Real estate brokers can be found practically anywhere these days, whether on the internet through Google and Facebook, on billboards and radio commercials, or through recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors.
With so many alternatives, finding a realtor might be difficult. Most individuals, we believe, should stick to services that make finding reputable local real estate agents quick and uncomplicated.
The top three methods for locating a real estate agency
Agent matching services: After learning more about your specific needs as a house seller or buyer, these companies pre-screen area agents. Because they do all the work for you (and they’re free), this is the simplest and quickest approach to locate a reputable realtor. Some, such as Clever Real Estate, even save sellers and buyers money on commissions.
Personal referrals: Family and friends can be a reliable source of referrals, but you should thoroughly investigate each agent’s expertise and qualifications. Even if tulum mexico real estate for sale highly recommended, an agent who isn’t nearby or doesn’t have the knowledge you require is a poor pick.
You can meet with local brokers without making an appointment during open houses, but there’s no assurance that you’ll find a good match – and you might be wasting your important weekend time.
There are a variety of additional approaches for finding the perfect real estate agent, some of which are more effective than others. Our guide covers all of them and will assist you in determining the best technique for you.
Check out our guide on how to choose a realtor for further in-depth information once you’ve built a shortlist of outstanding possibilities to choose from.
What to look for while looking for a realtor
In large markets, we spoke with a number of top-producing real estate brokers. When it comes to finding a decent realtor, they recommend focusing on the following factors.
Sales history: It’s critical to have a lot of experience in sales. The greatest agents, according to experts, close between 12 and 50 deals per year and have at least 3 years of full-time real estate experience.
Agents with a high volume of transactions (50+ per year) or years of experience (5+ years) aren’t always the ideal choice for you; they may be too busy to assist you or deliver poor service.
Local knowledge: Look for agents that have worked in and near your zip code for at least three years.
Knowledgeable agents know how to best advertise your house to buyers and get it sold for the best price, or they may give you with crucial local knowledge to help you make a better decision.
Price ranges: Find out if the agent has worked with buyers or sellers in your price range before, as this suggests that they are familiar with your market. If you’re a first-time home buyer, for example, you wouldn’t want to engage with an agent that specializes in luxury sales.
Bad customer reviews: While positive customer reviews are beneficial, negative customer reviews might help you screen out bad or unskilled personnel. A large number of negative reviews could be a red signal and a sign to avoid an agent. On real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia, look for a pattern of unfavorable comments.
Where can sellers locate a real estate agent?
A good listing agent will assist you in preparing your house for sale, pricing it correctly, marketing it to potential purchasers, and negotiating favorable contract conditions on your behalf.
We recommend interviewing 2-3 listing agents at least three months before your goal list date. That should give you plenty of time to weigh your alternatives, prepare your home for sale, and advertise it.
Here are the three most effective ways for sellers to discover a realtor.
1. Matching services for agents
Agent matching services are the quickest and most convenient method to connect with a knowledgeable real estate agent. After learning about your needs, the better ones offer 2-3 pre-vetted agents.
While you won’t be able to deal with any agent you choose (selection is limited to agents in each company’s network), the best brands still provide a lot of options and only work with highly rated agents.
Agent matching services, unlike other methods of finding a realtor, may provide built–in commission savings, potentially saving you thousands on your home transaction.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile to begin your search here. The potential cost reductions are too good to pass up. Agent matching services are completely free, and there is no commitment to deal with any recommended agent.
Clever Real Estate, for example, negotiates a $3,000 or 1% listing commission rate with agents (rather than the standard 2.5-3%), possibly saving you thousands of dollars in realtor commissions.
All agent matching services are not created equal.
Some agent matching services fall short of the mark in terms of quality and value since they don’t thoroughly evaluate the agents who join their network and don’t offer multiple agent matches.
FastExpert, for example, has no prerequisites for agents who want to join their network, but Ideal Agent exclusively matches customers with one agent at a time, preventing comparison shopping.
Leading services, such as Clever, help you save money, provide several matches so you can evaluate possibilities, and ensure you’re connected with just the best local agents.
Agent matching services of the highest quality
Real Estate Expertise
When compared to other top agent matching services, Clever provides the best value to customers.
The company pre-negotiates a fixed charge with listing agents, so instead of paying the customary 2.5–3 percent, you only pay the agent $3,000 or 1% to sell your home.
Clever also links you with a number of agents, allowing you to interview them all and choose the one you like most.
