How do you select a Realtor to represent your needs?

While I would certainly love to earn your business, I am trying to get a consensus of how prospective buyers decide on a Realtor to represent them?  Do you:

- Call the name flyer on the first sign you see?
- Go with a Realtor recommended by a friend or family?
- Search the internet using one of the various search engines?
- Select from a advertisement?

Or, do you:

- Ask for past clients you can contact?
- Interview the Realtor?

There are many Realtors out there these days.  Many are great Realtors, but how do you decide when making the decision as to who will best respresent you in the search for your new home?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
  • December 29 2008 - Clarksville
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

Answers (31)

Profile picture for CubsfaninWA
Well for me, it was a referal from USAA.  The first realtor they gave me did not mesh well with my interests so I contact USAA and they were able to get me a realtor that seems to work with me alot better.  A referal from a company, like USAA, that is going to pay me money to use that realtor, and you still can fire the one they assign to you work out pretty good for me, come talk to me in March and I may say that the realtor sucked but as of right now he's doing a good job
  • December 29 2008
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Thanks much for your comments.  I am sure that your agent will take care of your needs. 
  • December 29 2008
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I get most of my Buyers from past clients over the last 20 years, from friends and from Brothers of the Masonic or Shriners organization that I'm a member of.  I get a few from open houses or buyers that call Prudential Fox&Roach due to our advertising and reputation.  And I get a few from mailings I send out to Apartument houses. Bill Graves

  • December 29 2008
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Profile picture for jal74
I don't.  REA's are salespersons.  The day the "profession" decides to clean up its act, maybe.  But until they start acting like a profession, I will avoid.

Kind Regards
  • December 30 2008
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Profile picture for klarek the realist
Since I do all my own comp research, I only need an agent to open the door and fax my offer.  So I pick the agent that is willing to kick back a large portion of the commission.  Right now I have one that is going to give me 2/3 back.
  • December 30 2008
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There are many factors to consider when selecting a realtor. Ask for a client list and how long they have been in the business.
  • December 30 2008
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I trust my gut. I look for an agent with specific market knowledge. I want no lies. If an agent doesn't know an answer offhand, I would rather hear "I don't know, but I'll check into it" than a generality or misstatement. I expect an agent to be well read in real estate, have a belief that real estate can be used as a tool for investment like I do and be willing to accept no as an answer. I appreciate a good working personality, but would never trade this for market insight.
  • December 30 2008
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Hi David-

This is Gracey from Zillow.

Please refrain from providing your contact details on your comments. The users can go to your profile page to view your information. Please abide by the Good Neighbor Policy (http://www.zillow.com/how ... olicy.htm) in the future.

Thanks for your understanding.

  • December 30 2008
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Ask for referral's from friends, family, co-workers. Interview several agents and make sure they have the knowledge you are looking for and are a good fit personality wise.
  • December 30 2008
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When selecting a qualified Realtor, the first step is to build a profile for your ideal property because you need to use that profile to pick the right Realtor with applicable experience.  This step is key to finding the right professional to represent you in your next home purchase. 

Determine the neighborhoods or geographic locations where you would ideally buy, as well as your price range (this may require speaking to a mortgage broker and getting pre-qualified), square footage, bedrooms, garage spaces, etc.  It is important to have this information ready for your new Realtor but moreover, determining these paramaters helps you to actually locate properties online and in turn the right Agent.
 
Once you have a profile and some subject properties, now is the time to find an Agent and start viewing properties.  To find the best agent, you want one that is active in your profile neighborhoods and price ranges.  To do this, you should be familiar with the Realtors past sales and current listings.  I found a useful website called <A HREF="http://www.realestatespace.com">RealEstateSpace.com</A> for matching your property profile with experienced local real estate agents based on their transactional experience.  I suggest trying it out before you go with a referral from a friend.  While hiring a trustworthy agent is important, hiring a trustworthy local expert is even better!  You need someone who has their finger on local market's pulse.

  • January 09 2009
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[content removed by moderator for being self promotional]
  • January 09 2009
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I tend to stay away from the ones who have cheesy head shots...or the team photo ones...
  • January 09 2009
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I use myself, because I am licensed and cheesy.
  • January 09 2009
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^^at least your honest!
  • January 10 2009
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Profile picture for jimmy57
One might just as well ask "how do I a choose a car salesman who will get me the very best deal possible?"

Buyers should grow up and take responsibility for their own RE dealings to the greatest extent possible -- and when RE agents must be involved, keep them at arm's length.  One might go so far as showing common courtesy, but putting trust in a commissioned salesman is foolhardy.  Remember: most any Realtor would have happily sold you an overpriced house in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, etc., and not lost one night's sleep over your loses.  The goal of a house salesman remains the same, good times or bad.
  • January 10 2009
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Your best option is to contact friends that live in the area where you want to live and ask them for referrals.  One name will come up over and over...call that Agent for an interview.  There are lots of lists of questions online to ask a Buyer's Agent.  After interviewing that Agent, call two others that were mentioned.  Between the three, you will have a connection with one and feel comfortable beginning your search.

P.S. Make sure whomever you choose is actually a Realtor* and a member in good standing of the local Board of Realtors.
  • January 12 2009
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Profile picture for aapostrophe
well, lately i've been visiting the local Burger King to see who flips the better burger. 
  • January 15 2009
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Profile picture for SanIdaho
Most Real estate agents are self-serving, and out to make a buck.  Because of that, I seek out an individual who has a documented record of community involvement, and sacrificial community service.  It has served me well over the years.
  • January 15 2009
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Tim,

The best real estate agent for you is the one who specializes in what you need.

