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Whether you’re buying or selling a house, the quality of the real estate agent with whom you work will affect your experience. While knowing how to hire the right agent may seem daunting, there are a few things you can do to help you choose the better professional. A few suggestions are listed below.

Choose a Realtor Over a Real Estate Agent

The first thing to consider is the status of your agent. While every realtor is a real estate agent, not every agent is a realtor. The primary difference is that all realtors must belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and a condition of maintaining that membership is to abide by the organization’s code of ethics. Additionally, only realtors are licensed to sell real estate.

Attend Open Houses

While an internet search can help you gather a database of agents in your area, that won’t provide the personal interactions that will help you evaluate each agent. You can learn more about individual agents by attending open houses and interacting with them in that setting. You want to look for agents who are outgoing and seem comfortable interacting with people in groups and in one on one conversations. Be sure to collect business cards and make notes about your experiences.

Check Their References

Throughout your vetting process, you should narrow your choices down to a few agents. Once you reach that stage, ask the remaining two or three agents for references from previous clients and be sure to get contact information. As you talk to the previous clients, ask about their experiences in selling their homes with the agents they used. Were the agents supportive throughout the process? Would they hire them again? This can give you a better feel for each agent’s expertise and dedication.

Ultimately, you’ll have to trust your instincts as you do in hiring any other professional. Even if everything checks out, you should not hire someone who makes you feel unsure or uncomfortable. You’re trusting this person with a transaction that involves a major life event, so you should feel confident in their skills as an agent. You should also feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with them, because being more open with your agent will help you to have a much better experience in buying or selling a home.