2. Personal recommendations
Referrals are helpful, but don’t take them without first completing your homework. Even if you believe the individual who referred you to the agent, do some research on the agent’s experience and understanding of the area before proceeding.
Because the referral comes from someone who cares about you (and wouldn’t recommend a realtor they didn’t like), family and friends are a reliable and trustworthy referral source.
However, there are a several reasons why referrals aren’t the most reliable way to discover an agent.
Why personal recommendations aren’t foolproof
To even consider it, you must know someone who has just sold a similar home in your region.
It’s difficult to tell if the agent will be a suitable fit for your specific requirements.
You should thoroughly investigate the agent’s background, sales history, and online reviews.
The agent is unlikely to provide you a discount, as they would if you met them through an agent matching service.
If the agent is a family member or a friend, things could get unpleasant. Keep your relationship professional and hire someone you’d be willing to fire if they don’t match your expectations.
Bottom line: We don’t advocate partnering with a listing agent simply because they aided a family member or friend.
To make an informed decision, properly assess and compare referred agents with at least a few other agents from different sources.
When someone suggests a listing agent, these are seven questions to ask.
When did you first start working with them? Because the real estate market is always changing, the timing of the home sale is important (a home sale from 12 months ago is probably irrelevant in the present market).
Is the agent able to sell your home for the price you want? Only visit with agents who have sold homes in your price range before, as they will know how to best advertise and sell your house.
How quickly did you sell your home? To understand more about the agent’s performance, inquire about if the home sold within their desired timeline or whether it took longer than expected (and why).
What is your impression of the agent’s communication and responsiveness? You want a responsive agent who communicates with you on a regular basis.
Were they straightforward to work with? Check to see if the agent was upbeat and easy to talk to, or if they were aloof. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do want an agent who is approachable and personable (and not just in it for the commission check).
What kind of services did the agency offer? Find out what services the agent included in their listing package (pictures, video, online promotion, etc.) and whether they offered any extras like staging, a 3D tour, or open houses.
What did they charge you? The listing commission rate (about 2.5–3 percent of the ultimate sale price) may assist you assess if the agent is charging a fair amount.
3. Attend an open house
Attending an open house to find a listing agent requires more time and effort than other techniques, and there are no assurances of a successful match.
The advantages include the ability to meet with local agents without making an appointment by simply showing up at a scheduled open house in your neighborhood, where you can assess the agent’s market expertise and communication abilities.
There’s also very little danger (other than potentially wasting an hour or so of your time). If it’s not a good fit, you can talk to the agent, exchange contact information, and set up a follow-up visit, or simply walk away.
Who are you scheduled to meet with?
The main issue with seeing a listing agent during an open house is that you have no way of knowing whether you’ll be meeting with an experienced agent or a beginner, or if the agent will be a good fit for you.
Keep in mind that the agent holding the open house isn’t always the listed agent for the property (it could be another agent in their office helping them out). So, before going to the open house, find out who’s hosting it and do some research on that agent.
Bottom line: While open houses are a convenient way to meet local realtors, they are generally a hit-or-miss method of finding a realtor to sell your home.
Where to look for and meet open house agents
Here’s what you should do next if you want to try an open house.
Before the weekend, go through Zillow listings to see what open houses are scheduled in your region (you can also drive around looking for open house signs, but this method is much faster and easier).
Click on properties for sale on Zillow’s main page, then “more” and “must have open house.”
The time and date of the open house, as well as the name of the real estate broker, are listed beneath the home’s listing description.
When you arrive at the appointed time, an agent from the listing firm should be waiting to give you with information on the home and the local real estate market.
Inquire about the agent’s experience and talents, as well as any queries you may have regarding selling your house or the local market.
Pro tip: While the open house agent is there to show potential buyers through the house, a skilled agent will also educate you on the local market and offer you with a list of nearby properties for sale.
If the agent can demonstrate that they are a neighborhood expert and that they assist sellers in your region, it may be worth exchanging information and scheduling a follow-up interview.
Where can buyers find a real estate agent?
In a competitive seller’s market, a qualified real estate agent is vital to locating and winning the home of your desires.
Given how quickly properties fly off the shelves in most big markets, finding a real estate agent who is prompt and willing to show you homes at any hour of the day is critical.
The following tasks are performed by buyer’s agents:
Send you available homes through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is a database where all real estate agents and brokers can list their properties.
Home showings should be scheduled and coordinated.
Submit offers on your behalf and negotiate price and contract terms.
