Six Things to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

| August 13, 2012

couple with real estate agentChoosing an effective real estate agent is often the key to successfully buying or selling your home. The person you hire for this important task has a definite impact on your results, so consider these six traits of a good real estate agent during your search.


Few purchases or sales are as intimate and financially significant as your house. Look for an agent with whom you feel comfortable and who understands you and what you want. Such a professional should ask pointed questions when you first meet in order to discover exactly what you seek. During that initial meeting, the agent should do most of the listening and you should do most of the talking.


True, a new agent could buy or sell a home, but the more experience, contacts and understanding of the market an agent has, the better. Look for someone with at least five years of full-time experience. If you do hit it off with a less-experienced agent, go with someone who consults with a competent, more experienced mentor.

Properly Licensed

Make sure that the agent has an active real estate license and is in good standing within the real estate field. Find this information by inquiring with your state’s real estate commission.

Well-Informed About the Market and Industry

An effective real estate agent stays informed about what is happening in the real estate industry and the local market. Such a professional can save you time and money by letting you know critical information such as the fact that a school will be built in the area in which you’re looking for a home.

Upfront About Fees

A real estate agent’s commission, or salary, should be one of the first things that the agent shares with you. Real estate agents work for brokers, who manage the real estate company or brokerage firm handling the sale. The broker gets the fees from the sale, and the agent gets a portion.

If you are the seller, you are responsible for paying the fees that get split between the seller’s and buyer’s brokers, which are usually 2 to 4 percent for each side of the transaction. These fees are negotiable to a certain extent, which is something you can discuss with your agent. If you are the buyer, you should retain an agent separate from the seller’s. It is also possible that the seller and buyer have different agents that work for the same broker, which can also affect fees.

Possesses a Solid Sales or Buying Plan

A good real estate agent will let you know his or her marketing plans in regards to buying or selling your home. As a buyer, the agent should let you know important facts, such as how the home search will be accomplished and how the offers will be handled. As a seller, you should find out exactly how your home will be sold in terms of online and offline marketing, such as setting up a website or other advertising.

Finding a good real estate agent takes doing your homework, but the results—buying or selling your home—are well worth the effort.

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Category: Real Estate, Real Estate Agents & Brokers

About the Author ()

Julie Bawden-Davis is a Southern-California-based writer specializing in home and garden, real estate, small business and personal finance. Since 1985, her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Entrepreneur and The Los Angeles Times. Julie is a University of California Certified Master Gardener and has written five gardening books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening.