Whether you’re buying your first home or your last, teaming up with a great real estate agent is an essential ingredient in a painless transaction.  The purchase of a home will undoubtedly be one of the largest investments of your life and I’m sure you don’t want to have just anybody representing you.  In Greater Lansing alone there are over 1500 licensed agents – How do you pick one?

1. Look for a Realtor!realtor.jpg
All Realtors are licensed to sell real estate, but not every agent is a Realtor.  Realtors subscribe to a code of ethics above an beyond what is required of a licenced real estate agent.

2. Get a Referral!
The best agents stay in business because they provide great customers service, valuable knowledge and sound advice to their clients.  Past clients sing the praises of Realtors who provide great service.  It is likely that someone you know has a history with a great agent.  Ask your family, friends and co-workers to refer you their Realtor. 

3. Avoid Internet Lead Generators!
There are tons of websites that will provide you with a lead to an agent.  Avoid them!  In most cases there is no assurance that the agent you’re being referred to is any good.  In fact, the agent you’re being sent to probably paid for the lead because they couldn’t get business any other way.  If you want to search on-line for an agent the better bet is to visit the websites of your local real estate firms and look for information about specific agents.  Look for testimonials from their past clients.

4. Visit Open Houses!
Sometimes the best way to find an agent that jives with you is to meet them in person.  Seeing a Realtor in action at an Open House can give you a good idea of how professionally she conducts herself.  Target Open Houses in the neighborhoods where you want to buy.  This way you’ll know the agent is familiar with your target area.

5. Get a Recommendation from a Pro!
If you know a great Realtor where you currently live but you’ll be moving across the country – ask that agent to refer you to a colleague.  Most Realtors have business connections all over the nation.  A great Realtor will know what to look for in another great agent.

Remember, working with a Realtor is usually free to buyers.  Don’t go-it-alone when you could have a professional guiding you through what could otherwise be an extremely stressful process.