Love him or hate him – O.J. Simpson is back in the news again with the new TV miniseries about the famed The People v. O.J. Simpson trial of the ‘90s.

After seeing all the buzz about the new show, it struck me as funny that he was actually pretty savvy. He hired a stellar team to represent him during his trial – that team is now known as the “Dream Team.” Had he not hired the best legal team on the planet, things may have turned out differently.

It made me think – why don’t buyers and sellers do the same in real estate?

Establishing the best relationship with a realtor is truly free of charge. What’s the harm in talking to SEVERAL agents before making an informed decision?

The right agent can make a HUGE difference in helping you price your home, and how quickly it sells. Because they have relationships established in a given area, they are experts at finding needles in haystacks, so to speak.  Not only that, but a botched transaction can leave all parties out in the cold with nowhere to call home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 70 percent of all buyers work with the FIRST AGENT they come into contact with! To me, this is dangerous. Why? Because the typical real estate agent does not sell many homes.  With so many agents who are not working in the industry full time, it would be beneficial to sellers and buyers to interview potential agents before diving into a serious relationship with them. After all, this is a huge financial transaction that can drastically change your life.

Many times, people get dazzled by fancy presentations that can be given by both seasoned agents, and relatively inexperienced agents. Most agents work similarly to an independent contractor who are paid by commission based on home sales. Some sell more than others, which means their experience levels can vary greatly.

If you do choose to work with a newer agent, find out if they are being mentored and if that mentor will be assisting throughout the transaction so you can feel comfortable that nothing is overlooked. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how many listings the agent has, how many homes they have sold in your area, how often they will communicate with you – and in what format – and who they represent in the transaction.

Read online reviews, if their past clients have written any. Look at Zillow and Trulia and see what a quick google search brings up. If an agent is working full time on building their real estate business, they would be happy to provide references of past clients.

Interview multiple agents and find the one that fits your personality and takes the time to really understand your needs/wants/concerns during the process.  If you’re a seller, ask how the agent will market your home, who the target buyer is and how he will get your home in front of those preferred buyers. If you’re a buyer, ask how often the agent will send you listings and whether he has worked with other buyers in your situation. A transaction involving a Federal Housing Association or VA loan, for example, includes some steps that aren't required for a conventional loan. Some buyers may want to sign a buyer-broker agreement, agreeing to pay a share of the commission if the agent shows them homes where the seller won’t pay a commission, such as for-sale-by-owner houses or new construction properties.

The best agent is the one who will do the most effective job of marketing the property, negotiating the most favorable terms and conditions, and communicating with the seller to make the process as smooth as possible.

Whether selling your home or buying a home, you owe it to yourself and to your financial future to build your “dream team.”