A Realtor standing in front of a camera in a living room, discussing what to look for in a real estate agent.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent: Top Traits and Tips

Buying or selling a home is a significant event in most people’s lives, and having professional assistance can make the process smoother and less stressful. One of the most critical decisions you’ll make during this process is choosing the right real estate agent to guide you. Selecting an agent is more than just finding a friendly face with a license; it’s about finding someone who has the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you achieve your goals in the often-complex world of real estate.

Understanding the role of a real estate agent is vital in selecting the right professional for your needs. Each agent brings different qualifications, experiences, communication styles, and negotiation tactics. Assessing their network, resources, reputation, and reviews is also crucial in determining if they’ll be the perfect fit for your needs. Ultimately, finding a compatible real estate agent who aligns with your values and goals is essential for a successful partnership.

Key Takeaways from What To Look For In a Real Estate Agent

  • Real estate agents should have the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you navigate the complex real estate world.
  • Assessing an agent’s qualifications, communication styles, reputation, and network is crucial for determining compatibility.
  • Trust and compatibility are essential for a successful partnership in buying or selling a home.

Understanding the Role of a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying or selling a property, one cannot underestimate the importance of a real estate agent. They act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, ensuring a smooth and efficient process. This section will clarify the role of a real estate agent, with a focus on their responsibilities and duties, and the differences between a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent.

Responsibilities and Duties

A real estate agent has several key responsibilities and duties, including:

  • Property evaluation: Agents help determine the market value of properties, assisting sellers in setting a competitive price.
  • Marketing: They promote properties through online listings, social media, and traditional channels, attracting potential buyers.
  • Negotiations: Agents negotiate on behalf of their clients, striving for favorable terms and conditions.
  • Documentation and legalities: They ensure all paperwork and legal aspects of the transaction are properly managed.

Real estate agents also play a significant role in guiding their clients through the complexities of the transactions, offering valuable advice, and addressing concerns that may arise.

Buyer’s Agent vs. Seller’s Agent

It’s essential to understand the distinction between a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent. Though they both work in the same industry, their roles and objectives differ significantly.

Buyer’s Agent:

  • Representation: Represents the interests of the buyer in a real estate transaction.
  • Property Search: Assists the buyer in finding a suitable property, considering budget, location, and specific requirements.
  • Price Negotiation: Negotiates the best possible price for the buyer, using their knowledge of comparable properties and market trends.

Seller’s Agent:

  • Representation: Represents the interests of the seller in a real estate transaction.
  • Property Marketing: Strategically markets the property, aiming to reach the largest possible audience of potential buyers.
  • Price Negotiation: Protects the seller’s interests, aiming to achieve the highest possible selling price.

While both types of agents share some similarities, their primary focus and ultimate goals are distinct. Understanding these differences enables both buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions when choosing a real estate agent to represent their interests.

Qualifications of a Professional Real Estate Agent

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When searching for a real estate agent to assist with buying or selling a property, it is crucial to find a professional with the right qualifications. Having a qualified professional by your side can help ensure a smoother transaction and better results throughout the process. This article will focus on the licenses, certifications, education, and training that a real estate agent should possess.

Licenses and Certifications

A professional real estate agent must have a valid license to practice in their respective state. Being licensed ensures the agent has met state-specific requirements and has passed a written examination. In addition to a license, it is essential for an agent to pursue certifications like the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation. This certification is awarded to agents who have demonstrated a high level of residential real estate transactions, met specific education requirements, and maintained a membership with the Residential Real Estate Council.

Education and Training

Real estate agents should continuously upgrade their skills and knowledge to keep up with market trends, laws, technology, and best practices. A strong educational foundation is crucial for any agent looking to excel in the industry. This includes obtaining a relevant degree or completing coursework in areas such as finance, real estate law, marketing, and property management.

Furthermore, many professional real estate associations offer ongoing training and educational opportunities to help agents stay current with the industry’s changes. Agents should take advantage of these resources to better serve their clients and advance in their careers.

In conclusion, when searching for a professional real estate agent, pay close attention to their licenses, certifications, education, and training. This ensures that you will be working with a knowledgeable and reliable agent who is well-prepared to help you navigate the complex world of real estate.

Experience Matters

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Industry Expertise

When choosing a real estate agent, one of the top considerations should be their industry expertise. An experienced agent will have extensive knowledge of the market, be able to navigate complex transactions with ease, and ultimately help you achieve your real estate goals. You can gauge their expertise by asking:

  1. How long have they been in the industry?
  2. Do they have any professional certifications or designations?
  3. What types of properties do they typically work with?

