Are you looking for a real estate agent? Do you find it frustrating, time consuming and extremely stressful? Do you search online? talk to family and friends? I'm sure you do all these things and that is good. But how do you pick the "right" one? Because they are a larger agency does that make them better? With the advent of internet, not necessarily. Some of your boutique agencies are awesome and top notch. It depends on if they can understand and meet your needs.
Some things to remember is to ask for example, if you are searching for a home, are they a residential specialist? Do they have any specialty designations? Or if you need a to lease your home or rent one, do they do property management? In other words be sure to investigate with them what is their specialty or area of expertise.
How about credentials? Since I am also an instructor of real estate...obviously I can tell you that education and training is a must so that you can be afforded the best service. For example, as the Broker of my brokerage, I have had continuing education since 1986 and vast experience in residential real estate coupled with homebuilding, insurance and mortgage. I teach at our Board pre-licensing courses to include Finance, Principles, and Contracts. I also am qualified to teach renewal courses such as Investments. I now serve on our Board of Directors. I sponsor agents and hold training for them as well. I have a business management degree along with my Broker's license. Our sales direct has a degree in accounting and a background as a corporate trainer. Yes, we try to stay educated wouldn't you say? And because real estate is always changing, we strive to keep abreast of those changes and if we don't know the answer...we know the sources and where to find it!
You want an agent that will go to bat for you when you become their client, whether a buyer or a seller. For example, we have actually cleaned toilets for our out of town sellers before...yep you heard me right. Another example for a buyer, is we've facet-imed them to see the house beforehand when they can't make it into town. Just naming a couple of examples!
Happy real estate hunting!