Buying or selling your home is a huge step in your life and can be emotional. It can be scary to buy your first home or to sell a home you’ve lived in for years and years. This is why you need a real estate agent who cares and is passionate about helping you find your dream home!

One way to make sure you have the best agent for the job is to ask these essential questions before signing on the dotted line:

Do you have referrals or experience?

Experience doesn’t necessarily equal success, but real estate is commission based. It would be hard to sustain a business by providing poor service. Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information and talk with their past clients. Despite the technology that seems to take over much of the searching for a home, the right real estate agent is still a human-to-human choice. Ask homeowners who they would recommend.

What areas do you cover?

Finding a neighborhood expert is key. They will have more intimate knowledge of the area, and industry connections that will help in the long-run. Look at the agent’s current listings. Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area. When you think you’ve found a neighborhood expert ask yourself, “Does my real estate agent have my best interests at heart?” Be honest and transparent about what you’re looking for, and if an agent isn’t bringing you the right options, it’s likely they aren’t looking for houses for you but rather to benefit themselves. Ask questions upfront and don’t be afraid to move on to someone else if the relationship doesn’t feel right.

Do you belong to a Realtor association?

Fun fact: not every real estate agent is a Realtor! Check for license and disciplinary actions. Although both must have a state license, only agents who have associated with a local Board of Realtors can use the title. Realtors are held to a strictly enforced Code of Ethics designed to protect the client’s best interests.

Thinking of buying a home? Click here to download my free buyer’s guide: Seven Steps to Avoid Buying a Property Lemon for all the inside info on home buying! 

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.