What To Look For When Choosing A Real Estate Agent

Many people will buy and sell a house during their lifetime but whether you are buying your first home or selling your third it can still get overwhelming. There is so much to do such as search the market, look at your favorite properties, stage a house for selling, market the house and more; it is no wonder people get overwhelmed. Thankfully there are great real estate agents who have the knowledge and experience to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here is what you need to look for when choosing a real estate agent

Do They Have Great Reviews?

Reviews are so important nowadays and this is because it helps build trust and encourages people to interact with the company or in this case the real estate agent.

Reading reviews can also help determine which agent is not worth meeting. If clients have had a poor experience with a certain agent, it will be known; it seems that people love making a bad review when they have had a negative experience, which is great because it allows for others to not make a mistake and hire them. 

Things to look for while reading reviews include:

  • Were they easy to get a hold of?
  • Are they a good listener?
  • Do they make sure their clients' needs and wants are being met through the entire process?
  • Do they have the client’s best interest at heart or do they just want the commission?

A good real estate agent should always be available at the push of a button for the clients unless they are showing a house of course. Clients have questions almost every day and not being able to have them answered in a timely fashion can bring stress and worry. Make sure they are a good listener so the needs and wants of clients can be met. 

Do They Have Great Marketing Skills?

Marketing is used to sell a product and there is a buyer for everything out there. Motivation- this is needed for anyone to buy the product that is being sold. Getting a home in the forefront of a targeted audience can help motivate potential buyers. 

Choosing a targeted audience and understanding the demographic is the first step in successfully marketing a home to sell and then it is time to get exposure on said home. Being online is a great way for properties to get exposure; most home buyers start their search online. 

More great marketing tools include:

  • Professional grade photos of the home and property it lays on
  • Social media campaigns
  • For sale sign on the yard
  • 3D tours 
  • Print advertising materials 
  • Email campaigns 
  • Emotional storytelling
  • Webinars

In addition to being able to market a home properly, an agent should know how to market themselves. Stay away from those who can’t; if they can’t market themselves, how will they market a home? 

Marketing is one of the most important steps in selling a home, and without someone who is experienced and knowledgeable, selling can take quite a bit longer, or even be unsuccessful.


Whether you are looking for someone to help buy a home, or sell, looking at the agent’s listings can help find a great fit. Checking out past and present listings can help get a sense of the types of homes they have worked with. When buying, if you don’t see any homes of interest from a listing it is okay to move on to another agent. 

Finding their open houses can be a great tool for potential clients. Doing so can allow you to see the agents in action and how they work. Pay attention to whether or not they can communicate effectively; ask questions to better understand their communication method. Questions potential clients can ask to determine if an agent can communicate effectively:

Are there any problems in the home?

It may be hard to tell if they are being honest unless you have noticed a problem while touring the home, however, pay attention to their answer. Do they seem genuine? 

Ask about the neighborhood and the schools within close distance

A good agent will know the neighborhood of the home they are selling and if they don’t, steer clear. An agent who is a neighborhood expert can better serve their clients, find a better deal, leverage connections and more. They can also tell you if the schools are safe and have a high ranking, discuss any local parks and restaurants. 

Meet With More Than One Agent 

It is important to meet with more than one potential agent and put them through a process similar to an interview as if you are their employer. Try and find at least three agents to meet with before making a decision. Focus on agents that you automatically feel comfortable around and can easily talk to. As you are interviewing, pay attention to whether or not they are also asking you questions; this is also a time for an agent to interview you. Agents who aren’t interviewing you may be someone to stay away from as they aren’t probing for your motivation which can mean they just aren’t interested in what they do. 

Important questions for clients to ask these potential real estate agents can be found below:

What is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio?

This will help determine if they are great negotiators and can get a home for a bit less than the asking price or pretty close to it. Seller’s ratios should be close to 100% while buyers should sit at around 99%. 

What separates you from the other agents out there?

A great answer will come with no hesitation and they will be ready to list several reasons as to why they are better than their competition. Are there answers focusing on them being honest and trustworthy and that they are better than the average negotiator? Are they telling you they are always available by phone or email and can maintain a friendly and professional relationship? These are all great answers to look for; it is also important to know what values you would like your agent to have as this will help know the answers you are looking for. 

Can you review documents ahead of time?

Ask the agents if you are able to review any documents before committing to sign; having an agent that is agreeable to this is important. If looking for an agent as a buyer, ask to see the buyers brokers agreement and find out if it is exclusive or non-exclusive. If you are a seller, ask for the agency disclosure. 

