How to Choose a Real Estate Agent: 10 Factors to Consider

A skilled real estate agent will map out a plan to help you achieve your home buying or selling goals within a suitable timeframe. Here are ten factors to consider when you’re thinking about how to choose a real estate agent.

Before you buy or sell a home in Philadelphia, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a real estate agent. A skilled real estate agent will map out a plan to help you achieve your goals within a suitable time frame. Here are ten factors to consider when you’re thinking about how to choose a real estate agent.

1. They Return Calls

Communication is important in every business relationship. A good real estate agent responds to your requests rather than keeping you waiting for answers. Emails, text messages, or phone calls, whichever is your preferred method of communication, should be returned promptly.

2. A Selling Agent Presents a Solid Marketing Plan

If an agent is going to sell your home, they must have a solid plan of the best way to do so. Open houses, online postings, or other forms of advertisements should be included in marketing discussions with your agent.

3. They’re Familiar with your Neighborhood

Local knowledge assists with pricing homes and providing support for purchase offers. For buyers moving to a new area, you’ll rely on your agent to steer you into neighborhoods that will be the best fit for you.

4. They Understand You

Nothing is more frustrating than asking to see newer homes around 3,000 square feet in size and then having your real estate agent show you 5,000-square-foot historical properties. Real estate agents need to understand what types of homes make your heart beat faster.

5. They Know How to Get Your Home Show-Ready

Does your house need staging or added curb appeal? Ask your potential agent for advice on getting your home ready to show. A good agent understands what buyers want and will offer tips on where your repair/replacement budget is best spent.

6. You’re Comfortable Asking Them to Represent You

To avoid micro-managing the buying or selling process, give your agent set parameters with regard to dealing with items like low-bid offers. When agents work with specific guidelines, they can better respond to inquire about your home and won’t need to contact you before returning calls to other agents.

7. They Use Technology Effectively

Technology is now part of everyday life and skilled real estate agents should leverage these advances to be more efficient and effective. Prior to stepping into the market, many buyers search for Philadelphia homes online. A strong agent knows how to reach these buyers and encourage them to look at your home.

8. They Understand the Law

Real estate agents aren’t lawyers, but they should demonstrate some basic knowledge of real estate regulations, especially those applicable in Pennsylvania. If you do have a legal question, real estate agents can also refer you to the right resources if they don’t know the answer.

9. You Trust Them

A home sale or purchase is a huge undertaking, and you need to trust the person you’re working with to accomplish this transaction. Real estate agents will handle your deposit money until closing and will also help you decide between offers that may be thousands of dollars apart in price.

10. You Understand How They Will Be Compensated

To some extent, real estate commissions are negotiable, but in the end you and your agent must agree on compensation. The agent will work hard to earn this commission, which is paid at the closing of the transaction.

If you’re still not sure how to choose a real estate agent, interview several potential candidates before making a final decision. Finding the appropriate person to guide you makes the buying or selling process less challenging and gives you a better chance of success.

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Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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17 Comments

  1. Jenna Hunter
    February 9, 2017

    We have been trying to move closer to my 20-year-old son’s college for about four months without any success. It was helpful to learn that a strong agent knows how to reach these buyers and encourage them to look at your home. I will be sure to get in contact with an expert this week who knows his/her stuff about selling the house through technology!

    Reply
    • Victoria Keichinger
      February 9, 2017

      Glad you found this helpful, Jenna! If you’re ready to search for a real estate agent, you can do a search on coldwellbanker.com. Best of luck!

      Reply
  2. Frank Delaware
    February 9, 2017

    Thank you for all this great information about choosing a real estate agent! One thing that really stood out to me is that you say to check and make sure that they are returning your calls. It would be nice to know that you will be able to contact them when you need them.

    Reply
    • Victoria Keichinger
      February 9, 2017

      Glad you found this helpful, Frank! If you are ready to search for a real estate agent, you can do a search on coldwellbanker.com. Best of luck!

