate agent is a critical component of a smooth home buying or selling

process. So how do you choose the best one for your needs?

Start with recommendations from friends or family, then interview agents to find the

right fit. Ask about their experience & track record.


  1. Experience

One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a real estate agent

is their level of experience. Generally speaking, agents with more experience are

better equipped to handle more complicated deals and to guide you through the

process smoothly.


It’s also helpful to choose an agent who has sold property similar to the type of

home you’re looking for. You can also ask prospective agents how they arrived at

the asking price for their properties and if comparative market analysis (CMA) data

was used to determine this price.

You can find out how long an agent has been in the business by searching their

name on your state’s real estate commission website or equivalent office. However,

don’t discount an up-and-coming agent who has a passion for the business.


  1. Responsiveness

In this fast-moving real estate market, you don’t want to work with an agent who

takes days to answer a phone call or text. They may be too busy to pay attention to

your needs and could miss out on a home you’re interested in seeing or a buyer

they’re helping with a purchase. Read more


When choosing an agent, ask to talk to past clients about their experiences. They

can give you a more objective review of an agent’s responsiveness, whether they

helped them find a home for the right price or navigated challenges during a sale.

Also, be sure to ask about the amount of time the agent spent working with those

clients. Some agents choose to work part-time and are less up-to-date on the market

than full-time ones.


  1. Communication

When it comes to real estate, good communication is essential. Failing to

communicate effectively can lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and frustration for

both buyers and sellers.

When interviewing agents, pay attention to how they communicate. Do they use

email or text to send updates? Do they answer questions promptly? Ask if they

prefer to communicate through phone, email or in-person.


Additionally, be sure to clarify your needs and wants before you sign with an agent.

By doing so, you’ll avoid wasting time looking at homes that don’t meet your

criteria. Lastly, make eye contact when speaking to an agent. Studies show that eye

contact conveys trust and sincerity. However, don’t overdo it — too much eye

contact can be off-putting to some buyers.


  1. Flexibility

The real estate agent you choose will play a huge role in whether your home sells

quickly, and at what price. So it’s important to make sure you have some flexibility

when choosing an agent, especially if you’re thinking about using an online portal

that provides you with agent matches.


Consider asking your friends, co-workers and neighbors about their experiences with

agents, and ask them to describe both good and bad experiences. This can help you

find an agent who has experience in your type of transaction.

Additionally, be sure to clarify whether the agent will represent only you or both

parties in a deal (known as dual agency). This isn’t a big deal for buyers and sellers

alike, but it does make a difference.


  1. Knowledge

A good real estate agent will have a strong understanding of the local market. If

you’re looking to buy a home in Manhattan, for example, you’ll want an agent who

knows the city’s zoning laws and coop boards inside and out.


Savvy agents also know which features sell homes in a particular area and can

identify real estate comparables that will help you determine an accurate selling

price or purchase price for a home. They also keep up with community news and

may even know if a large employer is planning to lay off employees or expand,

which could affect a neighborhood’s property values.


Avoid choosing a part-time or “relative” agent as they may not follow the real estate

market closely enough to be of service to you. Full-time agents are more likely to be

up to date on new listings and have a solid understanding of the local market.

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