Buying or selling a home is no small task. It requires a lot of know-how, professionalism, and the ability to work with others to help you get the home you want. A real estate agent can help you through the process—but you must choose the right one. Here’s what you should look for when selecting a real estate agent:

buying a home

Know how long the real estate agent has been in business

A good rule of thumb for choosing a real estate agent is that they should have sold homes for at least five years. Of course, this does not mean that someone who has less experience will be a poor choice—after all, that is how they get experience.

A real estate agent should also be full-time. Part-time real estate agents sometimes won’t be able to dedicate the necessary time to you and your needs and the needs of other jobs they may have.

Check their credentials

Check the real estate agent’s licensing and credentials. States will have regulatory boards that provide public information about real estate agents, such as their licensing and any complaints or disciplinary actions against them. It will also show you their specialties like:

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): These agents specialize in residential real estate.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): These agents specialize in representing home buyers during transactions.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): These agents specialize in helping senior home buyers and sellers.

There are many more specialties and credentials available, so be sure to do your research to ensure the agent of your choice will be able to handle your specific needs.

Get good references

When interviewing a real estate agent, they will emphasize their positive points like sales records. While that is well and good, you should always do more research and get references from them. References are the clients with whom they had done business in the past and will be able to give you an idea of what it was like to work with a real estate agent. If you don’t know where to start in asking people about the real estate agent, sites like have reference questionnaires you can use to help.

Pro tip: People and their emotions can be unpredictable. What worked for one person with this real estate agent may not have worked for another, so always interview several references to get a good average of working with this real estate agent.

Look where they are selling & check current listings

Where the real estate agent sells is just as important as their credentials and other qualities. For example, move on if you want to purchase a home in a specific neighborhood, but the real estate agent has no experience or knowledge of the houses. A real estate agent should be able to tell you about a market “off of the top of their head” and give you a comparative market analysis (CMA) of homes listed and sold in an area, as well as tell you about school districts and other services.

Can they work with your schedule?

Who would you rather work with: A real estate agent that you can easily get in touch with and listens to you or one that never seems to be around and seems standoffish? Of course, you would choose the agent who takes time for you to answer your questions.

An agent should also be able to work with your schedule. If you can only meet on weekends and evenings, but they only work standard office hours, you might have a problem. Communication techniques are also key. Do they always call when you prefer to text or vice versa? Establish schedules and preferred communication methods before you choose an agent.

Honesty is the best policy

Finally, a good real estate agent will be honest and won’t force you into a contract you aren’t comfortable with. Watch out for real estate scams like a real estate agent who appraises the home too high or asks you to wire them money. A good, reputable real estate agent will be able to tell you about:

  • Their real estate agent fees
  • How they will market a home
  • How many clients are they currently representing?
  • Lenders they have teamed up with or recommend

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.