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How To Pick A Good Real Estate Agent

Finding the right real estate agent can feel like a tough job.

A good agent can make or break your home buying or selling experience.

This article will guide you through picking an ideal real estate agent for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the differences between Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers. This helps you know who you’re working with.

  • Get preapproved for a mortgage first. It shows agents you are serious about buying.

  • Ask friends and family for agent referrals to find someone reliable.

  • Interview at least three real estate agents to compare their skills and fit for your needs.

  • Trust your gut when picking an agent. If something feels off, consider other options.

Understanding Real Estate Agent Basics

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Understanding real estate agent basics is crucial in your search for the right professional to help you navigate the property market. It involves knowing the distinctions between a realtor and a real estate agent, as well as understanding the differences between an agent and a broker.

All real estate agents help people buy or sell homes, but not all of them are Realtors.

A Realtor is a real estate agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

They follow a strict code of ethics that goes beyond state laws.

Being part of NAR means they have extra training and standards to meet.

Just because an agent isn’t a Realtor doesn’t mean they’re not good at their job.

Both can handle your real estate needs well.

But if you want someone with that extra layer of ethics and education, look for a Realtor.

Make sure to ask any agent if they are part of NAR when you’re choosing who to work with.

Difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Broker

A real estate broker standing in a modern office with a panoramic view of the city skyline.

A real estate agent helps buyers and sellers with home transactions.

They work under a broker’s license.

Agents must pass an exam to earn their own license, but they don’t manage other agents.

Brokers have more training than agents. They can run their own firms and hire agents to work for them.

To become a broker, one must pass a tougher exam that covers more topics.

Brokers also deal with the business side of real estate.

They handle the money from property sales and make sure all laws are followed in each transaction.

Agents focus on meeting buyers’ and sellers’ needs, showing homes, and negotiating deals.

Both play key roles in the success of buying or selling homes but have different responsibilities.

The Importance of Choosing a Good Agent

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Selecting the right real estate agent is key to a smooth real estate transaction.

The best agents guide you through every step, making sure no detail is overlooked.

They have market knowledge that helps set the right price for sellers and find dream homes for buyers within their budget.

Good agents also bring negotiation skills to secure deals that benefit their clients.

An experienced agent comes equipped with a network of contacts including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and title companies.

This can save you time and stress during the buying or selling process.

They ensure all paperwork is correct and deadlines are met.

Their expertise in understanding real estate commission, contracts, and local laws protects you from potential pitfalls.

Step-by-step Guide to Picking a Real Estate Agent

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– Get preapproved for a mortgage before starting your search.

– Interview at least three agents to find the right fit.

Get preapproved for a mortgage

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To have a strong position when looking for a real estate agent, it’s crucial to get preapproved for a mortgage.

This helps you understand what you can afford and shows agents that you are serious about buying.

Plus, being preapproved may give you an edge in competitive markets.

After getting preapproved for a mortgage, you will be better prepared to move forward confidently when searching for your dream home and selecting the right real estate agent who aligns with your needs and budget.

Ask for referrals

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When searching for a real estate agent, ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals. Personal recommendations can provide valuable insight into an agent’s professionalism and expertise.

Seeking referrals from trusted sources can lead to finding a reliable and capable real estate agent who has delivered positive results for others. Referrals can help in narrowing down the search process by focusing on agents with proven track records.

Referrals are essential in finding a trustworthy real estate agent. They offer insights into an agent’s capabilities through the experiences of others who have worked with them.

Leveraging personal connections to seek recommendations plays a vital role in identifying an experienced and reputable real estate professional within your network or community.

Research potential candidates

To find potential real estate agents, ask for referrals from friends and family. Check online reviews and ratings.

Use the National Association of Realtors’ “Find a Realtor” tool. Interview at least three agents to gauge their expertise and compatibility with your needs.

Review their marketing strategies, experience with properties similar to yours, and knowledge of the local market.

Interview at least three agents

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When choosing a real estate agent, it is important to interview at least three agents. This allows you to compare their expertise, communication style, and knowledge of the local market.

By doing so, you can find an agent who best fits your needs and understands your specific goals.

As part of the process in selecting a real estate agent, interviewing at least three professionals enables you to evaluate their qualifications and assess their ability to meet your requirements.

Request references and check them

Ask for contact information of past clients from the real estate agent and follow up with them to inquire about their experience.

Ensure to ask detailed questions regarding the agent’s communication, negotiation skills, and overall performance.

Trust your instincts

A smiling couple receives keys while seeming to be engaged in a real estate transaction.

Trust your gut feelings when choosing a real estate agent. Pay attention to the rapport you feel with them during your interactions. If something feels off, it’s important to take note and consider other options.

