Now that I've been a Realtor for over 8 years in San Diego County, I have a pretty good idea what makes a good Realtor.   Buying or selling a home is not an easy thing to do no matter which side you are on.  The goal for sellers is to sell their property in the shortest amount of time for the most money.  The goal for buyers is to purchase your home at the lowest possible price with the least amount of hassles.

I always tell my clients that 20% of the Realtor's out there are exceptional, the other 80% are marginal.  There is an enormous disparity in skill, knowledge, experience, professionalism and customer service amongst Realtors.  Realtors play many roles on behalf of their clients - I'm a therapist, counselor, tour guide, marketing guru, home services directory, negotiator and facilitator.  An exceptional Realtor will make the process of buying or selling a home fluid and painless process under the best of circumstances and tolerable under the worst of circumstances.  An exceptional Realtor will help you remain objective when you become anxious about making the largest financial transaction in your life.  An exceptional Realtor can help you understand local market conditions and the differences between traditional sales, REO's and short sales.  With thousands or Real Estate agents to pick from in every community (they seem to dropping like flies now), how do you select the right person for you?
What to look for in a Realtor...

The Realtor must be Full Time, this cannot be their hobby.   Ask him/her if they work full time.  Many people sell real estate as a hobby or for supplemental income.  A seasoned agent is up to date with the current market trends, laws and homes for sale.  He/She should be working full time and should be available to you when you have any questions or concerns.   Your Realtor should be involved in every aspect of the transaction issues that may crop up and any inspections required.  By hiring a full time Realtor, you ensure that their attention and services are full time.

He/She must be market savvy.  Having a knowledgeable Realtor is an advantage to buyers and sellers.  Do not hesitate to ask for their statistics.  Where is their office located?  Are they familiar with the neighborhood that interests you?  How many homes have they bought or sold there in the last 12 months?  How many properties do they currently have under contract?  How many homes have they sold that are similar to yours?  Do they specialize in a certain price range?
He/She must have Integrity, rapport and trust.   Be sure to speak with more than one Realtor before making a decision.  You may be working with this person for months.  It is important to feel comfortable with them in every way.   A good Realtor will work tirelessly on your behalf (whether you are looking in Imperial Beach, Point Loma, Del Cerro or Carlsbad) and not stop until your home is sold or he/she hands you the key to your new home.  You will need an agent who has passion, enthusiasm and dedication, and will go the extra mile.
Your agent will need to be creative, especially when writing offers.  He/She needs to know what the banks and sellers are looking for in an offer.  In order to successfully purchase a home or get your offer accepted, you will need to paint a clear financial picture for the seller.  This excite a seller and satisfy the buyer.  

Make sure your agent is tech-savvy.  They need to be able to communicate to you any way you prefer, whether it be by email, phone, texting, tweeting, Facebook, or Linked-in.   And last but not least, an exceptional agent will have a right hand man or woman who is also licensed and can assist you if your agent is with another client.  You'll often need someone to talk to if your agent isn't available.  The assistant should have knowledge of the pertinent facts related to your transaction.