Buying or selling your home can be an exciting — and stressful — experience. A good choice of realtor can increase your options for homes to choose from, help you make better decisions, and save money on points and fees. The right pro can also find you a higher purchase price if you’re selling and a lower purchase price if you’re buying, all while reducing your stress levels.  When the time comes, it is important to know that you have the best person in your corner. We can help.

How to find the best realtor

When you’re looking for a realtor, talk to friends and colleagues who know you well and who may have heard of realtors with great track records. Keep an eye out for realtors with a deep familiarity with the community where you’re looking to buy or sell a home. The trick is to find someone with a personality, work habits, and communication style you’ll enjoy working with. If you don’t feel that you’re getting enough options through referrals, jump onto the internet to find well-reviewed professionals, or walk into a couple of real estate offices to feel out some additional options.

Once you have a list of possible candidates, pick between three and five of them to interview. Ask the same questions to each candidate that include their experience, work habits, and fees. Take notes on their answers and as you review the notes, the right person may become clear. If not, consider making a classic list of pros and cons for each candidate. Once your top choice is made, ask for references so that you can be sure the choice is the right one for you.

What to expect if you’re selling

Once you have decided on your real estate agent that will sell your home, they’ll likely ask you to sign a listing agreement. The agreement will include details such as the fees involved, what they agree to do to sell the property, that you agree to have them represent you in negotiation with potential buyers. The agreement will be for a set period of time, and make sure it is a time period that makes sense to you.

Your agent should also be coaching you on how to stage your house so that it has the most amount of curb appeal for potential buyers. Some agents will even pay the costs of a professional to stage it for you. The realtor should also handle most of the marketing activities including taking photos, or hiring professional photographers, to be sure your house stands out in online listings and flyers. Lastly, the realtor should help with hosting open house events and should provide you with advice through all of the stages of the process until the house is sold.

What to expect if you’re buying

The role of your real estate agent is a little different when you’re buying a home. In the initial stages of the process, you’ll want them to have as much information as possible about the communities you’re interested in to help make a good fit between your needs and the potential places you could call home and find great choices for properties. As the process proceeds, your realtor should help you make offers on places you’d like to buy and negotiate pricing and fees. They should also be present on closing day to help with any last minute questions and negotiations, or just to make you feel more confident. Your realtor is often the best ally you have in a nerve-wracking and rewarding process and you won’t regret taking the time you needed to make the best possible choice from the beginning.