So you've realized you need to hire a real estate agent. You may be thinking of selling your property or buying your first home. You've thought about it for a while now, and you're ready to take the next step. But how do you choose an agent among the many out there? I say Google is your friend.
I'm actually not suggesting you ask Google (or Siri or Alexa) who the best agent in your market is. Those responses will only show you who is doing the best job or spending the most money getting their web site to appear first in searches. It doesn't really tell you if any of those agents are any good. What I am suggesting is first ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers who have recently bought or sold a house who they used and if they liked them. Or go ahead and ask Siri or Alexa if you prefer.
Once you have a few names, google them. Check out their Google business site, web site, and Zillow and Realtor.com for reviews. You have to be careful reading reviews. Keep in mind some sources of reviews are more easily manipulated than others so consider the source. Also keep in mind most people will only write a review if they really loved or hated the service they received. Read both the positive and the negative ones.
With the negative ones, is there a response by the agent? See if there was an attempt to resolve the problem. Consider how emotional the purchase or sale of a home can be. Does the reviewer seem to be reasonable? Do the complaints seem like a real issue or a heated response to an emotional situation?
With the positive ones, do they just say they loved the agent or do they give specific reasons explaining how the agent did a good job? Do you know you're going to ask a lot of questions and require a good deal of attention, then look for reviews that say the agent is patient. Are you moving to a new area? Look for someone people said was knowledgeable about the area.
If an agent has more than a few reviews, is reviewed on multiple sites, is consistently getting 4 and 5 stars, and has reviews that take more than a few seconds to read, they are likely going to do a good job for you, too.