To assist you with your purchase, we can refer you to inspectors, contractors, and appraisers.
Assist you with reading contracts and signing documents.
To close on time, meet all contract deadlines.
Because you may not need to commit to an agent to begin touring homes, finding and comparing buyer’s agents is easier than finding and comparing listing agents.
Unlike listing agents, who typically demand a signed listing agreement before representing you, some buyer’s agents do not require you to sign a contract until you’re ready to make an offer (however, the laws vary by state).
Here’s how to choose the right real estate agent for your home purchase.
1. Matching services for agents
Our preferred method is to use an agent matching service, which can rapidly connect you with pre-screened local agents who specialize in assisting purchasers.
Some organizations, such as Clever Real Estate, provide buyers built-in commission savings that you won’t get through other ways.
Agent matching services are also a good option for purchasers who need to see houses right away – you’ll receive agent matches within a few hours of signing up and confirming your information.
Clever Cash Back is a program where you can earn a check for up to 0.5 percent of the final sale price back after closing on a qualifying home purchase.
Be ready for these 5 questions from a buyer’s agent.
1. Do you need to sell your house first, or do you have a lease that is about to expire?
2. Do you have a deadline for closing on a home?
3. Have you talked to a lender or gotten a pre-approval letter yet?
4. Do you require a detailed breakdown of all the expenditures associated with purchasing a home?
5. What areas and types of homes pique your attention the most?
2. Lender recommendations
Lenders are a reliable source of referrals. Lenders, like realtors, only get paid if you close on a home, so they’re unlikely to advise you to an agent they don’t know.
Another advantage: Realtors and lenders have most certainly established strong, open channels of communication, which can make the home-buying process go more smoothly.
You must, however, thoroughly vet the referred agent. Some lenders, on the other hand, may be more concerned with preserving a business relationship with an agent than with looking out for your best interests.
Another disadvantage is that, unlike agent matching systems, lender recommendations are unlikely to save you money on commissions.
5 questions to ask a lender who refers you to another loan
1. Have you been working with the realtor for a long time?
2. How did you meet and form a working connection with the agent?
3. How does your working connection with the real estate agent benefit home buyers?
4. Have you ever recommended or hired this realtor to a family member or friend?
5. Do you have any recommendations I may contact?
3. Conduct an internet search
Agent search features on popular real estate websites like Zillow and Realtor.com allow you to seek up agents by city or ZIP code, but we don’t advocate using them to locate a realtor.
Although agent finder programs appear to make it simple to locate local agents, they actually make it more difficult:
There are thousands of agents to select from, so finding even a few appropriate possibilities might take hours.
Because online real estate platforms, such as Zillow Premier Agents, tend to favor agents who pay to promote, the rankings don’t always reflect which agents are the best.
Even if you locate agents, you’ll have to sift through them all and carefully vet each one before hiring them (an agent matching service does this for you).
Agent matching services vs. agent discovery tools
Agent matching services that are good focus on quality control while still allowing you to pick the finest agent for your needs.
Agent finder tools on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, on the other hand, offer favor to agents who buy customer leads, so you can’t be sure the agents you meet through these tools will be a good fit.
Always keep your contact information safe!
Find the real estate agent’s personal phone number or email address on the page and contact them directly to prevent a flood of emails and phone calls.
Your contact information may be shared with mortgage lenders, brokers, and other related organizations who pay to market on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com if you contact agents through these sites.
On these sites, never click links like “Book a tour” or “Get an agent” because you’ll most likely be connected with the first available agent at random, and you’ll have no influence over who you meet. They are unlikely to be the most experienced agent.
When looking for agents, stay away from Zillow, Realtor, and Google.
Agents who pay to advertise are given priority by Zillow.
Agents that pay to market themselves on Zillow get priority in Zillow’s agent finder.
The top of the results page displays the Zillow Premier agents with the most reviews, transactions, or a combination of the two.
This emphasis on quantity does not provide any qualitative information about the agent’s personality. For example, just because an agency has 600 reviews doesn’t mean they’re all positive.
Before you view non-Premier agents, you may have to navigate through several pages of results.
Zillow is also known for having inaccurate information. For example, a listing agent’s information in the agent finder search results may indicate that they had 20 sales in the last 12 months, but if you click on their entire profile, you’ll realize that they have no active listings.
As a result, while vetting an agent, it’s advised not to depend on Zillow’s statistics.
2. Using a realtor can be both restricting and overwhelming.
The Find a REALTOR function on Realtor.com can help you find local REALTORS, but it excludes agents who aren’t members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which means you’re missing out on hundreds, if not thousands, of potential candidates.
