How To Hire The Right Real Estate Agent

July 12, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Client Advice,Realtors and Real Estate Agents in Baltimore,Seller Tips For Selling A Home In Baltimore

Hiring the right real estate agent is a critical factor when considering to buy or sell real estate.  The sheer amount of existing agents in the market seem to minimize the value of the real estate profession as a whole.  Consumers often look at agents as homogeneous with little or no distinguishing professional values that contribute significance to the home buying or selling process.

Real Estate agents also contribute to this image since most are often “eager” to devour the prospect and seem “hungry” to do almost anything to get commission from a sale.

The truth is, most real estate agents don’t make a lot of money.  Most are part time with other full time jobs and look at a deal or two per year to help with bills around the house or periodic income surges for occasional spending sprees.

The elite real estate agents are most often those that focus a very high percentage of their time on marketing, sales, business building, continuing education and developing their network of contiguous real estate pros.  These are the real estate agents you want to hire for your next transaction.

  • Qualifications and Experience

Particular qualifications and experiences held by real estate agents will vary greatly.  Quite often, you’ll see some agents with various initials after their name that indicates that they are “certified as” something special in real estate.  Most of the time this merely means that they finished a course or training.  It doesn’t validate their expertise however, and is unreliable as a true indicator of competence.

The best way to truly get a grasp on the background and experience of a real estate agent is to ask them for a list of their 5 most recent transactions.  This will tell you the frequency in which they actually do deals and also give you the opportunity to talk directly with their recent clients.  If an agent won’t provide this, you can get it from,, Zillow, Redfin or one of the other property directories.  Just search for transactions based on their name and firm and a list of their transactions should pop up.  If not, they are not doing deals.

If the real estate agent is new or still in training, its perfectly fine to give them a shot at representing you.  Just make sure they have someone on their team that is mentoring them and watching over the transaction.  If they have a superstar that they look to for answers, that superstar works for you too.

  • Geography

The actual location of the agent is also a critical factor since they should know the area in which you wish to buy or sell in order to sell fast for the highest price or buy for the best price given the current local activity that impacts price.  They should know key people in the area that can help them to help you and be familiar with what’s current as far as development, schools, politics and things that you want to know for factoring into your decision making process.

The best agent actually lives in or close to your target area.  They drive there frequently, shop there, use the schools, churches and community amenities that all add up to giving them a competitive advantage to better serve your needs as a buyer or seller.

  • Customer Service Oriented

Your real estate agent should always put you first.  They should operate to serve your best interest and zealously advocate on your behalf.  Not through incivility, but rather through the professional display of their competence in negotiations, marketing, and advice they give you from start to finish.  You should always be able to ask your agent anything related to your transaction and if they don’t know the answer, they should be willing to get it for you or bring in the right professional that can.

Accessibility is also important since many agents are really bad at returning phone calls, answering emails or being responsive to their clients.  This is often because they are a one man (or woman) show and do everything themselves.  Make sure that they have a team or support that assist them on a regular basis.  If they are a one person show, then make sure they have good systems in place that allow for proper customer service and quick responses to your inquiries.  Nothing should fall through the cracks since time is often of essence when it comes to real estate transactions.

  • Price and Commission

Don’t be afraid to ask your real estate to explain what they do for their real estate commission.  Normally, the good agents charge higher commissions since they have to provide better services, hire competent support and have marketing that costs money.  Its perfectly fine to pay higher commissions, so long as you know that you are getting more services and value from the increased level of expertise and professionalism that your real estate agent brings to the table on your behalf.  It is not uncommon to pay higher commissions, but save on the purchase of a new property since you had the better negotiator or even get more for the sale of your home because it was priced right and sold quickly.

  • Access To Other Professionals

Your agent will need a team of other professionals to close your deal.  If you are a buyer you will need a mortgage loan officer for financing, and inspector to look at the condition of the property, a title company or closing attorney to facilitate the legal and contractual requirement to transfer ownership, perform wire transfers and cut checks.  Your agent should have access to seasoned professionals that they can refer to you for selection as well as tell you who to potentially stay away from based on their past experiences with them.

Ideally, your agent should serve as your “go to” for recommending these other professionals and you should have a few to choose from.  With that said, it will be up to you to chose who you hire for other services.  Make sure you check them out just as good as you checked out your agent’s past history and transactions.  Talk to their past clients and make an informed decision on whom to hire.