So, you want to buy a home. Or maybe you want to sell your home. Either way, working with a real estate professional or REALTOR® is a great idea. But there’s endless agents out there competing to earn your business, so how do you find the right one? Here is a quick list of tips that should help you narrow down the list of potential candidates. From there, it’s up to you!

Do your research

Hands down, the best advice available is simply do your research. It sounds so basic, but regardless of how many more of these tips you read and follow, this is the most important. If you do your homework about working with a potential REALTOR®, you will lessen the chances of getting a dud. Help yourself increase the odds of finding someone who will really work hard for you.

Ask your friends and people you trust

If you know someone who has recently bought or sold a property, ask them who they used. From there, ask about their experience. Get them to explain both the positives and negatives, for instance. Ask how the agent communicated, and how easy they were to reach. If you feel comfortable with their recommendation, get the agent’s name and proceed to Google them.

Just Google them

This is great advice on almost any subject. If you are looking at hiring an agent, you will want to Google them first. Don’t simply look at the first few results- take a look and go a couple pages deep. You will be surprised by what comes up down the line. Maybe they have been involved in legal actions in the past, for example. These things are good to know, and discuss it with them if you want to have an interview with them.

Check out online reviews

A lot of sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and various local media publications will have sections where clients share testimonials. Because these are shared publicly on independent third party sites, they tend to be more reliable than the testimonial section on an agent’s website. The more reviews you can find, the better. Just as you shouldn’t let one rave review sell you, don’t let one bad review deter you. The key here is balance.

Check out their website and social media presence

It’s no longer 2006. A good website that is mobile friendly is necessary. A REALTOR®’s job is to sell your property or find you the best property available on the market before someone else scoops it up. How they communicate online, and how they use technology is a window into how well they can represent you in an online world. You want to find an agent who is up to speed and understands how people share information online.

Check out their credentials

Have they won any industry awards? Have they won any local awards or people’s choice awards? There is probably a reason for it. Good agents tend to get recognized.

Do they sell real estate full time?

In order to be extremely successful at selling real estate, they have to put in the time. It is very hard to do that working part time hours. You want to find an agent who works full time in real estate, so they are available when you need them.

Have an interview

After you have spent the time finding an agent who friends highly recommended, and you have done your research, you should have an informal interview to see if you get along with them. If you are looking to buy a property, you might want to meet in a local coffee shop in the area you would like to buy, and ask questions about the area. If you are selling, consider having the agent over to your property, and have them provide you with an estimated sale price. You can also discuss their commission structure, and the plan they would have to sell your place.

Don’t feel any pressure

Finding a great agent is important. If you feel uncomfortable with someone, chances are other people will as well. Sometimes it works out and you simply “click” with a certain agent, but other times you might have to interview three or four agents before finding someone you want to work with. Not all agents are created equal. Some are a bit better than others, and some are A LOT better than others.

The key to finding a great REALTOR® is to do your research ahead of time. Make sure this is someone you feel comfortable with. This will save you time, heartache, and money down the road. The last thing you want to have to do is find another REALTOR® half-way through the process.

Of course, if you would like an introduction to a REALTOR® or two who I have worked with in the past and highly recommend, please let me know! I would be happy to pass some names on to you. Contact me anytime!