How Does Hiring a Real Estate Agent Work?

How does hiring a real estate agent work? Here’s an overview of the process along with some helpful tips to consider.

Amber Martinez
Amber Martinez

Ready to buy or sell a home? If so, it’s time to start hiring your representative real estate agent. If you’ve never bought or sold a home before, you’re likely wondering “how does hiring a real estate agent work?”

While the entire transaction process is important for fostering a successful deal, the steps you take when you’re hiring your agent play a key role in setting up the experience you have as a buyer or seller.

How Does Hiring a Real Estate Agent Work?

You’ll want to understand “how does hiring a real estate agent work?” and strive to find an agent that’s the best fit for you to kick off a strong start to your deal.

Here’s an overview of how hiring a real estate agent works, what you should expect from your agent, and tips to keep in mind throughout the process.

Step One: Finding Your Agent

The first step to hiring a real estate agent is to browse through the options available.

Finding your agent can be tricky since there are so many real estate professionals working in the United States. In 2021, there are more than two million agents active across the country. The best way to approach finding your agent is by getting as specific to your needs as possible.

You’ll want to narrow down your search by zooming into the professionals that are working in your target market. Consider working with a local NAR® certified REALTOR® who will be committed to providing you with the highest quality of service guided by NAR’s strict code of ethics.

Working with a premier real estate agent platform can help you find top agents in your market, providing you with a clear overview of their career history, specialties, and sales data.

When you find agents you’re interested in, look into their online presence to learn more about them and their practice. Review their website landing pages as well as their social media accounts. Pay special attention to any reviews left by past clients for an accurate idea of what their client experiences are like.

Completing thorough online research can inform you or your agent's experience and presence.

You can also speak with people you know, such as friends, relatives, and colleagues, about the experiences they’ve had with real estate agents in your area. You may be able to get a referral from someone you know and trust.

Once you’ve selected a pool of potential agents, reach out to them and set up an initial interview appointment.

Step Two: Interviewing Prospective Agents

The interview stage is an important part of the process of hiring your real estate agent. You’ll want to speak with prospective agents and spend some time with them before you commit to working with them.

The interview is crucial because it gives you the chance to get a feel for the agent’s personality, workflow, and mentality.

Real estate agents work closely alongside their clients until closing, so you want to find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. The interview is your opportunity to meet the agents you were interested in on paper and see whether or not they’re a good match for you.

An agent should be able to provide substantiated answers to your questions. 

Be prepared with strong interview questions to make the most of your time.

Beyond the questions you ask, pay close attention to the way the agent responds and the information they’re sharing with you. This will help you get to know the agent better and see if there is a connection between the two of you.

Step Three: Hiring Your Agent

When you’ve found the agent that you’d like to work with, it’s time to hire them.  Agents get paid a commission for their work when the deal closes, so you’ll be working together for some time before they receive their pay.

With some agents, you’ll sign a representation agreement that locks you into working with them while outlining the terms of your deal. Other times, it’s based on good faith. Talk to your agent about their service agreements and how they approach payment to get specific information.

Service Expectations for a Real Estate Agent

Now that you better understand “how does hiring a real estate agent work,” here are some additional thoughts to consider.

Depending on whether you’re buying or selling, a real estate agent has different responsibilities.

For example, a buyer’s agent will help their clients prepare financing, find a listing, and make an offer. A seller’s agent will help them prepare their home for listing, schedule the open house or conduct tours, and choose the best offer.

A high quality listing agent will help you navigate the merits or each received offer.

In general, agents are responsible for helping their clients find a buyer or seller to do business with. Agents explain each step of the deal to their clients and keep them informed of the latest transaction updates. Agents represent their clients when it’s time to negotiate the terms and work with them to get their deals to closing.

You can expect that your agent will be your guide throughout the transaction, helping you make decisions and form strategies to support your goals.

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Amber Martinez

Amber Martinez