When you sell your home the relationship with your real estate agent is a lot more formalized than the relationship with your buying agent.

Finding the agent that will represent you is a big decision

You’ve decided to sell your home, and now you need a real estate agent to make it happen. How do you find one? It’s simple with a little footwork and online research.

Referrals and online research

If you don’t know anyone who has recently sold a home, ask family, friends and people on social media if they do. If no leads turn up, search real estate websites. They have sections dedicated to helping people find an agent. Just type in your zip code, and the site will target your search to agents in your area. A page will come up listing nearby candidates and include their photos, short biographies, contact information, statistics on the number of homes the agents have sold and even reviews.

You can narrow down the search by reading the reviews, which are filled with detailed, anecdotal information from past clients. There are also links to agent blogs and websites where you can gain even more insight.

Old school – Meet people face to face

The ideal situation is finding a realtor who knows your neighborhood and your real estate market. A great place to look is an open house. By attending several, you’ll get to meet different listing agents. You can ask questions about the house and the local market and watch how they interact with others. The best part of meeting people in person is that it allows you to get a first impression. Selling your house is a huge transaction, and you want someone you get along with and trust.

Selection criteria

When you have a pool of candidates, do more homework online. Find out if each real estate agency the agents work for is reputable or familiar to you. On the company website see what additional facts you can uncover about the agents you’re researching. See what homes the agents have listed and sold.

After you have one to three final candidates, you can ask each (separately) to tour your home. A good agent can walk through and tell you what characteristics add or deduct value from your home. At a second meeting, an agent can tell you his or her suggested list price for your home and present comparable market analysis data (CMA) – sales prices and statistics about other homes recently sold in the neighborhood. You should ask what steps the agent recommends taking to prepare, market and sell your home and how long everything might take.

As an agent is talking, you’ll get a stronger feeling for whether that person is a fit for you. You will be spending a lot of time with this person, and you want it to be someone you like. Also, the agent will be representing you. You need to trust him or her completely. When you find the right agent, you will know.