Local Market Knowledge

Local market knowledge is another important attribute to look for in a real estate agent. The intricacies of different markets can be vast, so finding an agent who understands your specific area can prove invaluable. Look for an agent who:

Some benefits of working with an agent familiar with the local market include:

  • Avoiding overpricing or underpricing your property
  • Saving time by focusing on relevant listings
  • Gaining insights into community features or drawbacks

Track Record

When it comes to selecting a real estate agent, it’s important to consider their track record. A successful agent will:

  1. Have a history of closing deals within your budget and desired timeframe.
  2. Showcase solid references from satisfied clients.
  3. Demonstrate consistent sales performance and positive reviews.

By choosing an agent with a proven track record, you increase your chances of making a smooth and successful transaction.

Evaluating Communication Skills

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Communication Style

When looking for a real estate agent, it’s essential to consider their communication style. Each agent has a unique way of interacting with clients. Some real estate agents prefer to be more casual and friendly, while others take a more formal, professional approach. To avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth experience, choose an agent whose communication style aligns with your preferences.

Tips for evaluating communication style:

  • Observe their level of formality in conversations
  • Pay attention to their listening skills and ability to ask pertinent questions
  • Take note of their body language and tone of voice


Another crucial factor when evaluating a real estate agent is their responsiveness. A good agent should be readily available and proactive in addressing your concerns and needs.

Factors to consider when evaluating responsiveness:

  1. Response time: How quickly does the agent respond to your calls, emails, or text messages?
  2. Availability: Are they available during your preferred hours? Can they accommodate your schedule?
  3. Urgency: Are they proactive in addressing your concerns and providing updates on new listings?

Follow-Up Frequency

Lastly, we have the follow-up frequency. An ideal real estate agent should know how often to touch base with you based on your preferences. Too much follow-up may feel overwhelming, while too little can leave you feeling neglected.

Common follow-up methods and frequency:

CallOnce a week
Email2-3 times a week
TextDaily, if desired

To evaluate a real estate agent’s follow-up frequency:

  • Communicate your preferred method and frequency of follow-up
  • Observe if the agent adapts to your preferences, and adjusts their communication accordingly

Negotiation and Marketing Skills

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Negotiating Deals

A proficient real estate agent possesses strong negotiation skills that are crucial for getting the best possible deals for their clients. To evaluate an agent’s competence in this area, you can ask about their experience and the types of transactions they have successfully negotiated in the past. Look for someone who is a skilled communicator, empathetic listener, and savvy negotiator.

To give you an idea, here’s a list of some crucial negotiation skills:

  • In-depth understanding of market trends and property values
  • Patience and perseverance to handle tough situations
  • Excellent problem-solving abilities to find creative solutions for clients

Marketing Properties

In addition to negotiations, an adept real estate agent should also excel in marketing properties. This includes creating compelling and visually-appealing advertisements, utilizing various platforms (both online and offline), and organizing open house events for potential buyers.

Some important factors indicating a real estate agent’s marketing expertise are:

  1. Online presence – Check if the agent’s website and social media accounts are up-to-date, visually appealing, and informative.
  2. Photography – High-quality photos and virtual tours can significantly impact buyers’ interest in a property.
  3. Listing descriptions – An agent should be able to craft engaging and accurate property descriptions that highlight the property’s best features.

An experienced real estate agent will skillfully use marketing techniques to reach a broad audience, resulting in faster sales and higher offers for their clients’ properties. By keeping an eye out for excellent negotiation and marketing skills, you can confidently choose the right agent to help you navigate the complex world of real estate.

Assessing Their Network and Resources

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Connections in the Industry

A good real estate agent should have a strong network within the industry. This includes connections with other agents, mortgage brokers, inspectors, and more. Look for an agent who has a proven track record of working with other professionals. You can do this by asking for references or simply observing how they interact with others during the home-buying or selling process.

One way to gauge an agent’s network is by checking out their online presence. This can include:

  • Their social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Online reviews
  • Testimonials on their website
  • Participation in online forums or discussions

Available Technology

In today’s digital age, it’s important for real estate agents to be tech-savvy and utilize the available resources to effectively market properties or help clients find their dream home. Here are some key technology resources to look for in a real estate agent:

  1. Website: A professional and easy-to-navigate website is essential. It should showcase their listings, provide information about their services, and offer valuable resources for clients. Check out OKCHomeSellers.

  2. MLS (Multiple Listing Service): Make sure the agent has access to the local MLS, which is the most comprehensive database of properties for sale.

