How to hire the perfect real estate agent |

How to hire the perfect real estate agent

Sean and Aimee McDonald

The purchase or sale of a home is oftentimes the largest financial decision a person undertakes. To ensure each step is facilitated, it’s important buyers and sellers hire representation possessing the knowledge, experience and interpersonal skill sets necessary to successfully help them achieve their real estate goals. Acquiring the services of a practitioner well versed in leading clients through the progressive stages of the transaction is crucial. Not all agents possess the same levels of experience and insight; taking the time to interview candidates from varying companies is a key step in ensuring the right professional is hired.

Discussing pertinent facts and outlining expectations is a means of acquiring insight into an agent candidate’s qualifications and character. Whether buying or selling, the role of a real estate professional is significant; yet, many fail to properly attend to this piece. While relationships play an ever-present role in real estate, selecting an agent solely based on personal ties oftentimes carries negative consequences. The selection of professional representation should be determined based on real estate goals and not obligation.

When meeting with agent candidates, buyers and sellers are encouraged to ask open-ended questions relative to how the agent can best serve their interests. While it’s expected the agent candidate will tout the positives, proper vetting also requires prudent fact finding. Interviewers shouldn’t refrain from asking questions pertaining to an agent’s years of experience, areas of expertise and credentials. As a means of verification, requesting references from clientele and searching online reviews is often effective.

Agent candidates should possess extensive knowledge specific to the neighborhoods they serve. Oftentimes, requesting a comparative market analysis outlining comparable home valuations is an appropriate means of uncovering an agent candidate’s knowledge of a given geographic area. Their objective discernment into how comparable properties have fared is usually indicative of their experience.

In today’s technologically-driven society, internet searches have become an ever-present extension of real estate. Yet informed practitioners who are actively engaged in the markets they serve continue to play a vital role in assisting prospective homebuyer’s transcendence from the virtual world.

Other personal preferences should also be explored. Buyers and sellers will want to know whether the agent candidates work alone or within a team, discuss how many clients they represent, know if real estate is their full-time job, determine how communications would be facilitated, and ask if contractual agreements would be available for preview prior to signing. While the weight given to these answers remains subjective, an agent’s responses can influence selection.

In today’s technologically-driven society, internet searches have become an ever-present extension of real estate. Yet informed practitioners who are actively engaged in the markets they serve continue to play a vital role in assisting prospective homebuyers transcendence from the virtual world. Once a property has been found, astute agents have the tenacity to negotiate purchase price and terms well suited to their client’s needs. When interviewing practitioners, homebuyers are encouraged to inquire how the agent candidate would enhance the effectiveness of their search, present offers and respond in competitive situations. In aggressive markets, buyers are oftentimes forced to compete; it is in these circumstances where an agent’s experience proves invaluable.

Yet, beyond the home search and submission of an offer, buyer’s agents must also coordinate each step of the homebuying process, orchestrating the efforts of mortgage lenders, title companies, home inspection services, real estate appraisals and home repairs. During the interview, buyers are best served in discussing the agent’s involvement throughout the process, as the purchase of a home is a series of time-sensitive, codependent activities.

On the opposite side, practitioners who represent the interests of sellers are responsible for a property’s pricing and promotion in a manner appealing to the widest audiences. There’s a discernible balance; ask too much and a home languishes on the market, ask too little and money is left on the table. Homeowners should entrust informed professionals will recommend appropriate price points; however, sellers must also understand some agents may be inclined to recommend unrealistically higher price points to compete for their business.

Placing a sign in the yard isn’t enough; a property’s ability to connect with buyers is only as effective as its marketing plan. When selling, homeowners gain access to a real estate professional’s resources; it’s important they ask how their property would be advertised using the agent’s affiliations. While the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a powerful tool, traditional print media and digital outlets further broaden a seller’s odds of being seen. Well-crafted property descriptions, professional photography, staging and open houses oftentimes evoke interest.

Compensation is likely to be a point of consideration. Buyers generally won’t pay commissions; however, sellers usually do, and the costs vary. Commissions are commonly based on a percentage of a home’s selling price; those proceeds are then dispersed among the buying and selling brokerages at the close of escrow. Commissions are negotiable; homeowners should educate themselves and discuss options.

There are other considerations both buyers and sellers are advised to discuss. There’s the potential an agent may end up representing both sides of a transaction. The industry is sometimes divided about a practitioner’s ability to equitably represent both a buyer and a seller on the same home. It’s advisable to address an agent’s philosophy, should the situation arise.

Professionals follow stringent industry standards; those who exercise ethical decision-making are compelled to transcend personal need. Successful practitioners understand and respect the relationships they share with their clients. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to seek agents who are effective communicators, strong negotiators, analytical, enthusiastic and most importantly, honest.

Proudly serving all of Northern Nevada, Sean and Aimee McDonald, Realtors with RE/MAX North Lake Tahoe, can be reached at 775-250-8335 or They’re online at