Choosing the right agent

If you have ever had to buy, sell or rent a property, you’ll know that there is a wide range of agents to choose from.  When it comes to finding an agent to manage your investment property, who do you pick? Do you go for a franchise agent?  A boutique agency?  The cheapest one you can find on local agent finder?
As the landlord, the world is your oyster, but here are some things to consider when looking around.
The cost of your investment – this is something you worked hard for so it’s important you take the time to really investigate who you want to look after your property.  Cheap rates might be enticing, but how can an agency offer you cheap rates and provide top service for less money?  Do you really want to risk your property that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with someone cutting costs?
Reputation – with the internet, it’s so easy to google an agent.  If there’s something bad to be found, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be on line.  If there’s something good, even better!  They say only 1/10 who have a great experience share this with others so testimonials / good reviews are hard to come by so if your agent has them, you’re on the right track!
Skillyou might have to read between the lines here.  Think of a typical car salesman – don’t fall for the smooth talk, look for the data.  If you have an agent trying to tell you how much your house will rent for, they should have examples to back up their price.
Your point of contactthe person you’re dealing with to sign over your property.  Will they be the one actually managing your property, or, are they just the company business developer who will sign you up and hand you over to an unknown.
Communicationpretty simple this one.  When looking for a manager for my investment, I actually enquired about some properties on line to see what kind of service tenants were getting when looking for a rental.  To my surprise, only one agent emailed me back out of 5.  How will they lease a rental if they don’t respond to enquiries?
Those are the points I tend to look out for (even though I’m an agent myself, I chose an agent to manage my investment property).  Let me know if you have any other points that you look out for when choosing a real estate agent?