Whether you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future, you can bet that this task will be much easier if you enlist the help of a realtor. These home buying professionals know what it takes to sell your home, and if you are in the market to purchase one, they often get information on hot listings before they even go public. With their expertise, business connections, and knowledge of the area that you are buying or selling, real estate agents can expedite either of these processes and most likely make it cheaper for you as well.

Just because real estate agents are the most qualified professionals to help you buy or sell a home does not mean that they are all equally competent to work with you. Not all real estate agents are the same, and neither is their knowledge of your unique situation. Because of this it is important to know what to look for when selecting a listing partner. The best way to find out if a realtor is right for you is by interviewing him. By asking a few pointed questions you can find out rather quickly whether or not he has what it takes to work with you.

When you attempt to interview a prospective realtor you should find out how many homes or units he has already sold. Also, simply ask him what he can offer you as your buying or selling broker. If the answers to these initial questions are promising, then you can begin to probe deeper. Find out what the broker would do if something went wrong. What if your home is taking longer to sell than expected? Does he have a back-up plan? What if the buyers for the home you are contracted to buy drop out at the last minute? What kind of actions will he take to make the most of situations like these? If the realtor has well-thought, specific answers for questions such as these, then you can rest assure that he has been around the block, so to speak, and you are probably in good hands with his direction.

Your prospective broker should be able to tell by your situation whether or not you will need more or less attention in your buying or selling endeavors. If, for example, you are a stressed-out home owner in trying to sell in a buyers’ market, then the realtor should be more than willing to meet with you regularly to develop strategies, host open houses, and look into non-traditional marketing methods in order to get a deal to happen. If, on the other hand, you are in buying mode, and you have previous experience buying a house, then you may not want real estate agents to be continually holding your hand throughout the entire process. Either way, your realtor should be able to tell where you fall on this spectrum and treat you accordingly. If he does not adequately read your situation, it could show a lack of experience or even poor interaction skills. Both of these possibilities should be considered major red flags.