How do you go about finding the best real estate agent for you? You're unique, and the real estate agent that suits your family and friends may not be quite right for you.
Frequently, you will receive a great deal of advice, solicited or not, about who to pick to represent you. Sure, you can just go along, but this is a really important decision. You may decide you want to take a little more time making sure you've found the best agent for you.
Typical advice is to ask friends and family, check online reviews, and interview prospective agents. When it comes to the interview process, carefully consider how prepared each agent is, and how well they explain their services and the process to you. You'll be spending a great deal of time with whichever agent you chose, and you want to feel confident that they know what they're doing and that they take the time to explain each step of the way.
In addition to all of that, you may want to ask each agent you interview for contact information for former clients. The truth is, most clients end up loving their agents, but it's always worth checking to be sure nothing happened during the transactions that disappointed the clients.
You should also check with the local Realtor Association. Not all agents are Realtors. Realtors are held to higher standards than those required of licensed agents. While there may be a very good reason why a particular agent is not a Realtor, you're probably wise to select a Realtor. Realtors cannot have any official sanctions concerning unprofessional conduct, and can't have a recent or pending bankruptcy.
Realtors are bound by a detailed code of ethics, and have dispute resolution mechanisms that are not available to non-Realtors. In short, Realtors are a safer bet, so you might want to confirm that any agent you are considering retaining is a Realtor.
You should also consider the brokerage an agent is affiliated with. Larger brokerages frequently offer more training and support than small brokerages, and that can make a big difference in your transaction!
Finally, you might want to consider the level of education each agent you are considering has achieved. While there are many very bright and knowledgeable agents who may have no more than a high school degree, a little extra education can give the agent a broader perspective that, again, may make a big difference.
I encourage you to take the time to make sure you've found the best real estate agent for you!