Representing the seller or buyer is the bare minimum of what it means to be a real estate agent. Here are the most important qualities to look for before you make a decision.
A Background of Experience
The best real estate agents have a diverse background of skills and knowledge; not only in real estate transactions, but also in personal planning and finance. Relevant experience is a key factor in being able to look at the bigger picture and make strategic decisions when helping you buy or sell a home. They’ll work as a guide to help you navigate the tricky world of real estate.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but always check credentials before choosing a realtor. Each state has boards that are responsible for training and licensing real estate agents—this information can be easily accessed online. Another sign of a successful realtor is extra credentials, such as a CRS, ABR, or SRES, and honors or peer-given awards.
A great realtor is a true “people person” at heart, and most importantly a good listener. He or she should always take your needs as a client into consideration, respect your time, and make an effort to work with your schedule. You may even ask your real estate agent for a list of recent deals in order to get a better idea of what your experience will look like from previous clients.
Knows the Area
When looking to buy or sell a home, it will be particularly beneficial to you to choose an agent who has at least several years’ experience in the area (or who has lived in the area themselves). Ideally, they will have multiple listings in the area you are interested in. Again, this information is readily available online—either through a Multiple Listing Service database or the agent’s personal site. Ask about houses that are up for sale nearby to get an idea of whether or not they are keeping up with the market.