When it comes time to find a real estate agent, there are all kinds of ways you can go about it: Ask a friend. Call a number on a “for sale” sign in your neighborhood. Do a Google search. But, no matter which route you choose, there are some things you’ll want to look for—some that seem obvious, and a few you may not have thought of.
We live in an era where you can find as much information as you want about just about anyone, with just a few clicks. It’s imperative these days to read reviews, whether you’re looking for a good air conditioning technician or someone to help you buy or sell what is likely your largest asset. But don’t just depend on the reviews on the realtor’s website. Google any agent you’re considering, and check out what’s being said about them on Yelp and on social media. Look to see if any complaints have been made about them. And keep in mind that every Realtor—even the best of the best—can have a negative review here and there from a disgruntled client. What you’re looking for is an overwhelmingly positive consensus.
If you’re selling your home, you want your agent to be active, and that means having listings. But the number of listings can be telling. If they just go on and on and on, it could be an indication that the agent doesn’t have the time to give you the level of service you’re looking for.
Is the Realtor you’re considering affiliated with a real estate company you’ve never heard of? This may or may not be of importance to you, depending on their qualifications. But you will want to make sure you do your due diligence to make sure the company is legit.
Are you thinking of using a real estate agent who is newly licensed and has never helped anyone buy or sell a house before? Everyone has to start somewhere, but you might not want to be the guinea pig. You may have pressure from family or friends to use their daughter/cousin/uncle/next door neighbor, but it’s OK to politely tell them that you’re going with someone else—someone with many years of experience.
Their area of expertise
Just because a Realtor has tons of experience doesn’t mean they have experience that’s relevant to your specific situation. Maybe they generally deal with multi-million-dollar properties and you are a first time buyer, or their geographic area is outside your ZIP Code. Either way, it may behoove you to find an agent who is better equipped to work within your specifications.
Even if the real estate agent in question checks all the other boxes, there may still be something off. Maybe they come off as aloof. Maybe they’re so serious you’re afraid to ask questions. Maybe they’re not serious enough. You don’t have to gel with your Realtor. It’s perfectly fine—and perfectly normal—to get through your transaction and never do business with that agent again. But an agent you really mesh with could end up becoming your agent for life, and maybe also become a friend.