The tool rates agents based on factors such as years of experience, number of recent sales, and active listings.
Those indicators are useful, but they don’t tell the whole story – like what actual customers have to say about the agent or where they do the majority of their business – unless you’re ready to go deeper.
If you’re utilizing Realtor’s search engine, you may need to start by searching by ZIP code and then selecting a few agents based on your own criteria before learning more about them.
3. Advertisement is paid for by Google agents.
When you perform a local realtor search, you’ll undoubtedly discover a list of agents who have been “Google screened.”
These agents advertise on Google for a fee. “Google vetted” just indicates that Google has checked to see if the agent is currently licensed to sell real estate.
Don’t rely on Google to locate the best realtor for you because the agents haven’t been vetted on important variables like customer reviews, transaction volume, or skill.
When looking for agents, you’ll mostly certainly come across business listings. This only indicates that the agent or their broker has created a Google profile, not that they are the top agent in your region.
Before contacting an agent, do your homework and keep an eye out for negative customer reviews.
To delve deeper, you can use transaction data from Realtor.com.
We recommend visiting Realtor.com to learn more about how much money comparable properties in your region are selling for because it has more up-to-date transaction data than Zillow.
This could also be an excellent method to come up with the names of 3–4 agents to interview. At the very least, you’ll know that they’ve all worked in the appropriate area and for the proper fee. Here’s how you can look up those names:
Click “Just sold” above the search bar on the Realtor.com home page, then search by city or ZIP code.
Use the criteria to narrow down the results to homes that have the attributes you’re looking for in a property to buy or sell.
For matching results, you’ll see sold prices. To check if the agent represented the buyer or seller, click on the individual listings.
7 other methods for locating a real estate agent
1. Go to a brokerage firm’s office.
Physical offices are still used by most major real estate brokerages, such as Remax and Century 21.
Real estate agents, who generally have to advertise and sell themselves aggressively to obtain new clients, welcome walk-ins.
But, like a blind date, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. You might be meeting with an unlicensed assistant or a brand-new agent. Top-producing agents are frequently on the road, assisting clients or drafting contracts.
If you go to a brokerage, ask for the business cards of several top agents, vet each one online, and then schedule visits with those that seem like a good fit.
2. Discussion forums or bulletin boards on the internet
Local residents can give you with realtor suggestions through online forums and message boards such as Nextdoor and Front Porch Forum.
However, there’s no assurance that you’ll find a good match, and you have no way of knowing who is providing the referral (it could be someone just trying to help out a a family member or friend).
3. Merchandise signs
If you want to sell a house, you can phone the number indicated on properties for sale in your region, which connects you with the listing agent for each home.
Finding agents through for sale signs, on the other hand, only works if the home is in your neighborhood and in a similar price range to yours, and you must still thoroughly vet each agent.
4. Ads in your neighborhood
Some of the top agents in your market spend a lot of money to have their face and phone number plastered all over town on television, radio, and billboards.
There’s no harm in contacting me and making an appointment. However, you must thoroughly vet and research each agent before doing so; just because an agent advertises does not indicate they are a good fit for you.
Credit unions are number five.
Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions that frequently offer home financing and other loan products to their members.
Your local credit union might have teamed up with a real estate agency to assist you with your house search (or sale), including locating a local agent.
To be eligible, you must be a member of a local credit union, and most have stringent prerequisites. There’s no assurance of a match, either (we recommend vetting each agent carefully).
6. Use of social media
By Googling popular realtor hashtags on social media networks like Facebook and Instagram, you may find real estate agents. To attract buyers and acquire new business, realtors prefer to publish images of current listings.
For example, searching for “#SummervilleRealtors” on Instagram gives 100+ recent posts and dozens of local real estate agent accounts.
While social media is a good way to rapidly assess an agent’s marketing abilities, it isn’t the best approach to locate a realtor. Because the agent’s social media posts contain no information about their experience or track record, you’ll have to do your own due diligence.
7. The NAR’s search engine
You can hunt up licensed realtors using the National Association of Realtors (NAR) search tool, but it’s arguably the worst way to do so.
The NAR’s search tool is outdated, and the results contain no information about the realtor’s experience or sales history, making it impossible to compare brokers.
Instead, we advocate researching and evaluating agents elsewhere, then using the tool to look up a realtor’s contact information, professional qualifications, and any official complaints they’ve received.