10 Key Qualities That Make a Good Real Estate Agent

Joseph Alongi
By Joseph Alongi
Updated October 27th, 2023
Qualities of a good real estate agent

There’s a common misconception about what makes a real estate agent “good.”

Many buyers and sellers think that a good realtor is someone who has a lot of sales in their area.

In my opinion, this isn’t necessarily true. 

Experience is definitely a characteristic of a good agent –– but it isn’t the only one.

Because there are many experienced real estate agents who care more about making a commission than getting the best results for their clients.

A good real estate agent does the opposite. 

And they do this by: 

  • Making their clients a top priority 
  • Prioritizing their clients’ best interests.

These are the real estate agents who are exceptional.

What makes them so great?

They all share similar traits. 

Here are the 10 key qualities that make a good real estate agent.

1. Transparency

Every real estate agent will talk about the good.

But some agents will intentionally omit the bad if they think it won’t benefit them.

This is why transparency is a crucial characteristic of a good agent.

It means being up front and honest — even if it’s not what you want to hear.

Imagine that you’re selling your home and meeting with prospective real estate agents.

You have a set price in mind, but your home isn’t worth what you think it is.

A transparent agent will recommend a realistic listing price based on an accurate comparative market analysis.

This is important because setting the right price can lead to a quicker, more profitable sale. 

But an agent lacking this key attribute might suggest an inflated list price just to win your business.

The result?

Your house may sit on the market, eventually forcing you to reduce the price and sell for less than you initially could have.

Or maybe you’re buying a home but the inspection uncovers serious issues. 

A candid agent will immediately inform you and offer actionable advice so you can decide whether to renegotiate or walk away — despite the risk of losing the sale. 

2. Local experience

A real estate agent who has experience in your area can bring a deeper understanding of market dynamics that can’t be “Googled.”

Can an agent who doesn’t have any local experience still help you buy or sell a home?

Yes, because any competent agent can research a neighborhood and property values.

But real estate agents who have at least some experience in the area you’re buying or selling in can offer valuable insights that other agents can’t.

They possess an attribute that can help them dig into local real estate market trends, pricing, and demand.

This trait gives them an advantage when helping a buyer craft an offer –– or when guiding a seller on the right listing price.

It also increases the chances of them understanding the unique aspects of your area, which translates into knowing the current demand from potential buyers.

And they’re more likely to have a local network of other real estate professionals.

But here’s the thing…

While local experience is an important quality of a good real estate agent, it isn’t the only one.

There are other characteristics you should consider that are more important.

3. Problem solver

Going through the home buying or selling process can be stressful.

That’s because many unexpected issues can come to the surface.

So a good real estate agent needs to have the essential personality trait of problem-solving skills.

For example…

Say you’re buying in a “hot” real estate market.

An agent with this characteristic is going to know how to give you an advantage in competitive market conditions.

They might get you in for an immediate viewing so you can submit an offer before other prospective buyers.

And they might make the right inquiries to the seller’s agent so they can extract important information that helps you include terms in your offer that are too good for the seller to pass up.

Or suppose you’re selling a home and the inspection turns up an issue that could jeopardize the deal. 

And the buyer’s agent is inexperienced in knowing how to fix the problem.

A solution-oriented listing agent will jump into action. 

That may mean getting a second opinion from a different inspector so the buyers feel comfortable.

Or finding a creative way to get the repair costs covered so your sale stays on track.

Here’s the point…

A real estate agent who is a problem solver has a rare analytical quality that makes them stand out from their peers.

4. Empathetic

The best agents take a compassion-driven approach.


They listen first to understand your unique needs as a buyer or seller.

Then they become a supportive ally, guiding you through the buying or selling journey with understanding, respect, and genuine care.

You might be a seller who’s emotionally attached to your home. 

A real estate agent with empathy realizes it’s not just a piece of property to you. 

So they’re going to be patient and support you through the decision-making processes.

And they might go the extra mile in helping you prepare your house for sale, making the selling process a bit easier.

Or you could be a buyer who is discouraged after submitting several unsuccessful offers.

An empathetic realtor gets it.

They understand the emotional challenges you’re facing and will reassure you to provide you with mental and emotional ease.

5. Integrity

The difference between an honest and dishonest agent can be tens of thousands of dollars. 

Here’s how…

Say you’re buying a home.

An agent lacking integrity might encourage you to make an offer higher than what’s needed to be accepted — unbeknownst to you. 

This trick allows them to quickly “lock in” their commission and move on to their next client.

But it leaves you paying a higher sales price.

Or say you’re a seller and you receive an offer from a buyer.

Your listing agent knows that the buyer is willing to pay more but advises against counter offering.

The reason?

They don’t want to put the deal at risk (aka lose their commission) –– even though it would easily net you a higher selling price.

This is why integrity is one of the most important qualities of a great real estate agent.

But not all agents can boast this key realtor trait.

The good ones can be uncovered by looking at the percentage of their sold listings where they acted as a dual agent (represented both the seller and buyer in the same real estate transaction).

If a realtor has a lower percentage of these sales than other real estate agents in your area, it’s a great sign that they have integrity.

Because it indicates that they don’t prioritize earning double commissions from one deal.

