How to Identify the Perfect Real Estate Agent

If you are buying or selling a home or investment property, then finding a good real estate agent is an absolute must. There is a saying in the real estate business- tha "20% of the agents do 80% of business", and that's true, for the most part. Most of us are unaware of how to identify the perfect real estate agent, because they don't always work at the largest brokerage firm, make the highest amount, or finalize the most transactions. The best real estate agents listen to their customers, know the market they're working in, and always conduct their business in an ethical way. Here are some suggestions on finding the right real estate agent.

Look for a licensed Realtor. All Realtors hold a real estate agent's or broker's license, but not all agents are Realtors. Only a licensed Realtor has the right to display the Realtor logo, because they are proud members of the National Association of Realtors. They have made a pledge to follow an ethical code, a list with articles and standards of practice that establish a code of conduct above and beyond what is required by law. Less than half of all real estate agents are Realtors, so look for the Realtor logo to ensure the highest level of service.

Ask for referrals. Most good real estate agents remain in business at least in part because of referrals from satisfied customers. If a customer is happy with their agent, they will recommend them to friends, family and acquaintances. Ask the people you know who they've used in the past, and how their experience was. A successful real estate agent's number one priority is customer satisfaction, and you should look for an agent that will go the extra mile. There are referral websites to help you in your search for the perfect real estate agents, but there's no way to be sure how good the agent is. In most cases, the agent has paid the site in order to be listed. A far safer bet is to do a search on the top real estate companies in your town, go to their sites, and read agent profiles and customer testimonials. You can also ask other agents for referrals- most are happy to refer clients to their associates, especially if the client's need is not a specialty of theirs. Some agents work with just one segment of the real estate market, while some are more general in their work. Mortgage brokers are also a good source of agent referrals.

Go to open houses in your area. By doing this, you can meet prospective agents in their working environment. When you go, take their business card and take notes. Pay attention to how the agent shows the home- are they informative and polite? Do they hand out promotional material or try to "sell" the home's features? You can also pay attention to "For Sale" signs in your neighborhood, making a note of when they are put up and when the property sells. An agent who closes listings quickly may be a better choice than an agent with a lot of open listings. Check the real estate ads- agents run them to sell specific properties, and as a method of self-promotion. Look in the Sunday newspaper for ads from local real estate agents, then check the agent's website, and if they seem like a good fit, call and ask them about their qualifications and experience.

Finding the perfect real estate agent can be difficult, simply because there are so many agents competing for your business. By looking for a licensed Realtor, asking for referrals, attending open houses in your area, and looking for sale signs in your neighborhood, you can make the process a little easier. It doesn't matter whether you are buying or selling a property- finding the right agent can mean more money in your pocket.