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How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

You must choose a real estate agent that can meet your needs.

Few people can have such a profound impact on your life as the real estate agent. Think about it. A real estate agent will influence how much you spend on a house, where you live, what features you have from a home, and what neighbors you meet in the future. They can influence how long your home is on the market and what schools your children attend.

No, they don’t have complete control over these factors, but they do have an influence.

This means that hiring the right real estate agent is crucial. But do you know how to choose a real estate agent that will meet your specific needs?

What to Look When You Choose a Real Estate Agent

Proper Licensing

First and foremost, you need to verify that your real estate agent has the right licensing for the job. Real estate agents are licensed through the state, so the requirements will vary depending on where you live. You can verify licensing through the state to ensure that the agent has gone through the required education, exams, as well as re-certification and continuing education requirements.

Experience That Aligns with Your Needs

While you can’t expect every real estate agent to have three decades of experience, you should choose a real estate agent with the appropriate experience for your needs. For example, if you are looking purchase a moderately-priced single family home, you likely don’t need a life-long professional. However, if you are purchasing a commercial property worth tens of millions of dollars, you want an agent who has extensive experience with this type of property.

Professional Awards

Like many industries, real estate awards can be a little excessive, watering down the honors for people that really are award-worthy. That said, looking for a real estate agent with multiple past awards, especially in the area and market that relates to your situation, is a good idea. Look for awards that come from peers to get a fair assessment of an agent’s real value.

Proper Credentials for Your Situation

Like doctors, real estate agents can be specialists. Look for an agent who specializes in your specific situation and you’ll likely have a better experience. For example, if you are looking to buy or sell a residential property, an agent with the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation will be able to help. Other designations include ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) and SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist), a designation that signifies training in helping buyers over the age of 50.

Experienced in Your Area

Real estate from one market to the next can be extremely different. Make sure your agent is experienced in your area so they understand buying and selling in your market. One way to verify this is by mentioning a house in your areas that was recently sold; an experienced agent should know the basic details of that house, even if they weren’t involved in the sale.

A List of Clients, But Not Too Many

A good real estate agent will be in high demand, but you should also look for an agent who has enough time to dedicate to your needs. There can be a lot involved with a single client, so make sure your agent isn’t stretched thin with their time.


To be a successful real estate agent, it takes a dedication to service. Good agents who have been working for years should be able to provide at least three references to former clients. These past clients, of course, should be able to give positive reviews and tell you how the agent served their needs.

Current Listings with Few Extended Stays

Good real estate agents will not only have lots of clients, they will also have lots of listings under their name. However, you want to look over their listings for many things, including the time on the market. If you notice that the agent has numerous homes that have been for sale for months or even years (especially in a high-turnover area like San Diego) something might be wrong with their sales process.

Good Communication

By now, you should have a fair understanding of how the real estate agent communicates. Do they respond to messages quickly? Do they communicate in the method you prefer, such as text, phone calls, or emails? Good communication is crucial to the sales process, so don’t underestimate this factor.

Business professionals in real estate and mortgage industry.
Choose a real estate agent with extensive industry contacts.

Extensive Contacts in the Industry

Experienced agents will have numerous contacts in the real estate industry. Not only does this show their experience, it demonstrates their professional manner and shows that people like working with this person. The real estate agent you choose should have contacts for lenders, specialized real estate agents, contractors, inspectors, and everyone else you’ll need for the sales process.

Attention to Detail

In the real estate industry, details are crucial. A good real estate agent will pay attention to the details, helping to create a seamless process from start to finish. They should understand the details of negotiations, lending options, neighborhoods, and more.

Continuing Education

Real estate is not only complex, it can change from year to year, with changes coming from regulations, market changes, buying trends, and more. Look for an agent that is dedicated to continuing their education and professional development through classes, seminars, and formal training.

Curious About You

This may be the most important characteristic of all: the agent should be curious about you. They should be inquisitive about where you want to live, what you’re looking for in a home, and why you want to move. You need to ask plenty of questions yourself, but a good agent will ask questions as well. These questions allow them to find the right home for your specific needs, wants, and homeownership goals.

Matching the Right Mortgage to Your Homeownership Goals

If you are looking for a top-quality loan for your next home purchase, contact the team at San Diego Purchase Loans.

For FHA loans, VA loan, and even jumbo loans, we can show you all the details so you can make an informed decision. We’ll also take a common-sense approach to underwriting so you have the best chance at loan approval!


Have a Question? Let’s connect!

Every mortgage situation has a solution unique to you. Schedule a quick phone call or zoom. Leave your details and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Chad Baker, CrossCountry Mortgage   
NMLS# 329451 | CCM NMLS# 3029