Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need a real estate agent to guide you through the process. Real estate professionals have insight into the local market, strong negotiating skills, and the knowledge to help you navigate every step of your transaction.
You don’t just want to hire any real estate agent, though. A home is a large financial investment, and you need a top agent to ensure your purchase or sale is as successful as possible.
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What makes a top real estate agent?
Top real estate agents help the buyers and sellers they represent to get the best possible outcomes.
The best agents for sellers market their property effectively, get the price right the first time, and find a buyer for faster than the average length of time. They’re also strong negotiators who can get their clients top dollar for their home. Top sellers’ agents:
- Sell properties quickly. Top agents sell properties more quickly than most agents in the area, and they do so consistently.
- Get the best possible price. Sellers who work with top listing agents generally get closer to their asking price than other sellers.
- Market properties effectively. Skilled sellers’ agents ensure their listings have high-quality, professional pictures and engaging descriptions. They market their properties on social media, the Multiple Listing Service, and other websites buyers use to find homes.
- Price properties accurately. Price reductions are rare for skilled agents. In fact, listings marketed by top agents generally see price reductions less than 5% of the time.
The best agents for buyers will show you the neighborhood, negotiate a great deal, ease your nerves, and teach you about the process. Top buyers’ agents
- Are solid negotiators. The top buyers’ agents typically save home buyers as much as 10% off list price.
- Know local neighborhoods. The best buyers’ agents know details about school districts, community amenities, neighborhood associations, and more.
- Are responsive. They’re able to work around your schedule to show you properties, and they keep you informed throughout the process.
- Guide first-time buyers through the purchase process. Top agents understand the challenges associated with purchasing a home for the first time, and they’ll mitigate them by walking you through the process.
What services do top real estate agents offer?
Top real estate agents are full-service agents that are there for you during every step of the buying and selling process. Here are the services you should expect from a top real estate agent:
How do you find the best real estate agent in your area?
The best way to complete each of the three steps is:
1. Know what to look for
Some of the key criteria to consider include:
- The total number of sales under the agent’s belt
- Past reviews
- The number of recent sales
- How many listings the agent currently has
- The years of experience
- The agent’s track record
- The agent’s experience with properties similar to the one you’re buying or selling (in terms of both price and location)
Looking at each of these criteria independently could be misleading. For example, an agent may have many positive past reviews but few current listings — which suggests they may no longer be as active in the industry or that the quality of their service may have declined in recent years.
But by looking at the big picture and considering all of these factors together, you should get an idea of how busy the agent is, what type of service they provide to clients, and whether they tend to outperform or underperform their peers.
2. Review lists of top agents
There are many resources you can tap online that provide lists of top agents. Some of them include:
When you’re reviewing lists of top agents, it’s important to understand the criteria the website uses.
Ideally, the list will be developed using objective data, such as details on past sales and customer reviews. Most importantly, you’ll want to ensure that the company making the list is objective and that agents can’t simply pay to be included on it.
3. Do some in-person work
If you want to be as thorough as possible in finding the best agent, you’ll need to go beyond the world wide web and do some local research on agents in your area. Some of the steps involved include:
- Asking friends and family for referrals
- Looking at who is selling houses in your neighborhood and contacting the agents
- Visiting open houses to talk with agents in person and get an idea of their knowledge and responsiveness
- Setting up interviews with agents to discuss their credentials and allow them to present a plan for buying or selling your home
- Discussing pricing with agents you’re interested in working with
It’s best to interview several different real estate professionals to see who you feel most comfortable with and who comes across as the most knowledgeable and professional. Doing this last step can make all the difference in finding the perfect agent to meet your needs.
Clever can help by matching you to full-service agents from our partner network. When our concierge team matches you to agents, you can rest assured they have solid reputations and have bought or sold properties similar to yours. They’ve also agreed to accept discounted commissions or to provide buyer rebates where legal, so you can get top-notch service at the best possible price.
How does Clever select its top agents?
Clever knows that finding the right real estate agent can be a stressful and time-consuming process. We’ve done the legwork to make finding your perfect agent easier. Our thorough method of vetting and selecting top agents includes:
- Conducting a review of agents in the area
- Interviewing local buyers and sellers
- Developing a large list of real estate agents
- Eliminating any agents with problematic records, such as few reviews, a limited number of past transactions, negative reviews, or insufficient experience
- Doing a deep dive into data on each agent and analyzing their transactions
- Selecting top agents and providing the details on their strengths and weaknesses so you can decide which one is the best fit for your situation
Top Real Estate Agent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many realtors should you interview?
It’s a good idea to review at least three real estate agents, so you can compare their offerings. You’ll want to find an agent that’s the best fit, so focus on their communication skills, their professionalism, their pricing, and their familiarity with transactions similar to yours.
Should I use the same agent to buy and sell a home?
If you’re both selling a home and purchasing a new one, using the same agent can simplify the process. But you’ll need to find an agent with a successful track record as both a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. While some real estate agents do both, some of the best real estate professionals specialize in either representing buyers or listing properties.
How much does it cost to hire a top agent?
Traditionally, sellers pay a 6% commission which is split between the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent. Buyers pay the commission indirectly because sellers price their properties to build in the cost of this commission.
However, when you work with Clever, sellers can find top agents who charge just $3,000 or 1% of your home’s price if your property is valued above $350,000. And buyers in eligible areas who work with a Clever agent will get a portion of the commission rebated to them.
What questions should you ask a potential agent?
Whether you’re hiring a buyer’s or seller’s agent, you should ask about their past experience. You should find out their plan to market a property you’re selling or how they will help you find the perfect home to buy. You should also ask how often they’ve handled homes in the price point and neighborhood that you’re selling or purchasing in.