How to find the right real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent can give both buyers and sellers an edge in what continues to be a challenging real estate market. Agents, brokers and Realtors¨ are professionals who have distinct expertise and knowledge of the process of buying and selling homes. That expertise is evidenced by how many people rely on real estate professionals each year.

A 2022 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends report found 88 percent of homeowners choose to list their homes with a real estate agent when it comes time to sell.

Individuals understand that it can be in their best interests to work with real estate professionals, but they may not know where to look as they seek to work with one. Here are some tips for finding the right match in a real estate professional.

  • Know the difference in real estate professionals. Real estate agents are required by the state in which they operate to pass a real estate license exam. Real estate brokers take it a step further and undergo additional training, which could bring additional experience to the table. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors and beholden to its strict code of ethics. These individuals also may have undergone additional training that qualifies them to work with certain types of clients, such as seniors.
  • Seek referrals. Friends or family members, or even others in the community, can put people in touch with real estate professionals. When asking for referrals, individuals can inquire about certain professionals and how they handled buying and/or selling a home.
  • Work with the right type of agent. Generally speaking, real estate agents either work with buyers or sellers in the transaction. Many will do both, but some specialize in buying or selling. Find a professional who either does both or specializes in your position.
  • Research an agent’s online presence. Use the internet to see if the agent has a website, a particular philosophy or a specialty. This also may be a place to check online reviews. Don’t be dissuaded by one or two poor reviews. However, if there are many, it may be best to look elsewhere.
  • Meet and interview potential agents. Individuals should speak with a couple of real estate professionals to see what they offer. This is a good way to determine if there is a connection there, and whether the agent will get the results needed. A well-prepared agent will come with data, including “comps” of properties in the area. Professionals typically have information about the current market trends and a portfolio of the homes they have brokered recently.
  • Go with gut instincts. If it’s between two people of equal qualification, select the person with whom you have a stronger rapport. This person will be guiding you through a sizable financial transaction, so comfort level is important.

Finding the right real estate professional can take some time. But the right professional will guide clients through the often complex and occasionally frustrating process of buying or selling property.

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