Whether you are buying or selling a home in Seattle, it's easy to see why picking the best real estate agent for your needs is crucial. A reliable and experienced agent will make the entire buying or selling process a lot easier. Most importantly, they will ensure the whole endeavor ends the most favorably for you.

However, with so many options at your disposal, how can you know who to pick? Moreover, it may be challenging to know which agent will be suitable for your needs. While different people will respond differently to various agents' features, some things are pretty universal. Therefore, here are five tips for choosing the best possible real estate agent for you.

1. Check the agent's credentials and license

First and foremost, you must hire either a seller’s or a buyer’s agent. If you are selling a house, a seller’s agent will know best how to tend to your needs. But if you are buying a house, you have to know that a buyer’s agent will your best interest in mind. While both are capable of performing the necessary activities, in either case, it’s still in your best interest to hire an agent who deals with selling or buying to ensure the utmost success of your transaction. Therefore, based on your requirements, you must pick an agent with the right credentials. You will need an agent with a different set of skills depending on whether you are buying, selling, or renting a Seattle property. 

In addition, an agent can get some additional education such as these:

  1. CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
  2. ABR - Accredited Buyer's Representative
  3. SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist

These designations are not necessary for an agent to sell or buy residential properties. Still, it may be good to know if your agent possesses any additional credentials.

Furthermore, you should be aware that if an agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) they carry the title Realtor.

And finally, while an agent must have a license in order to be able to write an offer or sell a house, it might be a good idea to contact the regulatory body that issued the license and make sure there are no complaints, lawsuits, or disciplinary actions against your prospective agent.

2. Check the reviews from previous clients

There is probably no better way to anticipate how successful your agent will be with your transaction than by seeing how well they have done with their past clients. Therefore, make sure you go with an experienced agent with an extensive list of client reviews. 

If you are dealing with a good real estate agent, you can expect that they have closed numerous deals so far. Thus, they should have many clients willing to recommend them heartfully. A good rule of thumb is - the higher the number of closed deals, the greater the agent's expertise and experience. You can check the reviews online or ask the agent to provide you with some references. Also, make sure you really contact the references they have given you.

3. Test the agent's knowledge and check their tenure

If you notice that an agent has to research information every time you have a query about the area, you may want to look further. A good agent will be able to give you information about schools in the area, other listings, and general housing trends. 

So, if you wish to test how knowledgeable they are about the area in Seattle you are considering buying or selling a home in, discuss the houses recently sold in the area. If they are aware of them, you can be confident the agent is up to the task at hand. 

Furthermore, you want to hire a person on top of their game. Therefore, you should steer clear of an agent who hasn't been active for a few years. Again, you need someone familiar with the location, trends, and prices. To make sure you are making the right choice, you should check this with the regulatory board because agents themselves may not be upfront about this topic.

4. Check the agent's website

If you are selling a house, you must know that the Internet is the first stop for the buyers. So, a good agent must have a good website. Websites are like online offices. They represent a business in a virtual world. And if the image they demonstrate is not adequate, they will not attract new clients to visit the brick-and-mortar office. 

Agents now display all their current listings with all the necessary data on their websites. So, you will want a tech-savvy agent capable of effectively exploiting all of the Internet's advantages.

5. The best real estate agent has YOUR interests at heart

At the end of the day, all the credentials, licenses, knowledge, and experience may mean nothing if an agent works to serve him/herself. When picking the best real estate agent for your needs, you must find the one who has your best interest at heart. That will imply that they prioritize your interests over their commission fees. Moreover, they will be by your side every step of the way and fight on your side for every possible issue that could arise.

Also, when we say that your agent should be there for you every step of the way, we really mean it. The best real estate agents have a vast network of various associates and connections. For example, buying and selling a home implies moving to a different location, handling furniture and other belongings. Your agent can probably help you by recommending reliable Seattle movers who can assist you with having your bulky pieces transported with ease. They could also help you stage your home for sale, recommend lenders if you need them, etc. 

Conclusion

Picking the best real estate agent for your needs is not always the most straightforward process. There is a lot at stake, and no decisions should be made lightly. You have to get to know your agent, meet them face-to-face, and discuss your needs and preferences. After you have had a conversation with a few agents and made sure all the technical details about their license and expertise are in order, you have no other option but to go with your gut. After you have talked with an agent, you will feel if they are the right person for you. Although you are looking for an advocate, not a new best friend, you need to feel some sort of connection on a personal level.