Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned seller, the process of buying or selling a home is challenging, and sometimes stressful. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, with the right agent by your side, the homebuying journey – from house hunting to signing the contract – can be thrilling. After all, you want to work with a professional who advocates on your behalf, sells your home for top dollar, or helps you find the perfect home for the best price. But what makes a good agent? A good real estate professional is someone who is personable, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and has the resources and tools to get the job done.
So, what qualities should you look for in a good real estate agent? Sometimes finding the perfect match is more difficult than anticipated. To guide buyers and sellers on the path towards working with the right real estate agent, we asked Redfin Partner Agents to share their expertise and weigh in on the top qualities to look for in a real estate agent.
1) Honesty and Integrity
Honesty and objectivity are the most important qualities of a good real estate agent, before anything else, our client’s interests come first. The best thing I can do for my clients is to make sure that the home they want is the “right” home for them. I do this by honestly and objectively providing clients with as much information as possible in order for them to make a decision.
– America Foy Broker and Owner at RFD America
When considering a real estate agent, make sure that they are extremely communicative and responsive, but above all else, is someone that has integrity. The first two qualities of what makes a good agent are easily measurable from interactions and correspondence, but the last quality you will need to investigate further. Do your due diligence on researching an agent, their track record, and their past client testimonials. Ask the agent for references and ensure that the agent is someone that past clients would recommend working with.
– Peggy Lim, REALTOR® at EXP Realty of California, Inc
When looking to hire a real estate agent, clients look for the five important traits in that person. Integrity, a client’s best interest always comes before any agent’s personal financial gain. Experience, it’s important to work with an agent who is versed in different facets of the transaction. Track record, look for agents that have survived different cycles of the real estate markets. The extra mile, a good real estate agent must be willing to do beyond what the average agent will do. Availability, being available when your client needs you not only to show a property but provide the education and moral support that help reinforce the purchase or sale of a home.
– Maggie Carnot, REALTOR® at Own Real Estate
2) Knowledge and Expertise
My advice to anyone looking to buy or sell their house is to work with a local agent that knows the market really well. Local agents know more details about the local developments, ins-and-outs of the neighborhood. Personality also plays a role in working with a particular person. I have noticed over the years that people will talk to their family or friends to ask about who they recommend working with to buy a house.
– Hamid Aziz, Broker and Owner at Aziz Realty
As you begin your real estate journey, it’s important to find a real estate professional that has the knowledge and expertise of your market area. Additionally, you want to hire an agent who you feel comfortable with, and is able to meet any unique needs you may have. A reputable real estate professional will focus on building a lasting relationship with you, and won’t see you as a “paycheck”. Remember, only hire a real estate agent who will offer honesty and integrity that you deserve.
– Freddie Webb, Owner/Broker at Johnson & Webb Realtors
The two most important qualities of a good real estate agent are experience and local market knowledge. Buying a home is the largest investment most people make in their lifetime. An experienced and knowledgeable agent will provide the tools you need to be successful in the complicated and stressful endeavor. Too often, buyers use part-time or inexperienced agents who are friends/relatives, or an agent they meet at an open house. Your agent should not only be experienced but also have expert market knowledge in the area you are purchasing. Property values can differ widely, even from neighborhood to neighborhood.
– Marc Van Steyn, REALTOR® at REMAX Premier Choice
The most important items for clients to consider when looking for a real estate agent are comfortability, knowledge, and support. Everyone should be comfortable with their real estate agent in terms of them being personable and hospitable towards the client and every other agent they may work with. Obviously, knowledge is a key item, most clients do not want their real estate agent to miss something they may buy or not know strategies on how to navigate this competitive market. Lastly, support is important for a client because they want an agent that helps, rather than pushes them towards buying something that they might not necessarily want.
– Chris Growe, REALTOR® at Keller Williams Philadelphia
3) Attention to Detail
Qualities of a good realtor include local knowledge, a strong understanding of contracts, and being detail-oriented. Homebuyers should look for a real estate agent who has plenty of local experience in the area you are purchasing, a firm understanding of real estate contracts, strong communication skills, and attention to detail. Buyers should also look for an agent with a good rapport, who is personable, and who enjoys educating their clients. Your agent should also be adept in negotiating and knowing the most effective way to set your offer apart from the sea of others.