      Reply
  3. Burt Silver
    February 17, 2017

    I totally agree that good communication is one of the most important things you can look for in a real estate agent. It is important to be on the same page about everything, so it means a lot if they are willing to return calls. My wife and I are looking to sell our home in the next year, so we are looking for a real estate agent to help us. Communication is one of the biggest things we are looking for.

    Reply
    • Victoria Keichinger
      February 17, 2017

      Glad you agree, Burt! If we can help you find a real estate agent in your area, please let us know. Best of luck in your search!

      Reply
  4. John
    February 21, 2017

    I think there’s a lot to be said about having a real estate agent that understands your neighborhood. Like the article states, an agent familiar with the community can help sellers price their homes appropriately, and help buyers find a neighborhood that fits your needs. My wife and I have been contemplating about moving to a new neighborhood that is a little bit more suited for our children, so I think we could really benefit from having an agent help us identify a neighborhood that will suit our wants and needs.

    Reply
  5. Trayson Evans
    February 24, 2017

    I would be really interested in the marketing tactics that the selling agent is going to use. I would like to see them advertising the house on as many platforms as possible. The more places the house is advertised on, the better. If I knew what their plan was, I could help them market it. I want to sell the house too, after all.

    Reply
  6. Olivia Nelson
    March 31, 2017

    I agree that you would want to find a realtor who you can trust. it would seem that to establish this trust you would have to meet with them at least once before you hire them. I’m looking for a realtor to help me buy a home so I’ll have to find someone who I can trust.

    Reply
  7. Dave Anderson
    June 13, 2017

    My wife and I are planning on moving soon and we need to make sure that our house is up on the market. Like you mentioned, I think that it would be imperative to make sure that the person you choose is someone who has great communication skills and not only responds to you promptly but also is able to express themselves fully. That way, we would be able to know exactly what is going on with our house in every moment which would be nice.

    Reply
  8. Marcus Coons
    August 21, 2017

    My wife and I are planning on buying our first house soon but want to learn a little more about the process first. I agree with you in that it is important to choose a real estate agent that is familiar with the area where you want to buy and can provide you with the information you need about it. It makes sense that choosing an agent that has your best interests in mind and can provide you with the housing options you seek would help you get the best deal for your money.

    Reply
  9. Alexandria Martinez
    September 13, 2017

    My mother needs to find a realtor soon and wants some tips on how to pick one. I will let her know that she should find someone who is familiar with her neighborhood. That way she can get a good price on her home.

    Reply
  10. Taylor Bishop
    October 2, 2017

    Thanks for going over some ways to get a real estate agent. I’m glad that you mentioned that it’s important to make sure that they understand you and the kinds of homes that will make you happy. Definitely sounds like it could be worthwhile to have a good, thorough discussion about it so that they know exactly what you are looking for. Perhaps they could even give you some tips that could help you in your search.

    Reply
  11. John
    October 3, 2017

    Thank you for all this great information about choosing a real estate agent!

    Reply
  12. Zachary Tomlinson
    October 10, 2017

    Great tips! I love how you mentioned about checking an agent for a solid marketing plan which includes open houses, online postings and other forms of advertisements. My sister is going to move to another town and she wants to sell her house, so I’ll definitely share this information with her in order to help choose a good specialist.

    Reply
  13. Dan Moller
    November 3, 2017

    My mom left me a house after she passed away after my dad a few years back so my wife and I have decided to sell our own, have the old house renovated with the money, then move in. If you’re anyone who’s familiar with managing a business, you would know that an effective marketing plan is an important key to achieve your financial goals, and it only makes sense to hire someone who understands this. Hiring an agent who communicates well with her client is also another important method in choosing a realtor since this helps relay information faster and more efficiently.

    Reply
  14. Frank Delaware
    November 14, 2017

    My wife and I have been thinking about selling our house for some time now, but we didn’t know how to find the right person the help us out. One thing that really stood out to me is that you say to make sure that they have local knowledge of the price of homes in your area. I know that I would want to match some of those prices to get the best I can.

    Reply

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