With the growing numbers of real estate agents, it can be quite a challenge for a homebuyer or seller to find the right real estate agent to work with. With so many agents vying for clients, you may feel overwhelmed with offers and opportunities as a buyer or seller. Matching your wants and needs with an agent who can provide you the personality, drive and effort you are looking for can make the difference in whether you have a good experience with your property search or home sale. Here are 7 tips for picking a great real estate agent:

  1. ASK FOR REFERENCES FROM PAST CLIENTS

Find out how long they have been in the business and what their area of expertise is, and ask specific questions pertaining to your situation. Buyers should ask how the agent would handle their offer in a bidding war situation. Sellers should ask how the agent will help them prepare the property for sale.

2.CHECK LICENCE AND OTHER IMPORTANT DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

Check with your area’s regulatory body to find out whether an agent you’re considering is licensed and or has any disciplinary actions or complaints. You can also find that information posted online.

3. ASK YOUR AGENT QUESTIONS

The growing trend third-party services capturing buyers has led to a decline in what was formerly known as “the buyer’s consultation.” All buyers and sellers should interview agents and their firms. One way to do this is by asking, “What were the requirements for being hired at your current firm?” If the answer is some version of the fog-the-mirror test, then it would be a matter of concern.

4. CHECK FOR THE AGENT’S EXPERIENCE RECORDS

The first question you will want to ask when hiring an agent is how long have they been working. A lot of new agents will appear to have been in business a long time when in reality they may have licensed for only a year or two. And that’s fine if they have a mentor they work with, so find out.

5. CHECK FOR THE AGENT’S KNOWLEDGE OF THE MARKET

An agent’s knowledge of the market and process, whether it be rentals or sales, plays a big part in being the right fit. Also, evaluate their attentiveness and follow-up habits. If most of your time is spent chasing him/her for answers and looking into information the agent should know or obtain — those are red flags.

6. CHECK THE AGENT’S AVAILABILITY

Buying or selling a home takes a lot of time and doesn’t align to normal working hours. Look for an agent with a team or at least an administrative assistant, as that will relieve some of the busy work that agents normally deal with and free him or her up to do the real work of buying and selling your home.

7. CHECK THE AGENT’S CREDENTIALS

Sometimes, the agent might have credentials that prove that the agent has taken classes in a certain area of real estate sales. For instance:

CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.

ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.

SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.