  3. Virtual Tours: Agents should offer virtual tours to help clients get a feel for the property without having to physically visit.

  4. Digital Marketing: Agents should be proficient in creating online ads and using other digital marketing tools to make properties stand out.

  5. Communication Tools: An agent should be accessible via various communication channels, such as email, phone, or messaging apps. Additionally, they should be comfortable using digital document signing tools for contracts and agreements.

In summary, when choosing a real estate agent, pay attention to their connections in the industry and their ability to utilize the latest technology to provide an efficient and enjoyable experience. Keep in mind the importance of their online presence, and don’t hesitate to check out references or ask about their professional network. Remember – a well-connected and tech-savvy agent can make all the difference in your real estate journey.

Reputation and Reviews

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Client Testimonials

A real estate agent’s reputation is built on the experiences of their clients. It’s essential to seek out client testimonials to understand how the agent has worked for others in the past. A good agent will be more than happy to share stories of successful transactions and satisfied clients. When listening to these testimonials, pay attention to the agent’s communication style, negotiation skills, and commitment to client satisfaction. Some realtors display testimonials on their websites, whereas others rely on word-of-mouth recommendations.

Online Reviews and Ratings

In today’s digitally-driven world, online reviews and ratings are some of the best tools to determine an agent’s competency. Websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Yelp provide honest feedback from previous clients to help potential clients choose the right agent for their needs. The number of positive reviews, the overall ratings, and the consistency of the reviews are all factors to consider when evaluating a real estate agent’s online reputation.

  • To get a comprehensive understanding, try comparing reviews from multiple sources.
  • Look for reviews from clients with similar property needs or circumstances.
  • Keep an eye out for any red flags, such as unresponsive communication or unethical practices.

Remember that encountering a few negative reviews is normal, as it’s nearly impossible to please everyone every time. The key is to focus on the consistency and overall sentiment of the reviews to gauge an agent’s reputation and trustworthiness.

Understanding Commission Structures

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When searching for a real estate agent, it’s important to understand the commission structures they offer. This section will cover the two main aspects: Commission Rates and Fee Agreements.

Commission Rates

Real estate agents typically charge a percentage of the sale price as their commission. This percentage can vary, but it’s commonly around 5-6%. It’s important for sellers to know that this rate is often negotiable. Here’s a quick breakdown of potential commission rates:

  • 5%: A lower rate, may be offered by agents looking to quickly sell a property or in a competitive market
  • 6%: The standard rate, most commonly seen in the real estate industry
  • 7%: A higher rate; this might be encountered when working with more experienced agents or specialized properties

Keep in mind that a lower commission rate doesn’t always equal a better deal, as an experienced agent might bring more value to the table and justify their higher rate.

Fee Agreements

Some real estate agents prefer alternative fee structures, such as flat fees or hourly rates. When discussing commission with your agent, be sure to explore all the options and find the one that best aligns with your goals and budget.

  1. Flat fees: The agent charges a predetermined, fixed amount for their services, regardless of the sale price. This can be appealing if you have a clear understanding of what services you need.
  2. Hourly fees: The agent charges based on the time spent working on your transaction. This can be a cost-effective option if you’re only looking for specific services.

In conclusion, understanding an agent’s commission structure is an essential aspect of selecting the right professional for your real estate needs. Consider both commission rates and alternative fee agreements to make an informed decision.

The Importance of Compatibility

Personal Connection

Finding the right real estate agent is crucial, and a significant part of this process is about establishing a personal connection. This means feeling comfortable with their personality, communication style, and the level of chemistry you share. A strong personal connection makes the home buying or selling experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

When interviewing prospective agents, consider the following aspects:

  • Trustworthiness: Can you trust your agent to act in your best interest?
  • Empathy: Does your agent understand and care about your needs and preferences?
  • Communication style: Do you feel comfortable discussing your concerns and ideas with them?

Working Relationship

Another crucial aspect to consider is the working relationship you will have with your chosen real estate agent. This person will essentially be your partner throughout the entire process, so you need to ensure you can work well together.

Here are a few factors to evaluate when assessing your working relationship potential with an agent:

  1. Availability: Is the agent readily available to address your questions and concerns?
  2. Negotiation skills: Do you trust their ability to negotiate on your behalf?
  3. Knowledge of the market: Are they well-informed about local trends and market conditions?
  4. Network connections: Do they have a solid network of professionals to aid you in the process?

In conclusion, finding an agent with whom you have a strong personal connection and a compatible working relationship is crucial for a successful and stress-free real estate experience. During the interview process for agents, prioritize these aspects to ensure you find the perfect partner for your real estate journey.


