Your guide to finding a real estate agent in 2023

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Buying or selling a home is a pivotal and exciting life change, and while it certainly calls for celebration, that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges along the way. Working with a real estate professional can help you avoid some of those challenges.

If you're a first-time homebuyer or preparing to sell for the first time (or even if you’ve done this before), you probably have many questions about the process. The first step is finding a real estate agent. 

Good Realtors are experts in their local market, so they can help you buy or sell a home quickly, and at the right price.

Here's what to keep in mind during the search for a good real estate agent:

1. Consider your goals

Before you can hire an expert, you need to have a good understanding of what your goals are. Are you looking to sell your home quickly? Buy your first home in a new city? Looking for a new build? (You should get a realtor for a new construction, too.) Do you need a dual agent to help you do both? Clearly define your goals before starting your search.

→ Related: Do I need a realtor for a new construction?

2. Determine what type of agent would be the right fit 

Make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a real estate agent.

Is frequent communication important to you? Communication is key to success throughout the entire real estate transaction (from listing to the home inspection to closing), and everyone has their own preferences. Whether you prefer texts or phone calls, good agents will keep you informed as they find new listings or receive interest in your property.

Do you want to work with a team, or one independent realtor? Some agents specialize in helping certain types of clients (like seniors looking to downsize or people selling during divorce). If you’re looking for a specific type of agent, make note of that, too.

→ Find out what questions to ask an agent when selling

3. Start searching

There are a few ways you can search for a real estate agent that will meet your needs. Most people ask friends and family for recommendations, or search online. You can also call or visit a local brokerage.

Just make sure any potential agent is a Realtor, or someone licensed with the National Association of Realtors and held to their code of conduct.

Another way to find a trusted real estate agent is by working with Orchard. Our licensed agents have on average, eight years of local real estate experience — so not only are they experts, they’re your neighbors.

4. Vet your potential agent

Once you’ve found a prospective real estate agent that seems like a good match, do your research to ensure you are happy with your choice. Here are a few things to consider when speaking to them:

  • Communication style: How often do they communicate with clients? In what format (email, phone, etc.)?
  • Education: Are they a real estate agent, realtor, or broker? While all three have real estate licenses, realtors and real estate brokers have additional training and experience. Real estate brokers are more likely to manage real estate agents and/or own a brokerage, so they may not take on as many clients themselves.
  • Team support: Do they work independently? Or do they have a team of multiple agents that will also work with you?
  • Resources: If you’re a first-time home buyer, are they willing to guide you through the process?
  • Turnaround time: How often will they send you new listings? If you’re interested in a home, how quickly can they tour it with you?
  • Testimonials: What have past clients said about working with them? Look for reviews online or ask the agent for references.

→ Look out for these signs of a bad agent

5. Make a decision

When you’re happy with your choice, your real estate agent can get to work! They will ask you additional questions about your needs and use their local connections to find you properties or prospective buyers.

How do you find a local Realtor?

Find a local agent by narrowing your search to a specific area. If you’re searching online, be sure to include the name of the community, neighborhood, or city you live in — or the one you’re moving to (get tips about buying a home in a different state.) If you’re asking friends and family for recommendations, be clear that you want to work with a local expert. 

Working with a local real estate agent is key to successfully selling or buying property at the right price, quickly. Local agents are experts in their market, so they know how to appeal to local buyers and sellers.

If you’re selling, your realtor can recommend the right home updates to make and will market your property to the specific buyer population in the area. If you’re buying, your agent may be able to show you properties before they even hit the market, thanks to their local network.

Finding an agent when you're buying vs selling

Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, you want to work with a licensed, experienced agent who you trust. Most realtors have experience representing buyers and sellers, so you don’t need to adjust your search based on whether you're a homebuyer or homeowner. Just be sure to let them know what you’re looking for. 

→ Learn more about listing agents vs selling agents

Why is choosing the right real estate agent important?

Choosing the right real estate agent will ensure you have a positive buying experience within the timeframe and budget you expect. Here are a few reasons why selecting the right real estate agent is important:

Experience

Great agents don’t only bring their real estate license to the table. They also come with years of negotiation experience, an understanding of contracts and mortgages, and local market expertise.

Key connections 

Good real estate agents will use their network to show you properties before they hit the market. Or, if you’re a seller, they will show your home to their network of agents to gain traction before the listing goes live. Great agents also have connections to contractors, stagers, and lenders to help you through the entire process.

Market expertise

A good seller’s agent uses their market expertise to price your home to sell, get attendance at the open house, and market your home to local buyers.

Conversely, a good buyer’s agent uses their expertise to help you make an attractive offer based on recent sales in the area.

Your priorities

The right realtor will remain committed to your priorities throughout the home buying or selling process. This means keeping your wishlist top of mind when searching for properties and helping you get the best offers.

Get matched with the perfect agent

Need help identifying top agents? At Orchard, our agents have years of experience and who have a strong track record of success in your neighborhood.

We also have additional services, like turning you into a cash-buyer, or helping to line up closing dates when you buy and sell a home at the same time. If you're a homeowner, we can help you sell your house for top dollar, and even help make suggested upgrades to maximize your profit. Choose Orchard and get started now.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

On top of a guaranteed sale, 95% of Orchard customers sell for more on the open market.

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Buy a new home knowing you’ve sold your current one

Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.

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Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

On top of a guaranteed sale, 95% of Orchard customers sell for more on the open market.

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Closing Fees
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
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Estimated Net Proceeds
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Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

How much can I make selling my home?

Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.

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Closing Fees
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Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
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Estimated Net Proceeds
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Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Don’t navigate the market alone

Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.

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Closing Fees
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Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
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Total Cost to Sell
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Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Let’s match you with a real estate agent

All Orchard Home Advisors are experienced agents who know your local market inside and out. Request a consult today.

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Closing Fees
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$0
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Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
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Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
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Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Close faster with a cash offer

Did you know cash offers are 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller? Let us help you make one on your next home.

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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Find out what your home is really worth

Orchard’s home value estimates are 30% more accurate.

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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
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Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
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Total Cost to Sell
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Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Curious what your monthly mortgage payment would be?

Orchard Home Loans shops the market to find your best rates.

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Closing Fees
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Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
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Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
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Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Stand out to sellers with a cash offer

A cash offer is 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller. Get qualified today.

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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Don’t miss out on your dream home

Make a cash offer now, and Orchard will sell your old home after you move.

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Closing Fees
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$0
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$0
Other Costs to Consider
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Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Your dream home is waiting for you

Tell us your must-haves to see personalized home recommendations that meet your criteria.

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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

The stress-free way to buy and sell

With Orchard, secure your dream home before you list. Avoid home showings, rentals, and double moves.

Learn More