What to Look for When Finding a Real Estate Agent

Not all realtors are created equal. Some do only the bare minimum to earn a commission check, and others hustle non-stop to sell your property. Before agreeing to work with an agent, ask for references from previous clients, read online reviews and interview the potential agents. Use this list of traits to look for in a real estate agent so you can find the best realtor for you and your property.

Marketing

The best marketing tactic for selling your property depends on local conditions, which is why you need a great realtor on your team. You want an agent who understands the best marketing tactics for moving property, whether that means digital marketing or mailing out postcards.

To find an agent who’s going to work to get eyes on your property, visit open houses in your neighborhood and get to know agents in person. You’ll be prescreening for realtors who will work hard and who have a good personal connection with you.

Local Knowledge

Every real estate market is unique. Buying and selling property in Scottsdale, AZ requires different skills and expectations than rural Kansas. You want to hire a Realtor who’s been working in the local area for several years and has a good understanding of upcoming developments, local schools and market trends. Plus, if an agent has worked in the same market for enough time, that agent can build up a good reputation with the real estate community.

Local Reputation

Real estate transactions often involve multiple agents: One for the buyer and one for the seller. If you hire a realtor with a negative reputation in the local community, you may end up with just a handful of offers for your property or find that few sellers are willing to negotiate with you.

You want an agent who will fight hard for you without scaring away other realtors. Since you should talk to several real estate agents before hiring someone, consider asking each potential agent about the other realtors you’re considering. This may feel awkward at first, but you aren’t trying to gossip or spread rumors. You’re trying to hire a competent professional for an important business transaction.

Teamwork

Buying and selling property is a team effort, and the best realtors build a great team. Ask potential agents about office staff, junior agents and other realtors working for the same office. Not only does a happy, well-rounded team show that the realtor has good people skills, but it also means you should never have to wait for help.

A junior agent can answer routine questions or take you to view property if the senior agent is unavailable. After all, even the best agent in the world can’t schedule five open houses at the same time.

Negotiating Skills

If you’re buying a piece of property, you need to know exactly how much that property is worth. A good agent will run a comparative market analysis, also called a CMA or comps, to assess what other, similar properties have sold for recently.

With this knowledge, your agent can negotiate a great price for you or ask for other concessions like cash at closing, important repairs or an extended closing date. While you want an agent who is kind and easy to work with, the best realtors also know how to play hardball when it’s time to negotiate.

Community Connections

Inspectors. Appraisers. Mortgage brokers. Moving companies. Contractors. You don’t want to spend hours vetting each professional you need to hire. Instead, get your realtor to do the work for you. A good realtor will build a list of reliable services in your area and offer thoughtful referrals.

For example, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might prefer a patient mortgage broker who will walk you through each step of the process; if you’re an experienced real estate investor, your focus is probably on getting the best mortgage rates rather than the best customer service.

Attention to Detail

In some states, you are legally required to hire a licensed attorney to join you at the closing table and ensure your paperwork is in order. This is because buying real estate requires an extraordinary attention to detail. A missing signature or inaccurate disclosure language on a single form might cost you thousands of dollars.

When you’re hiring a real estate agent, be alert to typos in emails, late arrivals to appointments and forgetful tendencies. Avoid any agents who make these small mistakes when interacting with you; small mistakes can have large consequences.

Availability

Buying and selling real estate should be a boutique experience. Your agent should be available by phone, email or text message whenever you need them. You don’t want to be caught in a last-minute bidding war and lose out on your dream home because your realtor was missing in action during a critical moment.

A good agent works with ten or fewer clients at a time, doesn’t hesitate to speak with you during evenings or weekends and responds to emails quickly. After all, the agent will likely earn a five-figure commission; that’s worth a few late phone calls or Saturday morning open houses.

Home Sweet Home

Buying real estate shouldn’t be stressful. With the right agent, you’ll get a great deal on the perfect property without ever breaking a sweat.