As real estate becomes an increasingly popular career choice, many regions have thousands and thousands of real estate agents. Whether you’re buying or selling, it is important to understand what makes a real estate agent great and how you can find one to best represent you and your needs.

Here are three things to consider when finding that perfect real estate agent.

1. Marketing

When evaluating a real estate agent based on his or her marketing prowess, consider a few things. The first is placement: Where are the advertisements placed and is the audience they’re exposed to relevant? The second is frequency. If the real estate agent places one ad annually, perhaps this won’t be effective for you. The third thing to think about is whether the advertising is corporate (advertises the real estate agent) or focuses on advertising homes.

In a seller’s market, where homes sell in a few days, marketing may not be as effective a tool for a seller. In other markets, it can be of paramount importance. Where it just takes one buyer, exposure may be the key to finding that person.

You also want to consider the real estate agent’s use of open houses. When done strategically, an open house can be a good way to announce a listing to the market and get potential buyers or selling agents through a home. However, they are not a blanket strategy and should not be overused, or it will be to a listing’s detriment. Be wary of agents who want to host open houses on your property every weekend, or who offer prizes in exchange for visitors. These may be agents who are looking to leverage your listing to get potential buyers for other sales. I always remind my sellers that a qualified buyer will make the time to book an appointment if he or she is truly interested in your property.

One last thing on marketing: Don’t get starry-eyed by the breakdown between digital and print marketing. There are many agents who will tell you they only advertise online. Perhaps they even speak about how they have millennials working on their online presence and insist that print media is dead. But — what is the market? If they’re dealing in the luxury sphere with older buyers, or placing expensive ads in long-lasting coffee table magazines with high readership, print marketing may be extremely effective.

2. Hand-Holding

You don’t want a real estate agent who is going to hold your hand throughout the process. Yes, you read that right! A common misconception is that a real estate agent who calls you constantly to check in and update you is doing a great job.

What’s more likely is that that real estate agent has more time on his or her hands than you’d like. It is more important that your real estate agent check in periodically, but be constantly out with clients on showings and making deals happen. A busy real estate agent is a real estate agent who has a network that can sell your home.

If you’re a buyer, a real estate agent who checks in regularly may help you achieve success in a seller’s market, where homes can sell very quickly. A real estate agent who doesn’t get back to you quickly regarding setting up viewings in this kind of market can hinder your buying success.

3. Confidence

Certainly, the key indicator of whether you’ll work well with someone is whether or not you trust them. This expands to any kind of hired professional, but is essential with a real estate agent.

You want to ensure that the trust you have in your real estate agent is based not only on his or her personality, but also on past performance. If you’re listing your property, choose a real estate agent who has a good reputation selling in the neighborhood or property niche. Perhaps your home is luxury and there is one agent who tends to sell the highest properties in your city. Maybe there is an agent who dominates the waterfront market and your home is riverfront. A past track record of relevant sales is important, as it will show you this agent knows how to market and sell such properties.

It is also important to understand that not all established real estate agents are active in an equal way. Though you may have the impression that a real estate agent is producing sales based on word of mouth or signage, make sure you actually see a list of sales.

We often deal with clients who are top of their fields, whatever they may be. It is important for such clients to understand that just as they are successful in their field, we are in ours. The trust that comes with that understanding allows us as agents to negotiate more effectively on their behalf and to consequently help them achieve their real estate dreams. If you don’t trust your real estate agent, you’ll be more likely to conceal salient facts, such as financial stress that may impact your ability to wait out a slow market.

These are a few of the things to consider when choosing a real estate agent, with track record and trust being the most important.

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