When it comes to buying a new home, most people begin their search by driving through dream neighborhoods, stalking online listings, and heading to Pinterest for inspiration. While these are important parts of the home buying process, each one skips over the most important step of all – finding the right real estate agent.

The right real estate agent can help you zero in on your dream house, keep you focused on your goals, find hidden gems you may have overlooked, and make a potentially stressful situation downright pleasant. While we won’t go so far as to say that realtors are superheroes in disguise, having the right one on your side might just make you feel invincible.

So how do you find that the real estate agent that’s right for you? You’re in luck. This article is an excellent place to start!

Do a background check. In North Carolina, all Realtors must possess a real estate license, which can only be obtained after passing the North Carolina real estate licensing exam. At Network Real Estate, all our realtors are licensed and experienced, and each month we feature one realtor on our blog as a way to help you get to know our agents. In other words, if you start your search at Network Real Estate, you’re already halfway there!

Discuss communication styles. In many cases, buying or selling a home is all about timing. The faster you move, the better. If you find a home you’re interested in, how soon will your real estate agent get back to you and look into it? If you get an offer on your home, will your real estate agent be available to handle the details? Does he prefer to communicate by phone, email or text messaging? Do you feel the same way? Communication is everything, so make sure your styles match.

Find out which neighborhoods the real estate agent specializes in. If you’re relocating to a new area, it’s important to choose someone who can help you find a neighborhood that’s a good fit for your personality and lifestyle. Maybe you’re looking for a quiet place to retire, a historic home that needs some love, or a beach retreat. Each market has its own quirks, and a great agent will be able to steer you toward or away from certain areas accordingly.

Request to speak with recent clients. If the realtor has nothing to hide, she should be happy to pass along a few names. This proves she has experience and confidence, and it’s also a great way to get the inside scoop from someone who’s been in your position. Ask her past clients how they felt about the process. Were they pleased, or disappointed? Do they feel they got a good deal? Do they have any regrets? Once you receive a glowing review, you can move forward with confidence.

Ask them to describe their ideal client. Working with a real estate agent is a little bit like dating – you want to find someone who likes you as much as you like them. Asking a real estate agent to describe his or her ideal client can be very revealing. Perhaps she prefers to work with buyers, but you’re a seller. Or maybe he enjoys helping baby boomers downsize, but you’re a first-time home buyer who’s going to need a lot of hand holding. Make sure you’re well matched, and you’re much more likely to have a beautiful relationship.

At the end of the day, finding the right real estate agent requires some knowledge, a little luck, and the right amount of chemistry. Get started on your journey by contacting Network Real Estate’s experienced, qualified and passionate team of agents today.