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8 Qualities To Look For In A Real Estate Agent Or REALTOR

choosing a real estate agent

They are not all created equal

What should you look for a in a real estate agent or REALTOR®? Hello, I’m Stephen Garner, AKA “MyTitleGuy. 2012 marks my 11th year in the title industry is Phoenix, AZ – one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country. I’ve been up close and personal with some of the best and mediocre real estate agents around. This time in the trenches so to speak has given me a unique perspective on what a good agent looks like and how to choose one.

The first thing I want you to notice is that you “found” my website, This is an important distinction because real estate marketing has changed. The old days of real estate agents/REALTORS® saturating a neighborhood or city with postcards or flyers or advertising in glossy real estate publications is dying – fast. Consumers [like you] have shifted to the Internet. Today, over 98% of consumers will start their information gathering [like you did] online. You found this article because I knew how to position it so that you would. Can you see how powerful that can be in buying or selling your home? After all, why would anyone look for qualities that make a good real estate agent or REALTOR® or how to choose a REALTOR unless they were in need of one?

All real estate agents and REALTORS® are not created the same. Although 98% of consumers start their search online, over 50% of REALTORS® still don’t even have their own website. {I know right!}

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this article, how to choose a real estate agent or REALTOR®. From this point forward I am going to tell you what I, Stephen Garner “MyTitleGuy” an industry professional would look for in a real estate agent/REALTOR® if I was buying or selling my home and why. These are in no particular order. Ready?

Personable: I want someone that does not make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Someone I can tolerate talking to or sitting across from on more than one occasion.

Licensed: Sounds dumb but it is not. I want my agent to be licensed and in good standing. i.e. no complaints. [No legitimate complaints any way] Google is your friend. Go to, Put there name in quotations [“”] like  “MyTitleGuy” and see what Google and other consumers have to say about them.

Tech Savvy: an agent that is savvy with technology is a non negotiable for me. I want someone that has a strong website, that understands the Internet and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Not so much Social Media. Remember, 98% of consumers start their home search online, my real estate agent better know how to get my home to stand out online – where the eye balls are.

Knowledgeable: I want an agent that knows their way around the purchase contract and how to negotiate. Just because someone is licensed does not mean they understand either. I also want an agent that specializes in what I am buying or selling. A commercial agent for a commercial property, residential agent for a residential property, a short sale agent for a short sale property etc.

Familiar with the local market: I would want an agent that is familiar with my neighborhood, builder, and local market conditions. Local market conditions, not an area 20 miles away. [Yes, markets can vary considerably in as few as 20 miles]

Communicates well and often: You would hope that service and communication would be the basics to be in the real estate industry but sadly it is not. There are real estate agents out there that are horrible at returning calls or emails or even giving updates. Maybe that is why the #1 complaint in the real estate industry is lack of communication. In an occupation that requires communication the #1 complaint is lack of it. I want my real estate agent to communicate with me in the method that I prefer. [email, text, phone call, facebook, twitter, smoke signal, Morse code etc] whatever that is. I also want a regular schedule of check in’s – even if there is nothing to report. Keep me in the loop!

Truthful: Someone that is going to tell me the truth whether I want to hear it or not. “Yes, Mr Garner, that purple carpet is ugly and needs to go” or “Stephen, the deer head or stuffed bear in the den is not a good idea”.

Full Time: Real estate is not a part time job. My agent needs to be available when a potential buyer is. I don’t want to have to wait until my agent gets off his/her shift at Walgreen’s before they can answer an offer on my home. This is where an agent with a team can be beneficial as they can cover for each other so I can get the service I deserve.

I know I said 8 qualities, but I am throwing in another, call it a bonus (thanks Anyelina)

Integrity: Integrity is one of those words that many people “say” they have. In my opinion, Integrity is demonstrated not necessarily spoken. I want a real estate agent/REALTOR to put my interests above their own. That offer of $400,000 on my $430,000 home may only equal a reduction of $900 for the agents commission but it equals a $30,000 reduction to me. If I’m buying with an agent and I’m interested in 4 bedroom, 2 bath homes, show them all to me, even the ones offering a reduced commission and the ones listed by an agent you don’t necessarily care for. Put my interests above your own. If my agent represents me, I want him/her to represent me.


What To Look For If SELLING A Home
Selling a home effectively in today’s market includes many factors. Outstanding web visibility should be the top priority to market your home effectively. Today 98% of buyers start their home search on the Internet. Many consumers do their own research online AND THEN call a real estate agent/REALTOR®. Some real estate agents will tell you they have top web visibility. The great thing about Google is that it doesn’t lie. Ask them to prove it. Have the agent show you (on your computer not theirs) how their listings or marketing is at the top of the search engines. Not for the agents name or real estate brokerage name either. I’m talking about terms buyers in your area would look for when looking for a home like yours “Homes For Sale in X subdivision” “4 bedroom 2 bath homes for sale in X” Homes for sale near X” etc. Remember how I knew what you were looking for because you found my article? A good marketing real estate agent or REALTOR® will know how to attract a buyer to my home – online.

A good real estate agent should be able to optimize my listing to get “found” by a buyer looking for a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home in Chandler AZ near Intel. Remember, chances are, the buyer is going to come from the Internet. I would require a real estate agent that will market my home with VIDEO. If a picture says 1000 words, video says the rest. Video says so much more about a home than a picture, postcard, flyer, newsletter or description ever could. Not some shaky iPhone or iPad video either – I want an agent that uses or is forward thinking enough to hire someone that uses professional DSLR video camera’s, tripods, jib’s, sliders and editing software. As part of my job as the Director of Sales Technology for Grand Canyon Title I shoot professional quality video to help my real estate clients effectively market their listings. See my real estate video tours for examples of what good real estate marketing video’s can look like. Video tells the story of your home. I would never settle for an agent that could not tell that story effectively.

Oh one more thing. You may know someone that is a friend of yours that just so happens to have his/her real estate license. You may even be tempted to choose an agent that you, your friend or family know socially. My suggestion: Be careful. I have seen more than my fair share of personal relationships go south because of business. Just because your friend is a great coach, AVON rep or volunteer fireman does not mean they are a good real estate agent or REALTOR. The day may come where you want to make a change because your agent is not “being all they can be” and you may second guess it because of a personal relationship. One of the top searches on my site is “How To Change Real Estate Agents” and “Should I Change Real Estate Agents” If they stink as an agent you should be able to make a change immediately. This is not the easiest thing to do when your agent is a friend or a friend of a friend.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • Agata Renfrew

    Oh, you have a point! These are the qualities that you must look for in a real estate agent. Anyone would want a good agent, because this person will be the one who will guide you in investing. Let’s say he’s your partner! It’s obvious that you’d want someone whom you can trust! Of course, it is also important that you have knowledge in investing though you’re an amateur. That’s why researching and asking for advice from friends, and expert are important.

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  • Nicoleta

    I wish I had read this a year ago. We live in a small island, and we did chooses an old friend, but it has become totally apparent he is a part time realtor, we question his integrity, and the major disappointment has been the lack of marketing. Wait, and the molasses feedback. We feel as if we are a bother though the sale of our home will be profitable for him.

  • Frank

    Little over the top with your SEO needs. I don’t think people google specifically for a house. They use real estate sites or sites made for home searches to find houses available in their area.