To find a real estate agent today, you need look only as far as the signs on the nearest bus stop, bench or grocery cart. To find a good agent, however, and one that is right for you, a little work is in order. Both buyers and sellers not only benefit from professional Realtor® representation, they avoid potential legal and financial complications as well. The specialized knowledge and skills that an experienced agent brings to the process are irreplaceable, no matter how strong your Internet search skills are. When you set out to find a Realtor® to represent you, look for one that meshes well with your style and personality. This helps to ensure a more pleasant experience.

Why You Need a Realtor®

Some people argue a real estate agent is not necessary today, thanks to the plethora of information available on the Internet. However, few laypersons understand all the rules, processes, laws and customs, not to mention the intricacies, of today's strict new lending laws. Additionally, a competent and reputable agent comes with a profusion of resources. Good agents have solid relationships with the best lenders, appraisers, inspectors and escrow agents. Most important, however, is the fact that a Realtor® is both legally and ethically bound in their duties to you, obligated to serve your best interests at all times.

Red Flags to Watch For

During your selection process, pay close attention to any red flags that may pop up. As with any industry, not all agents are created equal. If you're selling a home, beware of agents who want to list your home above market value or for a nonstandard rate of commission. Consider your choice very seriously before doing business with an agent who practices real estate as a side job. An agent's obligations during a transaction span all 24 hours of the day and it's difficult, if not impossible, to provide the service you deserve while working another job. Ensure that your agent is up to date with current market trends and legal issues and, finally, select a Realtor® who works in your local market.

Tips on How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Do not hesitate to ask a potential agent for references from previous clients. Online research reviews are rarely an accurate way to evaluate the performance of an agent. Like any online review, the agent's friends will all leave positive reviews, while disgruntled competitors post criticisms. Look for specialized credentials or designations that indicate extra training or education. Verify how long your prospective agent has been in the field and, for safety's sake, verify that his or her license is in good standing with the state. Selecting an agent with minimal experience is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is ill-advised for an inexperienced buyer or seller.

Whether you're a property seller or potential buyer looking to step into the housing market, enlisting the help of a qualified and professional Realtor® offers the best chance for a smooth, successful transaction. In southern California, contact the Edie Israel Team when you're ready to find a real estate agent.