Not all those million agents are serious pros. It’s relatively easy to get into the real estate business but it is tough to make a good living there. Some people just dabble in real estate and some inexperienced agents get precious little hand-holding from their brokers. Brokers are also licensed by the state. They typically run the real estate office and have a number of agents working under their umbrella. Technically, buyers and sellers are under contract with the broker for real estate services even though all your interactions may be with the agent. You will find that, in general, an agent with one week of experience charges the same commission as an agent with ten years of experience. You, of course, want a committed pro who can realistically promise to make your life easier.
One of the soundest pieces of advice we’ve heard about searching for a top-notch real estate agent came from a buyer in Colorado. He found his buyer’s agent by calling agents in his sister’s hometown some twenty miles away from the place where he wished to move and asking them who they would want to work with if they were moving to the town he has his sights on. They were not competitors so they were willing to offer an honest opinion. Real estate “for sale” signs can be a good indicator of who is active in the market as well. If the same name pops up on a lot of signs then that’s an indication of an agent who specializes in the neighborhood. It’s worth a phone call to that agent to ask for references.