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July 17, 2019

What should you look for in a real estate agent?


The right real estate agent, also called a real estate broker, is a helpful guide through an often complicated and rapidly changing environment, helping you both sell your current home and buy a new one. Not all real estate agents are equally effective, however. Let's look at what you should seek out in a real estate agent, and review some basic concepts tied to these professionals.

What are the different types of real estate agents?

Real estate agent is an umbrella term that can refer to a number of more specialized roles, including:

  • The seller's agent, who focuses on listing your property and selling it under the most favorable terms possible, as Angie's List pointed out.
  • The buyer's agent, who dedicates their efforts to helping prospective homebuyers identify properties that fit their price range, desired location and many other potential requirements and qualifications.
  • The dual agent, who comes into play when the buyer's and seller's agents both work through the same real estate brokerage firm. This can lead to some complications, but is also common in certain situations, The Balance said.

Other important designations to keep in mind are real estate brokers, who work for a franchise or firm, often a large one. They have potentially valuable connections. Independent agents are in many ways the opposite, as they aren't tied to a specific firm. They may offer a lower expense and access to a wider variety of properties.

A real estate agent showing a couple a potential home.A good real estate agent makes it that much easier to move into your first home.

How do I find a great real estate agent?

There are certain foundational needs that you should look for whenever you seek out a seller's or buyer's agent, such as the appropriate certification or license in your state, a professional attitude and general competency. A quick check-in with the relevant state agency, along with online reviews, references and a little personal interaction, can help you check off these boxes. Beyond the basics, you should also consider factors such as:

  • Your seller's agent's range: Some real estate agents focus on a handful of neighborhoods or a few towns, especially in heavily populated areas with lots of housing. Others cover broader areas, U.S. News & World Report said. Make sure you understand your needs - whether you want to focus on a few downtown neighborhoods or half of the state - and choose a real estate agent who covers a similar area.
  • Their understanding of the local market: Both buyer's and seller's agents need to have a strong understanding of current trends in the area they work in. Are larger homes at a premium? Are condos undervalued? When your real estate agent has answers to questions like these, they can better market your home and help you find a new one.
  • Grasp of architecture and design: A real estate agent may be a top negotiator. But if they can't reliably identify the characteristics of a home that you want, it will be hard to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Once you find a great real estate agent, it's only a matter of time until you'll need a similarly dependable group of professional movers to help you make the trip. To learn more, reach out to your local Atlas agent today!