How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent (and Which Agents to Avoid) | Stateside Movers

Buying a home, especially in an unfamiliar location, can feel overwhelming. Selling a home, with all the preparation for listing, is a ton of work as well. A great real estate agent can smooth this process, but a not-so-great agent can make a tough situation even worse. Here are some tips on how to find a great real estate agent and which ones to avoid.

How to Find a Highly Reliable, Accountable, and Personable Real Estate Agent

Ask around:

If you are moving locally or selling the home you currently live in, asking other locals is a great way to find a good real estate agent. Friends and family probably come to mind first, but don’t limit your search. Reach out to coworkers, neighbors, or even on social media to get a broad range of suggestions. If you are moving far away, it can be harder to find a real estate agent by word-of-mouth. You might have luck if you have any contacts in your soon-to-be hometown. If you are part of a military community, there may be social media groups you can join to learn about local real estate agents. If you are moving for work, coworkers at your new office might be able to make a recommendation.

Ask another real estate agent for referrals:

This is another good approach if you are moving out of town and don’t have any contacts where you are going. Ask a local agent for a referral. Many times, a local real estate agent, especially one who is part of a nationwide network, can refer you to an agent in another city. You might also ask for a referral for a relocation specialist to assist you with an out-of-town search.

Do your research on realtors in the area:

While referrals are a great starting point, that shouldn’t be the end of your search. Take the time to investigate a little bit about each real estate agent you are considering. Looking for ratings online or asking for references from recent customers are two great ways to get feedback. It might feel funny, but go ahead and interview anyone you think you might choose to work with. You want to get a general feel for the agent as well as gather some specific information. In the next section, we’ll talk about what to look for during these interviews.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

There’s no one sign of a good real estate agent, but here are several traits to look for:


Everyone has to start somewhere, but you might not want to be the first client your real estate agent has worked with. If your agent is new to real estate, ask if he or she is working with an experienced agent for guidance.

Local knowledge:

Working with an agent who has detailed knowledge of the local market is critical, especially if you are new to the area yourself. A real estate agent with a deep understanding of the town or city can show you homes and neighborhoods that are the best fit for you and your family, and can show your current home to the right buyer.

Marketing Approach:

If you are looking for a real estate agent to sell your home, be sure to ask how he or she would market it. You may choose an agent based on marketing efforts you have already seen around town. In the current environment, you should expect to have your home listed on multiple sites, with captivating writing as well as high-quality photos and video tours. Direct mail fliers are another good marketing technique.

What to Avoid in a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent who just isn’t that great can really drag out the process. If you are searching for a home, you need an agent who can direct you to houses that fit your needs and budget and help you negotiate a good deal. If you are selling, you want someone who will list your house at a price that makes money while moving quickly. Here are some traits to avoid in a real estate agent:

Lack of Availability:

An agent who is unavailable is probably not working hard enough for you. Some agents take on too many listings and end up neglecting some. Others are dipping their toes into real estate while they hold down a full-time job. Whatever the reason, if your agent is not fully available, watch out.

Too Pushy:

When interviewing agents, discuss your finances and see what they advise. Whether you are in the market or putting your house on the market, you want an agent who is responsive and realistic. Someone who pushes you to spend more than you want or wants to list your house for a really high price may be more interested in making a good commission than in meeting your needs.

Poor reviews or references:

Any agent might have one or two dissatisfied customers, but if you see multiple bad reviews online or ask for references and can’t get a good one, steer clear.

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