How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent: The Ultimate Checklist

Your real estate agent can make or break your home buying or selling experience. But how do you know if you’ve found the right one?

It can be a challenge to find the right real estate agent. How do you know if you’ve found the right one? What qualities should you look for when selecting an agent? We’ve put together the ultimate list of 7 critical qualities your real estate agent should possess.

1. Licensed

This sounds basic, but you’d be surprised by how many people market themselves as “agents” when they don’t hold a valid, current real estate license. Licensed agents are held to the standards and responsibilities governed by the state’s real estate commission. The laws for real estate vary by state but make sure that the person handling your sale is a qualified and licensed real estate agent in good standing.

How can you check? Ask for his or her agent number. Then you can double check the name and agent number on your state’s real estate commission website. (You can find your state’s real estate commission website by typing in “real estate commission” and your state on your favorite search engine.)

2. Readily Available

Real estate is an unpredictable business, and you don’t want to lose out on a sale or closing on a deal because your agent wasn’t immediately available when someone showed interest.

Consider hiring an agent who works within a team. If your agent isn’t immediately available to respond to inquiries for some reason, another agent on the team can step in and not leave you hanging without an agent.

Great agents should be comfortable with constant communication and prompt replies. They should be willing to communicate via phone, text, or email, even after business hours.

3. Knowledgeable

Look for an agent who has a successful sales record in your area. Markets vary considerably and great agents know the ins and outs of your particular city or town. Even if an agent has years of experience, she or he may not have the local knowledge to be successful in your particular area.

Also, make sure that your agent specializes in the type of property you’re handling. If you’re buying or selling a residential property be sure to work with a residential agent. Your agent needs to be knowledgeable in the type of real estate you’re dealing with because not all markets are the same.

4. Backed by Local Data

Your agent should know how to retrieve localized data and use it effectively. Local data points, including buyer demographics (who they are, where they are) and housing trends (top regions, average value of similar homes, home improvement spending), can be used to price your home competitively, market appropriately, and negotiate intelligently.

5. Well Connected and Reputable

Look for an agent who already has a list of prospective buyers or who works within a well-known and well-connected real estate agency. The more people and agents that your agent knows, the more likely they’ll be to sell your home quickly.

Similarly, a well-connected agent can promote your listing to their network of out-of-state and international buyers. People buying from afar are more likely to purchase a home if it’s recommended by someone whom they know, like and trust.

In other words, the size and quality of your agent’s network can greatly expand your pool of potential buyers, by putting the listing in front of out-of-state and international prospects.

And don’t forget to read the testimonials from previous clients before hiring an agent.

6. Honest

When it comes to selling your home, you want your agent to be brutally honest about what your home is worth and what you can do to raise the value of your home. Don’t take it personally if your agent tells you to rip out that shag rug or repaint the neon lime walls in your home. They know what sells.

Also, your agent should be transparent about how he or she determined the price. You should be able to see which resources were used to estimate the value and how the amenities of the listing impact the price.

7. Tech Savvy

Gone are the days of people finding home listings through the newspaper or real estate advertisements. You need your agent to know the ins and outs of selling a home online. From Zillow and Trulia and every other real estate website in between, they need to have a strong online presence to sell your home.

Most buyers won’t even come to see a home if there isn’t a great online description, accompanied by both images and videos of the property. Look at your agent’s portfolio of homes for sale to see how they represent their other clients’ properties. You want an agent who creates HD videos and high-resolution images for prospective buyers to see.

Your real estate agent can make or break your home buying or selling experience. Always meet an agent in person before hiring one and ask tons of questions to make sure he or she has qualities of a great agent.

Alexandra is the Manager of Social Media & Content for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in Hoboken, NJ and loves taking advantage of the many local perks (read: dogs EVERYWHERE) and proximity to Manhattan. Her idea of relaxing is perusing the aisles of Sephora and proofreading copy. No, really.

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7 Comments

  1. Crystal Brown
    June 12, 2017

    I interested in selling my home and I’m looking for a local agent for the Wilmington Delaware area zip code 19805 please send information thanks

    Reply
    • Linda Phillips
      June 21, 2017

      Hi Crystal Did a agent get back with you regarding your request? Please contact me at lindaphillips@chicora.net I will be happy to talk with you and have a local Coldwell Banker agent contact you.

      Reply
  2. Kathie Sachs
    July 20, 2017

    We are interested in selling our home sometime next spring. Right now we need to know if we are up to code, etc. We need to know what needs to be fixed, inspected, etc. We live in a 55+ community-single detached home but part of a condo community. I think that we would greatly benefit from a pre-listing home inspection. Is that something that your firm does? We would very much to speak with an agent in determining how we can get our home ready to be sold.
    Thank you,
    Kathie Sachs

    Reply
  3. Kathie Sachs
    July 20, 2017

    I guess I should have told you where we live. We live in Warrington, Pa. 18976.

    Reply
  4. Jane Ambrose
    August 10, 2017

    My husband and I have been thinking about selling our house soon, but before we do so, we want to make sure that we have a great agent that can really help us throughout the process. It is so true that a good agent will be able to expand your pool of potential buyers. It seems like commitment and organization are really good qualities to keep an eye out for when looking for a real estate agent. I’ll be sure to share this with my husband!

    Reply
  5. Finley Moreira
    August 17, 2017

    My wife and I are looking at buying a new home, so your article was actually quite helpful. I never really considered that hiring a real estate agent could be helpful, especially if they specialize in the type of property we want sold/bought. How would we go about determining an agent’s specialty before hiring them?

    Reply
  6. Harper Campbell
    September 12, 2017

    I like how you mentioned that when it comes to finding a real estate agent that one thing we need to look for is one that is readily available. It will be nice to have someone that will respond quickly to inquiries about different on goings or if we have any questions. As we get ready to buy our first house this is something that we will have to look for when we start looking for one.

    Reply

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