Whether you're buying or selling a home, it's important to work with a real estate agent who has a strong track record for closing deals in your area. A good agent can help you navigate unfamiliar paperwork, meet critical deadlines, and negotiate for the best possible deal.
But finding a good real estate agent isn’t easy, and searching for “best real estate agent near me” won’t always get you the top candidates.
Hire the wrong real estate agent, and you could end up shelling out thousands in commission while still ending up with major regrets about your home sale or disappointment over rejected offers for homes you hoped to purchase.
While many home buyers and sellers rely on personal referrals, it's better to find an agent who has past experience with your specific goals and needs.
If you're looking for the best agents in your area, our friends at Clever Real Estate can help. Clever offers a free service that personally matches you with pre-vetted real estate agents near you who have helped clients land their dream homes, sell fast, and negotiate for a better price or contingencies.
Clever's partner agents come from top-rated brokers including Keller Williams and RE/MAX — so you'll get full service and pre-negotiated savings. With Clever, you'll pay just 1% in listing fees (instead of the standard 3%) — saving the average seller $9,000. And buyers in most states can receive up to 0.5% cash back after closing (which adds up to $2,000 for a $400,000 home purchase).
Tip #1: Ask Friends and Family for Referrals
If you’re looking for a top real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, asking friends and family for recommendations can help you find a good fit. After all, you’re likely to get an honest opinion from someone you know.
Plus, you’ll likely hear about it if a friend or family member didn’t have a good experience with a particular realtor. A whopping 95% of people tell others about bad experiences they’ve had with customer service, according to a ZenDesk-sponsored survey by Dimensional Research.
Tip #2: Use an Agent-Matching Service
Hundreds of free agent-matching websites offer “top real estate agents near me” lists or rankings. It’s a fast, easy way to connect with experienced real estate agents in your area. The one downside is that you can’t always work with any agent you want – your selection is typically limited to the company’s network.
Still, it’s an excellent way to find quality agents. These services will match you with someone with the right expertise for your needs. You can also read reviews and recommendations from other users to get an idea of what other people thought about the service they got.
Many well-known companies offer agent-matching services:
- Realtor.com has a matching service that connects you with a local Realtor to help you buy or sell your home. The National Association of Realtors has over 1.5 million members, so you’re sure to find one where you live.
- HomeLight has a network of over 28,000 real estate agents throughout the country. The company’s fast service relies on technology to deliver the match, but the automated results may result in a poor-quality match.
By contrast, our friends at Clever Real Estate offer a free service that's different from other matching services. Clever's concierge team of licensed real estate experts will listen to your goals and criteria to connect you with the best real estate agents in your area.
Like most matching services, our friends at Clever Real Estate offer a 100% free agent-matching service and there's no obligation to sign an agreement.
But unlike other agent matching services, Clever offers the lowest listing fees in the industry — just 1%, instead of the standard 3% — while connecting you with top-rated agents from national brokers including Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Century21. If Clever doesn't have agents in your area, its in-house sourcing team will even help you find out-of-network agents and negotiate on your behalf, at no charge.
Tip #3: Compare Agent Experience and Credentials
The best real estate agents are highly skilled professionals who can help you buy your dream home or sell your current property. They have extensive experience in the local markets and will know how to find the best deals on properties — which means their names should be prominent in your area.
You might search your local multi-listing service (MLS) through Realtor.com or Zillow to find listings with local real estate agents near you. When you search for an agent online, look for how many years the agents have been selling homes to find the most experienced agents.
Realtor.com’s “Find a Realtor” tool also lets you compare the number of homes the agent has previously sold and is currently selling using. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for online, the agent themselves should be able to tell you. Ask about:
- How many years they have been working in the field
- How many homes they’ve sold in the past 12 months
- The average time a home they’re selling spends on the market
- The number of listings they currently have
Remember that if they have a large amount of current listings, they may be too busy to give you the time and attention you deserve.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references and check them.
Tip #4: Read Online Reviews
We often hear about how important it is to find a real estate agent who fits your personality well, but how do you know if your realtor is a good match?
Look at the agent’s online presence, their website and social media accounts, to determine how engaged they are with the local market.
You can also search online reviews from customers who have worked with the agent in the past. The best way to find these reviews is to dive into a review aggregator website that has a lot of feedback in one place, like
- Google reviews
A word of caution: Buying or selling a house is complex and can be extremely frustrating for everyone involved. You might find a critical review that has little to do with the agent. Read reviews carefully. A couple negative reviews might not be a cause for concern, but more than that could be a red flag.
The best real estate agent is the one who can get you a home you love at a price you can afford. Whether you rely on review sites, referrals from family and friends, or a Google search, you still need to figure out if the agent is a good fit for you and your goals. Our friends at Clever can save you time by doing the hard work for you.
Clever's team of fully licensed real estate experts listen to what you want out of an agent and then match you with a great real estate agent in your area who will meet those needs. See how easy it is to find the best real estate agents near you!
Frequently Asked Questions About Finding Real Estate Agents
How do you find a good realtor?
You can find a good realtor by asking for referrals from your family and friends, using free agent-matching services like Clever Real Estate, comparing local realtor stats on websites like Realtor.com, and reading online reviews. Learn more about the steps to hiring a top local real estate agent.
Do you pay a real estate agent if you are the buyer?
No, you don’t pay a real estate agent if you are the buyer. The seller pays the agent’s commission during closing by subtracting it from the sale of the house. Read more about how to find a top agent in your area.
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