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Whether you’re buying or selling a house, choosing the right real estate agent is essential. You need someone with the right qualifications and the patience to get to know you and understand your needs.

Find a Highly Recommended and Qualified Agent
When searching for a real estate agent, the best way to find a qualified person is to listen to people who have worked directly with that individual. Ask your family and friends for recommendations or look for reviews online. If possible, speak with past clients directly. Ask about the agent’s experience and responsiveness, as well as the client’s overall level of satisfaction.

Ask if the agent has taken any specialized classes or earned any industry awards. An individual with the title of REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and is committed to a Code of Ethics. Check with your state’s licensing board to make sure the real estate agent’s license is up to date and ensure that the agent has not been subject to disciplinary action.

Choose the Right Agent for You
Look for a real estate agent with a lengthy track record of success in your geographic area. That means the agent understands the local economy, housing market, school district and other factors that influence buyers’ and sellers’ decisions.

Check the agent’s website. The number of listings can give you a sense as to how busy the agent is, and the type of properties and their price ranges can indicate whether the agent has experience working with clients whose needs are similar to yours.

If you want to receive phone calls only between specific hours, or if you prefer texts or emails, make that clear early on. If you and your spouse are buying or selling a house, make sure the agent knows how each of you prefers to be contacted.

Some real estate agents work with a small number of clients, while others juggle dozens at any given time. Make sure the agent you’re considering will have the time to get to know you and to work effectively on your behalf. Ask if he or she has an assistant who can relay information if the agent is unavailable.

Many real estate agents work in teams, which can be a positive approach since each member may have expertise in a different area or may handle a specific part of the buying or selling process. One potential drawback is that clients may feel that they’re being passed around. Miscommunication and confusion can arise if everyone isn’t on the same page. If your real estate agent is a member of a team, make sure you understand the role of each person and how everyone will communicate.

Do Your Homework
When buying or selling a house, finding the right real estate agent is critical. Do plenty of research and ask a lot of questions to find an agent who has the experience and approach necessary to make the process as smooth as possible.

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