If you're a buyer, use an exclusive buyer's agent.  You can find them at NAEBA.com.  Exclusive Buyer Agents only work with homebuyers, so there won't be any conflicts of interests and they'll give you all of the information about any neighborhood; the good and the bad.

If your selling a home, find an agent with the most for sale signs in the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods.  These agents really know their "farm" area and specialize in selling that area.  They also will network the area and market it best.

Good luck!
  • January 15 2009
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Profile picture for jal74
How do select a used house salesperson?  Hmm...tough question

I chose not too.  Hope that helps
  • January 15 2009
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
First, I only consider people I know, or those that have been strongly recommended by close friends; Second, they need to have been helpful to me in some way on an issue of my concern, not something they made up themselves or got from some book or seminar.

Third, if they post a question like the one above on a public website, they immediately get crossed off of the list.

You might say it is a weighted average system, just like is used in the selection of a home to be purchased.  A discussion post or question like the beginning of this thread is worth negative 3000 points.  A post like David Tapper's is worth negative 6000 points.  A typical AzRob type post is worth at least 100 points each.

As you can see, those that start off on the wrong footing will have to work extremely hard to compensate and be considered anything but an annoyance.  They remind me of those telemarketers that are always interupting what I'm doing and asking stupid questions about my health in order to try to convince me to let them in my house for a "quote" at 40 times the price that I would do the work, so that they can case the joint to vandalize and rob it, whom I just say to "you have the wrong number" and then hang up.


  • January 15 2009
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When you are BUYING, definately interview a number of agents. You want someone you click with, someone who is sharp and on top of the local real estate market, and who also is familiar with building codes and any other relevant info. And someone who doesn't pretend to know it all, but who is not afraid to work on your behalf and do the due dilligence! All realtors are NOT the same, and it's true that 5 percent of the realtors make 95 percent of the sales!

When SELLING, I always suggest that potential Sellers go online and see which agent markets the property best. Are they on all the major websites? Do they offer a lot of good photos, and virtual tours? Do they take care to put in a good description? When 85 percent of buyers are looking online for houses, a Seller has to make sure they will be represented well online.

That's my two cents, hope it helps!
  • January 28 2009
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Fortunately for either buyers or sellers, there are LOTS of choices.  Even in today's tough market.

While there are plenty of criteria one could use to select the real estate agent they choose to work with, here is one idea for both buyers and sellers to consider when trying to find a good real estate agent:

Buyer's Agent - A good buyer's agent will NEVER take you see a house that doesn't fit your criteria.  They should do their homework ahead of time so as to not waster yours.  Sure, every once in a while you'll just end up driving around looking at houses randomly, but that should be the exception and not the rule.

Seller's Agent - A good seller's agent will understand the power of the Internet.  Since roughly 80+% of all real estate searches begin online, it's critical to getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar that you work with someone that knows how to harness the power of the Internet in order to get your home the maximum exposure possible.
  • January 28 2009
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I plan on choosing the agent that lies to me the best.  They will be the one that convinces me that "30% down from the peak is a gift" and that "there is no crystal ball to tell how much further it can go."  So, together with "today's low mortgage rates," I can lock myself into a depreciating house and lose all my downpayment, "instead of paying my landlord's mortgage."

  • January 28 2009
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If you want to find a Realtor that you know has the experience you need, you should locate one by referral.  If you have no one in your circle of friends or family in the area that can recommend someone who is a top selling or listing agent, try a free referral service.  They have the connections to find the best Realtors in the local offices and you will not have to rely on a sales pitch or guesswork.

Good Luck and Best Wishes

[content removed by moderator for being self promotional]

  • April 24 2009
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I think you should call me when you're ready to buy.
  • April 28 2009
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Profile picture for dacolan
Let's try this again.

For an informed consumer capable of doing their own due diligence, I would like to hear what advantage a REA has over paying a flat fee to a real estate attorney.
  • April 28 2009
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Profile picture for uniquebogus
Hi Tim, I found you on Craigslist! Your ad gave me hope, I'm going to email you. If you can help me, you can help ANYBODY!! 
  • December 12 2009
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Great question. I have often had the same question. I now part of my clsing packet ask my clients past and current to fill out a short survey of what there expectations were from begining middle to close and if I met of exceeded them and what if anything I could do better and what were good and bad about there experience.

I have found most people
go with there gut, and ask firends and family word of mouth is a big deal if. and also I think they expect someone who is knowledgable about not only there market. but our customers want someone to really listen to there needs and concerns and make sure that is the priority not the sale
  • December 13 2009
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Consider finding an agent who is a CNE designee. This means they went through formal negotiations training and are amoung the 1% of agents that can call themselves a certified negotiations expert. Sure you may find someone who is a better negotiatior that is not a CNE but at least if you find an agent that is a CNE, you know you at least have one who is trained to get you the best outcome. You are much better off getting a qualified negotiator to represent you than you are getting an agent that will kick you back some of the commish and simply fax over your offer. More often than not, you save more with good negotiation than you would with the kickback.

Another thing to consider is HOW the agent is compensated. The traditional method of compensating a buyers agent is BROKEN. Your buyer's agent typically is paid on a percentage of the sales price. This means that the more you spend, the more that agent makes. Even though the difference may be marginal to the agent, the client's interests are compromised because they make more if you spend more. You might consider asking if your buyers agent has an alternative commission plan such as a "pay by performance" plan. In these cases the agent's pay is usually a base amount and increases based on how much they are able to negotiate off the purchase price. IE, if the agent negotiates $15k off your price, they get more than if they negotiate $5k off your price. This provides more incentive for the agent to perform at a higher level, save you the most money (usually more than kickback agents) and it better aligns the agent's incentive to the best interests of the buyer. Ask the agents you interview about "pay by performance" compensation plans.
  • December 20 2009
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