I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the OKCHomeSellers Team when discussing what to look for in a real estate agent. We have established ourselves as a go-to resource for anyone navigating the Oklahoma City real estate market.

Experience and Expertise

A strong track record is one of the first things I look for in a real estate agent. We at OKCHomeSellers have been in the business since 1995, specializing in residential real estate, new homes, and luxury homes. Our years of experience in the industry mean we have a deep understanding of the market trends, pricing strategies, and negotiation tactics that are crucial for a successful transaction.

Client Satisfaction

Another key factor is what past clients have to say. Testimonials and reviews can provide insight into an agent’s ability to deliver on their promises. We have a page dedicated to client testimonials that showcase our success in providing efficient, smooth, and professional service. These testimonials speak volumes about our commitment to our clients and the level of service we provide.

Professionalism and Integrity

Our reputation for being knowledgeable, experienced, honest, and professional is well-documented. It’s important to work with agents who are not only skilled in real estate but also uphold high ethical standards. According to our reviews, we are highly recommended for our professionalism and integrity.

In conclusion, we at OKCHomeSellers embody essential qualities in a real estate agent. Our extensive experience, positive client feedback, and commitment to professionalism make us a standout choice for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Oklahoma City area.

Key Questions to Ask a Potential Agent

Interviewing Candidates

When searching for a real estate agent, it’s crucial to interview multiple candidates. Ask about their experience, knowledge of the local market, and strategies they use for buying or selling homes. Here is a list of questions to help guide your conversation:

  • Experience: How long have you been working as a real estate agent?
  • Local Market Expertise: How familiar are you with the neighborhood(s) I’m interested in?
  • Communication: How will you keep me updated on the progress of my transaction?
  • Availability: What is your availability like, and how flexible are you with working around my schedule?
  • Marketing Strategies: What specific tactics do you use to market homes, especially in today’s digital age?

This guide on finding a real estate agent offers additional tips for interviewing candidates and selecting the right agent for your needs.

Checking References

After you’ve narrowed down potential agents through interviews, it’s critical to check their references. An agent should be able to provide a list of satisfied clients they have worked with in the past. Get in touch with these clients to ask them about their experience working with the agent and whether they would recommend them to others. Be sure to ask questions such as:

  • Responsiveness: Was the agent prompt in responding to your needs and concerns?
  • Negotiation Skills: Was the agent effective in negotiating deals to your satisfaction?
  • Market Knowledge: Did the agent accurately identify current market trends and offer helpful advice?
  • Problem-solving: Were there any challenges that arose during your transaction, and if so, how did the agent handle them?

Taking the time to verify references can help you gain insight into an agent’s work style, expertise, and overall effectiveness in assisting clients with their real estate needs.

Special Considerations for Buyers and Sellers

First-Time Homebuyers

When looking for a real estate agent, first-time homebuyers should focus on finding someone who understands their needs and can guide them through the process. A good agent will provide valuable insights to help ease the home-buying journey.

  • Look for an agent with experience working with first-time buyers.
  • Find someone who can communicate effectively and answer your questions with ease.
  • Seek out agents who are patient and willing to take the time to educate you about the home-buying process.

It’s essential to find an agent who can truly support you during this exciting time!

Selling a Home

For those selling a home, certain factors come into play when choosing the right real estate agent. The main goal is to sell your property quickly and at the best possible price.

Key PointsDescription
ExperienceExpertise in your particular market or neighborhood is crucial for a successful sale.
MarketingStrong marketing skills, both online and offline, will help bring more potential buyers to your property.
NegotiationAn agent with a proven track record of successful negotiation can help you get the best deal for your property.

Remember to discuss commission fees as they can impact your overall profit. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from friends and family to help find the right agent for your needs.


When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, professionalism and confidence play a crucial role. Keeping these qualities in mind will ensure a positive and successful experience. Below are some key takeaways to keep in mind.

  • Look for agents with a track record of success and a strong reputation in the community. It’s important to feel confident in their expertise and ability to handle the various aspects of the real estate transaction.

  • Choose an agent who demonstrates clear communication and is responsive to your needs. This is essential for maintaining a strong, stress-free working relationship.

  • Ensure that the agent has a well-developed marketing plan and utilizes various resources in promoting your property for sale or in searching for your dream home.

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews to find a professional who has a proven history of satisfied clients.

By focusing on these key aspects, it becomes easier to navigate the world of real estate and find the perfect agent to suit your needs. Remember, a true professional will prioritize their client’s best interests and work tirelessly to ensure a smooth and successful experience.