Real estate encompasses many different types of properties and transactions, and many real estate agents specialize in a particular aspect of this field. When you go to purchase or sell a property, you want an agent who's specifically qualified to help with your particular transaction. Here's a step-by-step process to help you find such an agent.
Step 1: Commercial or Residential
First, determine whether you need a commercial or residential real estate agent. This is a straightforward determination, so you should easily find the type of agent you need.
If you're selling a residential property, you'll need a residential real estate agent. These agents primarily deal with single-family houses, but they also help with smaller multi-unit investment properties such as duplexes and triplexes. Many agents work as residential agents, and anyone who's currently selling a house likely primarily does residential transactions.
If you're selling a commercial property of any type, you'll want a commercial real estate agent. Commercial properties include warehouses, storefronts, parking garages, mixed-use properties, office buildings, and anything else that people don't live in. Large residential complexes, like apartment buildings, are also commercial if a business would own them and not an individual.
A commercial agent will have both the knowledge and network that you'll need to successfully purchase or sell a commercial building. A residential agent's knowledge will be more focused on home-related issues than revenues and operating costs. A residential agent's network will be mostly homeowners, home inspectors, contractors, and others who focus on housing.
Step 2: Purchase or Sell
Second, look for an agent who primarily helps buyers or sellers depending on your situation. You won't always find one, but someone who is specialized in this way will be highly qualified if you can locate such an agent.
In less populated areas, agents might not be able to focus exclusively on purchasing or selling, but more populated areas have enough demand that the best agents can focus on one of these. Additionally, residential agents may be more prone to specialize in buying or selling than commercial agents simply because most places have a more active residential market.
An agent who's able to help with only buying or selling will help people in your position every day, and they'll know what particular tactics can help with your transaction.
Step 3: Local to the Region
Finally, make sure whatever real estate agent you sign a contract with serves your particular area. Real estate is a highly regional market, and having someone who knows your local market is essential.