Love me or hate me, we’re going to discuss this.

Selecting a real estate agent should be based on their skills, experience, your comfort level and their ability to help you make an informed decision on buying/selling your home. Consumers run into trouble when they think they have to call the person on the sign or only know enough to go with the company’s office they pass on a regular basis. Now, if you decide just to use your brother-in-law’s uncle’s cousin because it’s the right thing to do—stop reading and best of luck with your transaction.

Let’s first start with the reasons you wouldn’t use a local agent. Really, there are some. Your local selection of real estate agents could include people you don’t trust or companies that don’t align with your values. It could also include agents with limited marketing capabilities or experience. My advice in these situations would be to check out the closest surrounding cities and start your interviews. This is a big decision and consumers should be able to feel comfortable with their choice in a real estate agent. You have options. I reserve a special exception for those that have met a real estate agent they know, like and trust and wish to have them guide you, even though it’s outside their regular service area. A high level of trust needs to be one of your top priorities and can sometimes mean more to you than finding the local attractions.

On the other hand, local real estate professionals can offer quite a bit to consumers. Their knowledge of their local area turns them into experts when it comes to value, desirability, convenience and other factors. For sellers, having your home priced properly in the beginning can mean the difference between having your house on the market for a year and selling in a week. Also, that sign in your yard is like a beacon, asking for drive-by buyers to call. When your listing agent answers their phone, would you like to have someone that can tell the buyer how far away the grocery store is located? How long it takes to get to different areas of the region? Who is better at conveying the benefits of living in the area than someone local?

As a buyer, a local professional will know the most convenient routes to take in and out of neighborhoods. They will have great information on the schools and activities in the area. A local agent can also be very helpful when determining whether or not the home you love is priced properly—-you don’t want to overpay do you?

Now, I’m not saying every real estate agent has to be local. There are some wonderful agents that aren’t local that will take the time to learn everything about an area in order to serve their clients. When someone is willing to work this hard for their client, it’s definitely a great partnership.

Before making a decision this big, check the internet, look for testimonials and reviews and ask your friends and family about their past agents.