More questions to be asked include:

  • How will you help me find other professionals? 
  • Home inspectors, mortgage brokers, title companies 
  • How much do you charge?
  • Anything else I should know?
  • Can you provide references?


Make Sure They Are Tech Savvy 

There are a number of reasons why looking for an agent who is tech-savvy is important. The real estate industry is based on mobile-friendly resources now. As a client there will be questions and information needed and like most of the information we get now, we want it almost instantly. There is also information to be found in things such as a neighborhood database or an exclusive listing database that aren’t as easily accessible without using the technology that is available. 

Real estate agents aren’t always in the office, they have showings to go to, meetings to attend, closings to help with and more. This doesn’t mean clients should have to wait a full day or more to get the answers they are looking for, or to schedule a meeting. A great agent will be well equipped and have a smartphone with them at all times in order to get back to their clients as quickly as possible. 

More benefits of having a tech-savvy agent include:

  • Them keeping up with trends on social media 
  • Creating marketing videos for YouTube and other social media platforms 
  • Communication apps
  • Assist in seemliness closing transactions
  • Also helps create a paperless environment 


The average person can search for homes, and even do a sales and property assessment, however, there are some things only an experienced agent will know how to do well. These things include providing information and advice one can’t find through a simple google search. 

An agents clients will want to work with are ones who are experienced negotiators. With any skill, the more it is practised the more perfected it will be and the same goes for negotiating. Agents have a skill in knowing who is motivated to sell their home quickly which allows them plenty of room to negotiate and find their client the best price for the home's value.  

Being experienced allows an agent to know and follow trends and be able to tell clients which neighborhood is trending upward, downward and why. Real estate agents with experience also have a great rapport with other agents out there as well as have a number of connections within the community. 

More benefits of having an experienced real estate agent include:

  • Effective communicators
  • Organized 
  • Great time management 
  • Marketing expertise and self-promotion 

What To Look For When Choosing A Real Estate Agent

Do They Work Full Time 

This isn’t to say people should only go with a full-time real estate agent, however in some scenarios, it is in the client’s best interest. Full-time agents can be more invested in their job as it has become their career and main source of income. They have also developed a reputation for themselves and they don’t want to ruin it. 

Real estate agents who work part-time probably have another job which can lead to them not being available throughout some days as they have other commitments. A full-time agent can be more committed to marketing a property for sellers and for buyers, they will spend their time gathering information to find their clients the perfect place to settle down and call home. 

Part-time real estate agents can be just as good, however, it is important to do the research before committing to anything to be sure it is the right fit, and all your needs will be met as a client. 

Online Presence 

Having an online presence ties into a lot of what has already been said but it is important for anyone looking to hire a real estate agent to know the type of online presence a great agent will have. Do they have a website with accurate and updated information as well as a page within the website which shows past homes they have sold? Looking for reviews from individuals who bought with the help of said agent on a website is helpful as well; if there are no testimonials from past clients there may be a reason for this, usually if there are great things to be said an agent will want to showcase this. 

Do they use social media platforms to promote themselves with a professional-looking profile photo? Social media pages are also a great place to find reviews, whether good or bad. A real estate agent who is online usually doesn’t have anything to hide such as bad reviews, or a lack of homes sold for example. Clients will also be able to see if they are a licensed realtor through their online presence as well as a list of other credentials.  


As a potential client, don’t be afraid to ask this question; chances are the real estate agent knows it's coming. A good agent will answer this question directly and honestly. They will go over everything that the costs cover and help you understand every little fine detail. There are just some bargains one should not fall for and an agent with a cheap commission is not a bargain. 

There are a number of reasons an agent may be charging half the average commission rate which can include them being desperate to find clients. If someone is desperate there is usually a reason which probably includes them not being able to sell a house or get buyers the best price. An agent with a low commission rate could be desperate because everyone in the area knows they are unprofessional and treat their clients poorly. Do the research and find out the reasoning behind such a low commission. What services are not included is a great question to be asked to an agent who is offering a low commission rate 

Whether you are looking for an agent to sell your home, or buy the right home for you, knowing what to look for is important. 

With a good agent, the experience will be enjoyable for all those involved! 

Each and every day Matt Strickland - REALTOR - Slate Real Estate strives to create confident buyers and sellers, and to offer world class service anchored by our experience and our unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Our fresh and responsive approach to real estate enables our clients to enjoy a higher level of customer service through talented agents, team-based systems, and cutting edge technology.

A local Jacksonville Real Estate Agent is ready to help you find your dream home!

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