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When you are buying or selling a home, it is essential to choose the right real estate agent for your needs.

The best agents are energetic, positive and proactive.

On the other hand, selecting the wrong agent will cost you lots of time and money.

So how do you find the best agent for your situation? Here are some ideas to keep in mind.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

A real estate agent may or may not be a Realtor, but every Realtor is required to be a licensed real estate agent.

To become a Realtor, a real estate agent has to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR); this allows him or her to attend industry meetings, get NAR newsletters, and access software and educational tools.

Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics and have solid knowledge of the real estate business. These professionals have been trained well, which means they will provide you with the best service.

Where to Start Looking

Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a qualified real estate agent or Realtor. Ask people in your social network for referrals.

Sometimes agents are good at helping clients purchase homes, but not as skilled at selling them. Keep that in mind when searching for the right professional.

You might also contact local brokers or search the NAR directory online. Always work with credible, responsible agents. Otherwise you are wasting your time.

Comfort Level

At the initial consultation with a prospective real estate professional, focus on your comfort level while interacting with them.

Do you get the feeling they are genuinely concerned about your needs? Or are they focused on their commission? Do they know the current housing market? Can they negotiate a contract?

It is vital that you feel comfortable with the agent. You must trust that this person can behave ethically and help you secure a good deal.

Communication and Planning

Your agent should be an effective communicator. If you are selling your home, your agent should develop an effective marketing plan, explain it to you, and respond to any questions or concerns you have.

The marketing plan will probably involve placing advertisements and conducting open houses to invite the public for home viewings.

If you are purchasing a home, the agent should listen to your guidelines and price ranges.

Above all, your real estate agent needs to provide updates on progress. Do not work with someone who does not return phone calls or emails.

More Resources

To get a better idea about the process of buying and selling a home, conduct some research on your own. Real estate magazines contain good information and can be a great way to start your research.

There are also a lot of good resources on the Internet, such as www.Realtor.com, which is associated with NAR and which contains free, useful information.

You may find housing statistics, market forecasts and tips, but nothing beats the power of networking. You need to find people with similar interests who will help you in your endeavor.

Upon successfully buying or selling your home, keep your real estate agent's contact information on hand.

You may want to refer other people to him or her. You may also need their services again someday.

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