– Jonathan Berry, REALTOR® at RE/MAX Fine Homes
4) Communication Skills
Qualities of a great realtor include someone who is a great communicator and matches your energy. I always advise clients to meet with 2-3 real estate agents before deciding on one to work with. I am a big believer in energy, so I think the most important quality to look for in an agent is that they’re in sync with your personality and it feels like they will be a great partner for you in your journey. Some of the most important questions to ask are what the agent’s experience is, how full their plate is and if they have time to take on another client, what qualities the agent thinks make them stand out from others, and also asking for a list of references. Communication and listening skills are extremely important when selecting an agent, so pay close attention here.
– Jennifer Okhovat, REALTOR® at Compass
Find an agent with who you can communicate well or have a similar communication style. This is key when so much information is being shared, and you’ll want to be on the same page when discussing important topics. Find someone you feel comfortable asking any and all questions to and someone who will thoroughly explain what you need to know even when you don’t know you need to know it yet. And someone with a sense of humor and who provides emotional support are some wonderful extras during your home search.
– Anna Frankel, REALTOR® at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty
5) Negotiation Skills
When looking for an agent, consider the agent’s experience, work ethic, and empathy. It’s important to work with an agent who understands what can be negotiated and can be creative about solutions. They should be willing to (diplomatically) push for better terms or to make requests on your behalf even if the answer is likely to be “No”. Most importantly, you should feel that you are being heard (and understood) without judgment.
– Tia Hunnicut, Broker at Coldwell Banker
Finding someone that is experienced in the market you are looking for will play a big part in formulating and strategizing your offer is what makes a good agent. And, it’s key to find a person you connect with and communicate well with so that they can help according to your aspirations and needs. A strong work ethic and professionalism are key, but the true secret is finding an agent with the negotiation skills to create a solid foundation for your real estate goals. True real estate professionals will take the time to chat on the phone, virtually or in-person to discuss their skills and services.
– Julie Chiem, REALTOR® at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Drysdale Properties
6) Dedication and Determination
Qualities of honesty, dedication, and persistence are very important. Those are the three essential ingredients I think every agent should have at their core. Barring that, I’d say communication, negotiation skills, understanding market trends, being able to educate and inform your client, and sincerely caring about your client are the most important functions of a great agent.
– Westin Means, Real Estate Agent at eXp Realty of California, Inc.
Someone who is committed to their career. Look for a real estate agent that has shown dedication to their profession. An agent that has a good reputation in the industry, has years of experience, and has made the extra effort to obtain additional knowledge in their field.
– Linda Green, Associate Broker at United Real Estate
7) Team Support
Someone who has positive client reviews, team support, and a proven process. There are over a million real estate agents in the US. How do you pick the right one to help with your home buying or selling goals? A few tips include a full time agent experienced in your area, a support team, a step-by-step process of how they will serve you, and several positive online reviews and testimonials.
– Erik Brown, REALTOR® at Douglas Elliman Beverly Hills
Find an agent who puts their clients’ best interest first. Besides experience and a track record of success, clients need to gauge how much their agent has their best interests first and foremost. Would they perform the same level of due diligence and negotiate as fiercely as if this was their home being bought or sold? How will challenges be handled and risks mitigated while still being opportunistic? Oftentimes the intangibles are what set exceptional agents apart from the good ones and answering these questions will help you decide who to work with.
– Nick Khoe, Broker at Khoe Realty Inc.
I think one of the things that gets overlooked when buyers are picking an agent is the basic idea of “can I work with this person?” Buying a home can be emotional and sometimes stressful. So buyers should feel comfortable with their agent on a person-to-person level, rather than just on a transactional level. A good agent will ask questions about what’s important to the buyers and why because they want to understand their motivation on a personal level rather than just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
– Brendan Moran, Broker and Owner at 5 Star Real Estate
One of the best qualities of a realtor is the ability to put their client’s interest first. Putting the client’s interest first includes being open and direct by providing the information they need to know, which is more important than information clients may want to hear. In real life, negotiations don’t always work like they do on T.V. Buyers and sellers should look for an agent who will guide them through what is real and what is not. Local knowledge matters.