Instead, they’re focused on prioritizing their clients’ best interests.

6. Strong communicator

Good real estate agents do more than just keep you informed during the buying or selling process.

They serve as your guide at every step.

And this guidance hinges on an essential trait: strong communication.

Poor communication can lead to financial loss and missed opportunities.

While clear, timely correspondence can make the transaction smoother.

Here are the traits of a realtor who excels in strong communication:

  1. Clarity and conciseness: They convey information in a straightforward manner — whether they’re explaining closing costs or local real estate market trends.
  2. Timeliness: They respond quickly, ideally within half a business day, and provide proactive updates so you’re always in the loop. 
  3. Relevance: These agents share only information that’s beneficial to your buying or selling situation. They avoid overwhelming you with unnecessary details.
  4. Respect for your communication style: Top agents use your preferred channels (whether text, phone, or email) and adjust their approach based on the nature and urgency of the information being shared.
  5. Adaptability: They adjust their communication style to the situation, whether it’s a tense negotiation or a fast-paced bidding war.

Pro tip: Pay attention to these traits when interviewing a realtor. You’ll get a sense of whether they’ll bring good communication skills when helping you buy or sell.

7. Reputable

An excellent reputation is a sought-after characteristic in the real estate industry.


Because many buyers and sellers correlate an agent’s reputation with the level of service they can expect.

And rightfully so.

A reputable real estate agent will usually make you feel like a top priority.

These are the agents who have previous clients vouching for them with consistent positive feedback.

Such reviews can give you confidence that a realtor is trustworthy –– which can add an extra layer of security to your home sale.

And that trustworthiness usually extends to the agent’s professional network, too.

Reputable real estate agents often collaborate with equally top-notch professionals, like home inspectors, contractors, and mortgage brokers. 

An agent’s reputation can also carry weight when it comes to making or receiving an offer.

Because an offer made by a well-regarded agent adds more credibility, which increases the chances of a successful real estate transaction.

8. Skilled negotiator

You might think that a real estate agent just helps you find or sell a property.

That’s what an average real estate agent will do.

But a good real estate agent possesses an essential quality to secure you the best price and terms.

They negotiate on your behalf as if your house is theirs.

This is an underrated agent characteristic because most buyers and sellers don’t understand the impact negotiating can have on their sale.

For example…

For buyers, your chances of getting an offer accepted for a price lower than a competing offer is much more likely when you’re working with an agent who excels in negotiating.

Agents with this attribute also know how to secure the best terms, such as an extended contingency period or a flexible move-in date.

For sellers, a realtor with bargaining skills can put more money in your pocket compared to a realtor who doesn’t carry this trait.

Because the good agents know what to say and when to say it during a negotiation.

This is especially important when the buyer is represented by an experienced real estate agent.

These are just a couple of examples of why being a skilled negotiator is a must-have quality of a good realtor.

9. Reliable

Reliability should be a mandatory characteristic of any real estate agent.


Because this attribute can mean the difference between a smooth real estate transaction and a stressful one.

Whether you’re buying or selling, here’s how a reliable agent benefits you:

  • Trustworthy advice: Agents with this quality ground their recommendations in data to help you make informed decisions.
  • Efficiency: A dependable agent knows how to steer you toward a favorable outcome with minimal complications. For example, if you’re selling, your listing agent might suggest getting a pre-inspection to mitigate any unexpected issues and expedite your sale.
  • Focus: A good realtor saves you time when you’re navigating the real estate market. If you’re buying, for instance, your buyer’s agent will only show you homes that align with your objectives. 
  • Attention to detail. Reliable real estate agents catch even the smallest discrepancies, whether in a contract or during a home inspection. Their meticulousness safeguards your interests and can save you time and money. 

An agent with these personality traits can provide the support you need for a victorious real estate experience.

10. Client-centric

Every agent says they put their clients first.

But not all real estate agents actually do.

That’s why a client-centric focus is one of the top attributes of a successful real estate agent.

What does this trait look like?

A realtor who manages their workload to ensure that they can give enough time to your buying or selling journey.

Even if it means turning away new clients. 

But the true sign of an agent who prioritizes their clients?

They won’t lock you into a contract. 

Why does this matter?

Because an agent’s commission is essentially “guaranteed” once you agree to hire them in writing.

This can tempt agents to push your sale to the side while they focus their energy on getting their next client.

But an agent who’s willing to let you cancel your contract at any time is essentially risking their commission.

Because they know you could fire them at any point…

So they’re going to be motivated to work harder and prioritize your sale.

That’s the kind of agent you want by your side.

And why inquiring about the agent contract is one of the questions you should ask a realtor.

Final thoughts

Understanding which qualities define a good real estate agent is important because it allows you to zero in on the kind of professional you should work with. 

Who exactly is that?

A skilled real estate agent who has good character and possesses the right attributes.

That’s what we call the real estate agent trifecta.

And that’s why these key traits are a part of knowing how to find a good agent.

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Joseph Alongi
Joseph Alongi

Joseph is the CEO of SoldNest. He holds a real estate broker's license and has over eighteen years of experience in the real estate industry. He's married to his beautiful wife, Erin, and comes from a big Italian family. His biggest weakness is his mom's homemade pasta.