If you are planning to buy or sell this summer, it's a big decision to make and you'll want to select the right real estate agent to help smooth the process. Lots of people have relatives or friends who are in the business, but it's still a good idea to interview potential agents to find out who would be the best fit.
An article in aol.com highlights the most important questions to ask, which includes how long an agent has been working in this business. One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of people do this job part time and may not be able to provide you with the level of service you require. It is important to find someone who already deals with buyers or sellers who have similar needs.
Another thing to take into consideration is the geographic area covered, and the types of properties sold by a particular agent. For example, having detailed knowledge of a neighborhood can be invaluable, as can having in-depth knowledge about historic properties due to the types of restrictions and challenges that can be involved. It's worth looking at the way they brand themselves, for example on Facebook and twitter, as some specialize in condos while others will be more comfortable dealing with single-family homes.
In fact there are lots of different fields of expertise, as some real estate agents may specialize in working with first-time buyers and will be more used to guiding them through the whole process. Others may frequently deal with veterans or active duty military members and will understand Veterans Affairs finances.
It's important to choose a real estate agent who will communicate with you in whatever form works best for you, as lack of communication could mean a missed opportunity. Some real estate agents are used to dealing with long-distance buyers and will have customers in other countries. These agents will often record video tours of potential properties to help customers decide. You'll also want to know if you'll be dealing with the real estate agent or with an assistant, as some delegate day-to-day tasks. This isn't something that will bother everyone, but it's still worth knowing.
Lots of real estate agents get referrals or repeat business, and it can be telling to ask this percentage. Don't forget to ask how much it's going to cost to sell a property, and for a breakdown of estimated closing costs. Some agents will have various incentives such as offering to pay moving expenses or free staging, but it pays to weigh up how much these services are worth in comparison with the overall cost.