Tips for picking a great real estate agent

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Lucille Barrett
Lucille Barrett
Future teen idol. Hardcore tv lover. Social media guru. Zombie aficionado. Travel scholar. Biker, shiba-inu lover, audiophile, Mad Men fan and proud pixelpusher. Working at the junction of minimalism and elegance to answer design problems with honest solutions. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.

With so many mediums such as online ads, yard signs, direct mail postcards, and more used by real estate agents for promotions, it can be difficult to find the right one for your work through all the hype. In fact, the Consumer Federation of America informed that they have the least amount of information on real estate agents. But do not fret yet, as there are many other ways to find an agent’s record and potential.


Below are some tips to help you find a great real estate agent whether you’re selling or buying a property.

1. Contact an Agent’s recent clients- With past clients, “I’d like to know what the asking price was and then what the sales price was,” says William Poorvu, adjunct professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and co-author of “The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment.”
A good way to begin is by asking agents what they have listed and sold in the past year, with contact information. Ask the agent what kind of properties they’ve sold earlier as you want someone specializing in what you are selling. Another important question to ask is how long the homes on the market were?

2. Look for the license and disciplinary actions- Every state has distinct rules regarding licensing and disciplinary actions. This information would be easily available online. Check with your agent and state’s regulatory body or on their website if the agent you consider is licensed or has any disciplinary actions or complaints.

3. Ask about professional awards- Awards such as the “Realtor of the year” awarded by the state or local branch of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is an important one to look for. In this field, the peer rewards count the most.

4. Look for the agent’s credentials- Every profession has specialties. The same applies to real estate agents who might get additional training in certain areas such as residential real estate, and so on. A certain designation used with an agent’s name can indicate their specialty, such as-

If the agent calls herself a Realtor with a capital R, that means she’s a NAR member.

5. Find out about an Agent’s experience- You want an agent who is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. This can be easily found by asking an agent directly or by enquiring in the state licensing authority. The number of years they have been active in the business directly correlates to their service quality.

6. Look at the agent’s current listings- An agent’s current listing can tell you the kinds of neighborhoods and prices they work with. The number of listings also tells if they have a healthy business. Since these days many buyers start their search online, the realtor should be able to use that medium competently and have an attractive presentation of the houses and their work.

7. Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area- A good way to know an agent’s knowledge of your area is to ask them about a recently sold property there; if they know and also give more details, that means he/she really knows the area and is up to date about the market.

Ray Smiley has been the No. 1 individual agent in the office for 7 years and a 13-time recipient of the Remax Platinum Award for Sales Recognition servicing Ottawa, Orleans, Cumberland, Nepean, Kanata, Barrhaven, Gloucester, Riverside South, Stittsville, and the surrounding area.

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