– Mark Gilmore, REALTOR® at RE/MAX One
Look for an agent who treats you like a family member. An agent who values your business and is someone who will be your biggest advocate and protect your interests. Work with an agent who knows what you don’t know and explains it to you in layman terms. Find someone who is transparent, displays patience, and is well connected with other agents in the community. And lastly work with someone who knows how to get your offer accepted.
– Rhonda Kohn, REALTOR® at Keller Williams Realty Palisades Malibu
Someone who is responsive and compassionate. Buying and selling a home can always create a lot of questions. Find an agent that is communicative and will answer your questions in a timely manner. I also think a compassionate agent that cares about the client is so important. You want someone who has the client’s best interests at heart.
– Ceejay Cesiel, REALTOR® at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties
For buyers, determine the areas and cities of interest and look for an agent who has experience in those locations. In addition, read the agent’s bio and reviews to determine if they may be a good fit.
– Shane Cabrera, REALTOR® at Keller Williams VIP Properties
Experience matters. Questions you should ask: 1. How many years have you been in the business, 2. How many homes do you sell a year, 3. Do you have a track record with more buyers or sellers, 4. Can you go over the contract with me & touch on all the important points, 5. Do you have a firm understanding of todays market & how to make my home or my offer stand out, 6. Do you personally own property or have you personally bought & sold your own property. Don’t take guidance regarding your biggest asset from someone who has no experience or knowledge of the market or process. Someone with case studies of their own will bring value not just in the contractual process but also the negotiation, marketing, & escrow stages. Make sure you’re working with the real deal & that they’re coming from an educational standpoint. Work with people who make you feel seen, heard, understood, and empowered in your decision making. The right agent knows they’re there to facilitate you getting the outcome that you desire. That’s how you know you’re working with the right person that has your back.
– Suzi Farajiani, REALTOR® at Douglas Elliman of California, Inc.
When looking for the perfect real estate agent to work with, there are three main qualities to look for: experience, knowledge, and relationships. Experience in the current market is important as the needs of buyers and sellers are changing almost weekly. Your agent should also have knowledge of the area you are in and how to get deals done in this current climate. Finally, relationships are key in both buying and selling. Having strong relationships with fellow agents in the area helps get your offer accepted over other unknown agents and adds credibility to your listing.
– David M Rindenow, REALTOR® and Executive Director at Compass
Pay attention to the number of transactions in the past two years. There is a chasm between professional and sophisticated representation by a real estate professional and allowing someone who has their license to help you buy or sell a piece of property. Experience is a key factor when selecting a real estate agent. Experience should not be counted in years, but in the number of transactions over the past two years. There is a tremendous amount of liability and pressure that rests on the shoulders of an agent. A buyer or seller should enlist an agent who truly understands, not only the weight of the transaction but also the skills necessary to keep their clients protected throughout this very nuanced process.
– Joshua Stein-Sapir, Partner and REALTOR® at Keyes Real Estate
When interviewing real estate agents, it is recommended you ask if they are full-time Realtors and how many years they have been in the business. There are designations such as CRS (Certified Residential Specialists) that require not only education but sets productivity requirements to be certified – according to CRS, “out of 1 million Realtors, less than 3% are Certified Residential Specialists”. This would be important because the agent would have extensive experience in negotiating and overall knowledge of the market since they are very active in their profession.
– Maria Carrillo, REALTOR® at The Keyes Company
When markets are hot, don’t overlook experience. Real estate is an industry that has a low entry point and when the market is good, many people try it out. As a buyer or seller, you are making the largest financial transaction in your LIFE! Make sure when choosing an agent its based on who has the experience and can truly help you and just not someone you know.
– George Green, Broker and Owner at Exit Realty Crutcher
Find an agent who has the tools, resources, and commitment to help their clients. A good real estate agent should have ready access to inventory from the MLS and pertinent data on real estate value, property taxes, and utility costs. They should be able to provide information on municipal services, location of schools and churches. Other qualities of a good real estate agent include explaining the process, forms, escrow, and settlement procedures thoroughly. They’ll have the resources to arrange for and review fire or liability insurance, and check applicable zoning and building permits. They’ll be able to estimate closing costs, monthly payments, and act as a facilitator between the buyer and seller. And lastly, they’ll be able to evaluate the need for and provide a list of experts.
– Aleksandra Marzec, Founder and Broker at World Realty Inc.