The best way to begin the process of finding a suitable Realtor is by consulting with your neighbors and friends. Nowadays, it's quite popular to use the Internet as a way to pick a Realtor. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a Web site that contains Find a Realtor, which is a search engine. One of the benefits of using a Realtor is that he or she is bound to serve you in an ethical and professional manner. Real estate agents who are not members of the NAR aren't bound by this code of ethics.
Another useful tip is to meet with several Realtors before deciding which one to use. If you're a homebuyer, it's perfectly acceptable to ask a Realtor that you're considering a few questions that will help you determine how well he or she knows the local real estate market. If you're looking to sell a home, you can also ask certain questions that will indicate how good a Realtor he or she really is. You should ask a Realtor whether the homes that he or she sells usually go for an amount that's above or below the initial asking price. Another valuable bit of information is how much time a Realtor will be able to dedicate to you and your home.
If you're selling a home, custom dictates that you sign an exclusivity agreement; however, if you're not satisfied with the manner in which a Realtor is handling the sale of your home, you have the option of terminating the exclusive agreement and finding a new agent. On the other hand, home buyers don't ordinarily have to sign a contract of exclusivity with a buyer's agent, although there are exceptions to that rule.