A huge percentage of buyers will start their search on the Internet even before they contact a real estate professional. Make sure your agent has an Internet presence and has all their listings well-marketed online. If you don't have one particular agent in mind, the internet is a great place to start. Trulia's Find a Pro directory
has over 700k real estate professionals. Search for someone in your desired zip code who knows your area and has shared some stellar advice online. Likely they'll be an expert who can do the same for you in a one-on-one relationship while they help you buy or sell a home
. Also, as a consumer, you can get "virtual word-of-mouth" recommendations on Trulia. If someone in your social circle (via Facebook) has recommended an agent, you'll see those recommendations on Trulia. It's just as good as getting the inside scoop on a potential Realtor from your neighbor at a block party.
A Word for the New Guy
Just 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the business. But I’m a big believer in supporting the underdog, the new guy, the novice. Listen, we all started somewhere. That’s why I also believe that, yes, an agent needs a few years of experience under his or her belt, but I am also willing to give a promising starter a shot, too. A neophyte’s inexperience can be balanced by his or her drive, hunger, fresh approach, and enthusiasm. So even though I recommend someone with at least five years’ experience in selling, don’t overlook a hardworking fresh face.
Avoid the Part-Time Agent
Avoid anyone who isn’t serious about the real estate business as a career. You want someone who has helped people like you find and buy homes many times and who makes it a full-time job. Anyone who dabbles in real estate for supplemental income or as a part-time job is a no-no. This is too important of a business deal for you.
Work the Neighborhood
Another great way to get a pulse on potential real estate agents is to go to open houses and meet some who are actually in their work environment. You can search for open houses right here on Trulia or on the mobile apps
. Go meet these agents and collect their business cards and jot notes on them. Are they polite and informative? Do they take an interest in your questions and appear knowledgeable about the neighborhood?
You can also gather clues to help you make a wise choice of real estate professionsals working in your area. Pay attention to the listing signs in your neighborhood. Make note of when the For Sale sign goes up and when the Sold sign appears. The agent who sells listings the fastest might be working harder than other agents and will be working hard on your behalf to find the home you’re seeking. Results speak volumes.