With so much information readily available online, you may ask yourself, "Why should we hire a real estate agent?" The truth is you should shop for a Realtor the way you would shop for a good attorney, plumber, doctor, or other professional.
A basic starting point for a conversation is asking about...
1. Education & Experience
You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does.
Find out how long the realtor you're talking to has worked in the market and the number of clients they are working with.
Equally as important is education. Ask about special training or certifications the agent has earned.
Most real estate agents stay in business because satisfied clients refer them to friends, and family. Ask the people around you which agent they used. Successful agents make customer satisfaction their number one priority.
3. Attend Open Houses
By going to open houses, you can meet real estate agents in a non-threatening working environment and interact with them. Are they polite, informative and appear knowledgeable?
Perhaps most important for buyers is making sure the agent you work with is an excellent listener and has a complete understanding of what you are looking for.
The process requires some homework on your part. But the payoff is worthwhile.