Every home buying and selling experience is unique. The market industry will change, as will your needs, your budget, time frame, tastes, and the length and depth of your search.

When you’re buying a real estate agent, whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to ensure you find one whose personality jives with yours, whose working style and responsiveness are sympatico, one who has experience with buyers or sellers in situations similar to your own.

We talked to experts in the field about how you can choose the best agent. Here’s what we found.

1. Get a referral from a friend
Bottom line, the best place to get a referral for a great real estate agent is from anyone who has had a first-hand experience dealing with them.

If you’re relocating and aren’t well connected in your destination, ask your new employer for a recommendation or focus on a real estate agent review site (like Zillow, Yelp, or even Google) to find prospects.

But one thing you shouldn’t do: hire a close friend or loved one as your real estate agent. The buyer or seller’s relationship with their agent is a business romantic relationship and shouldn’t be encumbered by emotional bonds. Both agent and client will perform better if there’s no friendship at risk.

2. Note responsiveness and communication style
The first thing you’ll notice when you start searching for a real estate agent is how responsive they can be. In 2018, there’s very little excuses for an agent who doesn’t respond within an acceptable period of time.

A agent who’s responsive will likely be able to help you pivot your search, jump on hot properties, and likely gets the availability to provide you with the attention you deserve.

You will want to be sure to and your real estate agent acknowledge preferred mode of communication. If you prefer texting, make sure your agent can accommodate. If you’re a contact person, your agent should accept make email the primary means of communication.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable with them
Before you choose a real estate agent, be sure to like them and are comfortable working closely.

Ensure you’re comfortable with them, and feel like you can trust each other. A realtors in Spring Hill tn may meet all the qualifications you’ve set out, but if you don’t feel comfortable with each other, things can go south quickly.”

4. Ask for credentials
Agents have formal certifications and specializations and you’ll want to make certain yours is appropriately qualified in your state. Some professionals are specialized to work with those over the age of 50 (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) or even to relocate military personnel (Military Relocation Professional), but there are three broader conditions you often hear: real estate agent, Realtor, and broker.

5. Look at their experience
Some real estate professionals will be more experienced in working with specific buying and selling scenarios than others will. First-time home buyers may desire a bit more hand-holding as they enter the market for the first time, those relocating will desire a real estate agent with extensive understanding of the nuance of an city and its neighborhoods and lifestyles.

Whether you’re downsizing, thinking of buying a foreclosure, or ready to get started on a family, you’ll want to choose a real estate agent who has comprehensive experience dealing with similar buyers and sellers. If you’re selling a single-family home, make sure your agent doesn’t typically represent condo sales. If you’re moving to the suburbs, don’t choose an agent whose connections are in metropolis center.

6. Ask how many transactions they handle every year
Responsiveness may be influenced by how much the agent has to give. You’ll want to make certain they keep a steady stream of business but also that they don’t bite off so much that they can’t provide you with the attention you deserve.

Some real estate agents work in the industry only part-time, that may affect the number of transactions they handle each year, but if you’re not used to real estate property or selling or are looking for a very specific kind of property-you should carefully vet that part-time agent to ensure they do possess the working knowledge and connections you will need.

7. Investigate their reputation
Read their reviews-and not merely the ones they post on the site. What do clients say about their connections, process, helpfulness, knowledge, and responsiveness? Sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and even Google and Yelp are excellent places to find third-party reviews from clients.

You’ll also want an agent who’s well connected-many sales are built through networks of agents. You can look for awards and designations they hold, especially awards local to the region where you’re looking. You can also simply ask a potential real estate agent about how precisely they use their connections to make sales or find listings.

8. Ask to see the pudding
Finally, make sure your agent can indicate specific proof points of their success. Require referrals and have to speak to past clients, ask to see stats that reflect their professional success, ask for instances of how they protected their clients’ best interests. An agent that is an advocate can show you some hard proof their success.