How to Hire the Best Agent to Help You Buy or Sell Your Home

By Phillip MacArthur

There are a number of key elements that allow for a successful real estate transaction. One that is often overlooked is hiring the best agent possible who is most qualified and experienced in your specific type of transaction. Some consumers might, for example, hire an agent because he or she is a friend or family member. It’s always great to support those you know in the business but that agent may not be the best one for the job. Here are a few things to think about as you interview an agent to hire:

Is your agent knowledgeable about your targeted area?

Would you let a truck driver fly a plane? Would you let a lawyer perform orthopedic surgery? Think about real estate in this way. Using an agent who doesn’t specialize in your area is no different. Remember, knowledge is power! If your agent is knowledgeable about the area or neighborhood you are targeting, it is likely the agent will have more access to “off market listings.” In hot markets, many properties sell before they even hit the market and if your agent has good relationships with other brokers, you might have the chance of buying that property with limited competition.

Your agent should also have a good understanding of fresh marketing strategies and technologies.

Now, it is likely that every agent currently selling knows how to put a sale on the MLS or search through the database to identify properties for you. However, have you hired an agent who knows how to market your property to its fullest potential? In a global market like Boston, it is important to have an agent who can reach the relocating GE executive in Connecticut and also have the ability to market your property to the foreign investor in Beijing. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network members are equipped with the brand’s new global website that is the industry’s first site showcasing the complete U.S. property database including all Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices listings—translated into 10 languages and available for search by consumers worldwide. Especially in markets that are big financial hubs, your ideal agent will also be a global agent. What if I told you that foreign investors are plunking more money into units without physically walking through them?! I use an awesome innovative technology called a Matterport 3D home model. Having a 3D model of your home that can be sent to prospective buyers is an incredible way for buyers to fall in love with your home before even physically previewing it! Check it out here.

Your agent should have a competitive attitude, strong work ethic and the ability to overcome failure.

Having an agent with a competitive attitude in a hot market can win over any multiple-offer situation. Two competitive attributes that every good real estate agent should have are: a strong work ethic and the ability to overcome failure. Your agent should also have the mindset that he or she works for you, not the other way around. If you call for an update on your contract at 8 p.m. on Friday, your agent should answer, or he or she should be firm about setting expectations from the outset; if there’s a specific time when your agent will not be available, he or she should let you know and provide you with the best times to be in touch.

In addition to being punctual, your agent must also be determined, especially when things don’t go exactly as planned. Some deals fall apart just as you think they will close and having your offer rejected in hot markets is about as common as the sun coming up every morning. It is important to have an agent who has a “short memory” and is able to leverage your last deal into success on your next offer.

I always ask my clients whether they prefer the “hungry” Jordan Spieth golfer or the “over the hill” Phil Mickelson golfer as the agent representing them. So, ask yourself: Who would you choose?

PHILLIP MACARTHUR is an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential in Boston, MA. He is also a member of the national REthink Council. You can email him at

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