Real Estate

Why Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent Really Matters

A real estate agent who communicates well and whose values align with yours can go a long way toward making your home buying experience a pleasure.
Stacey L. Nash Avatar

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The Right Fit

Real estate agents all have different personalities, negotiation styles, and values, and these have an impact on the way they treat their clients, find houses, and strike deals. While it may seem like real estate agents come a dime a dozen, a good one can get you top dollar for your home and make sure you find a new place that has everything you’re looking for. Here are some important reasons why you should take the time to find an agent you can trust and who will work with your best interests in mind.

You’re In It Together

If you haven’t bought or sold a home before, you might be surprised by how much contact you’ll have with your real estate agent. You don’t need to be best friends, but the two of you should mesh. A clash of personalities could lead to anger, resentment, and flat-out distrust, and none of these emotions belong anywhere near deals that involve at least tens of thousands of dollars. Check with friends to see whom they’ve enjoyed working with, and interview at least two or three agents before committing to one.

Know the Local Market

The nuances of the local real estate market involve not only home prices but also school ratings, the characteristics of individual communities, and the potential for reselling the home at a future date. Effective real estate agents should know the local area, the standard prices for different neighborhoods, and neighborhood and school reputations. They should also freely share that information with you. This goes back to trust, which will get mentioned again (and again) because it’s such an important quality in a good real estate agent.


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A Support Team May Provide Better Service

Real estate agents typically work with several clients at a time, which means your agent may not always be available for impromptu phone calls and questions. Agents who work for an agency have a full support staff to help answer questions and take care of anything unexpected. That doesn’t mean you can’t get great service from someone who works mostly solo, but consider what kind of agent access will work best for you.

Trust Matters

Trust matters, which is why it’s been mentioned so many times so far. You should trust your agent to work in your best interests and be honest with you. Yes, your agent is getting a commission, but she’s also serving you. Check reviews. Talk to former clients. If your instincts ever tell you your agent is not being completely up-front with you or not telling you everything you need to know to make an informed decision, go with your gut and find someone else. 


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Specialties Make a Difference

There are specialized markets within the real estate business, and certain agents will know more about these markets and be better able to negotiate and provide services within them. For example, some agents work with senior citizens who aren’t familiar with buying and selling, while others specialize in high-end properties or specific geographical areas. If you happen to be in a niche market, an agent with experience in that niche may be more effective at getting you a better deal.

The Risks are Real, and the Agent Should Tell You

Real estate ventures inherently come with some risk, and your agent should tell you that. Sugarcoating the risks won’t help you. This issue comes back (again) to trust. The agent should tell you all of the pros and cons of a house, the neighborhood, and the financials so you can go into the process with eyes wide open.

High Stress Needs Patience and Compassion

Look for real estate agents who show patience and compassion for their clients’ wants, needs, and general home buying anxieties. Good agents should be well acquainted with the stress of the process and may offer suggestions to help you deal with it. They should remain calm under pressure and realize that, unlike them, you may not have gone through this experience before. If, on the other hand, an agent doesn’t handle stress well, the process could quickly get tense and unpleasant.


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Experience Matters But Isn’t Everything

Experience matters, but it isn’t everything. Even without a long track record, an agent who is honest and trustworthy, and who bends over backward to meet your wants and needs, could be just the one to make your buying process easier. If you’re thinking of going with less experienced agents, be sure to check out the types of homes they list, the language they use to describe their listings, and how they present themselves. Talk to their former clients to get an inside look at how they work.

Clear Communication

This person will be negotiating on your behalf for a house you could be living in for decades to come. Good communication is crucial, and it should flow easily between the two of you. An agent who doesn’t respond to emails, texts, or phone calls can make your stress levels skyrocket. Your agent should be responsive to your questions and clear in his responses. Vague or ambiguous language or frequently delayed responses are signs that communication isn’t your agent’s strength.

Negotiating Takes Talking Power

Real estate agents come in many types, but there’s one thing they should all do well, and that’s talk. The ability to talk comfortably and authoritatively is the hallmark of clear communication, but it’s also a sign of how well people interact with others, including other agents and industry professionals. You shouldn’t feel pressured or awkward when you’re conversing with your agent. Someone who enjoys communicating and makes that communication pleasant can help ease anxiety and stress, and will probably do a better job of representing you.


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Align Your Values

Honesty, trustworthiness, patience—you know what matters most to you. Your real estate agent should know this too and should respect and reflect that in their values, communication, and negotiation style. You want an agent who thinks along the same lines as you. Be honest about what you need. Talk to former clients of your prospective agent, and be wary if anything seems disreputable, untoward, or shady.

Don’t Discount Passion

Experience is great, as is deep knowledge of the local real estate market. Don’t, however, completely discount someone whose big selling point is passion. Passion can make up for a fair amount of inexperience. Listen to how an agent talks about local properties, and read through his brochures. Passionate agents are excited about the process and are driven to work hard to provide their clients with the best experience possible.