Your instincts can provide valuable insights into whether the agent is the right fit for you and your needs.

Always listen to that inner voice when making such an important decision as selecting a real estate agent. It might pick up on subtle cues that you may overlook in the process of evaluating potential candidates.

Review the contract thoroughly

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Thoroughly review the contract for any discrepancies and ensure you understand all terms and conditions. Seek clarification on any points that seem unclear or confusing to avoid potential issues down the line.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

A good track record and experience is vital. Look for an agent with proven success in your specific area or property type.

A proactive communicator who listens to your needs and responds promptly is essential.

Seek someone knowledgeable about the local market, assertive in negotiations, and tech-savvy.

Transparency, honesty, and integrity are non-negotiable qualities to prioritize when selecting a real estate partner.

It’s imperative to find an agent who can navigate the complex real estate process while offering personalized service tailored to your unique requirements.

An agent committed to leveraging marketing tools and having a robust online presence will also be highly advantageous for reaching potential buyers or sellers effectively.

Purposeful Questions to Ask Potential Agents

Real estate agent showing a property to potential buyers.

When interviewing potential real estate agents, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience and track record. Inquire about their knowledge of the local market and how they plan to effectively market your property.

General questions

Here are some important general questions to ask potential real estate agents:

  1. What is your experience in the real estate industry?
  2. How will you communicate with me throughout the buying/selling process?
  3. Can you provide examples of successful transactions you’ve handled in the past?
  4. What sets you apart from other real estate agents in this area?
  5. How do you stay updated on current market trends and changes that could affect my transaction?
  6. What strategies do you use to help buyers find the right property or sellers to attract potential buyers?
  7. What kind of support team or network do you have to assist with different aspects of the transaction?

Remember, asking these questions can help you make an informed decision when choosing a real estate agent!

Questions for buyers to ask

  1. How long have you been a real estate agent?
  2. Are you familiar with the neighborhood I am interested in?
  3. Can you provide me with references from past clients?
  4. What type of properties do you specialize in?
  5. How will you communicate with me throughout the buying process?
  6. What is your strategy for negotiating the best deal for me?
  7. How familiar are you with the current housing market and trends?
  8. Will I be working directly with you, or will I be passed off to someone else on your team?
  9. What is your approach to finding properties that match my criteria?
  10. How do you handle multiple offers on a property?

Questions for sellers to ask

Questions for Sellers to Ask:

  1. How will you market my property? Include keywords like “luxury homes,” “target audience,” and “advertising” in your response.
  2. What is your experience selling homes in this area? Use terms such as “local market expertise” and “comparative market analysis (CMA)” when explaining.
  3. Can you provide references from recent clients? Include examples of customer reviews and mention the agent’s reputation.
  4. How do you plan to price my home? Discuss the agent’s strategy, considering factors like “capital gains” and “property tax.”
  5. What is your commission rate, and what services are included? Ensure transparency in discussing fees and the listing agreement terms related to the sale of the home.

Remember, each question should be answered concisely without straying from the topic.


Three professionals in business attire standing confidently with arms crossed.

In closing, finding a good real estate agent is crucial for a successful transaction. Take the time to understand the basics and follow a step-by-step process in selecting an agent.

Also, be thorough in researching potential candidates, asking purposeful questions, and trusting your instincts. Remember to look for qualities such as experience, communication skills, and market knowledge when picking a real estate agent.


1. What should I look for in a good real estate agent?

Look for an agent with a strong marketing plan, experience in home buying or selling strategy, and credentials like Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) or Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). They should also be active on social media and have good reviews on sites like Zillow Group or Realtor.com.

2. Why is it important to check if a real estate agent has special certifications?

Special certifications like Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) show that the agent has extra training to help certain buyers or sellers, such as seniors. This means they can offer more tailored advice and services.

3. Can I use online tools to find a real estate agent?

Yes! You can use online tools like the Agent Finder tool on Zillow Group websites or search through Realtor.com to find agents with the right experience and customer feedback.

4. What does dual agency mean when picking a real estate agent?

Dual agency means one real estate broker represents both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. It’s important to understand this because it could affect how your interests are represented during negotiations.

5. How do financial decisions play into choosing a real estate agent?

Your financial situation, including your credit score, mortgage rates you’re eligible for, whether you’re looking at mortgages or refinance options, will influence which type of properties an agent might recommend. An experienced agent can guide you through these financial decisions by providing relevant financial advice.

6. Should I ask about their selling strategy during our first meeting?

Yes! During what could feel like a job interview with potential agents, ask about their selling strategy if you’re selling your home: how they plan to list it, market it across platforms like social media and multiple listing service databases; this helps ensure they align with your goals.