Assuming you have the Agents name, Agents city, or Agents BRE Lic #, you can search online on the California Bureau of Real Estate - Public License Information site.
Here is the direct link - http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp?start=1
Now that being said, I do believe those "low information" buyers/sellers who won't invest their time or do their home need to engage a licensed REA to assist with the purchase or sale of their home.
However, if you are of average intelligence and will invest the time and research you can handle this transaction on your own. I'm in the process of FSBO now and when I attend local open houses (doing my homework) I already have a better idea of what is for sale in my neighborhood then any real estate agent I've spoken with. I am also candid with the REA letting them know that I am paying a commission and so far I haven't had any issues. One last thing. Pay the $500 to $1,000 to have an attorney draft or review the purchase agreement and to complete the disclosure documents.
But you have to understand that the Listing Agent has an obligation to the seller in my opinion buyers need an agent who can commit to being their advocate in the negotiation process. But again it is your choice as I have seen many buyers who prefer working with the listing agents for various reasons but in this market I don't think it would work in the buyers best interest
Coldwell Banker- Burlingame
The best way for you is to employ your own real estate agent who knows the market and can get information regarding a listing or even set up appointment to show you the house. This is to your benefit as your agent represent you only. Listing agents represent sellers so how can they also bargain for what is the best for you? If you need information on a particular listing, let me know. I am sure I can help you through the complicated house purchase procedures.
Suena Suen, CDPE, GRI
You've already gotten info on how to find the listing agent, although the best way is probably to google the address, but you are better off having your own representation. Interview agents/brokers till you find one who is knowledgeable, experienced, has great negotiation skills,and has time for you. Then let them do the work on setting up appts. Using the listing agent as your rep is almost never a good idea.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
Honestly, your best bet is to find an agent you trust and get along with, then have him/her do that leg work for you. We have this info at our finger tips and we can find out a whole lot more at the same time. Having your own agent to perform as a buyers agent will cost you nothing, as they are paid by the sellers broker 99.9% of the time, and your agent is obligated by ethical standards and the licensing commission to do their best to advocate for your interests.
Plus, whether you have an agent or not, the sellers are going to pay the same commission that they negotiated with their agent when they listed their home. the only question once it's listed is, where is the commission going? If a listing agent also represents you, the buyer (which requires approval of both buyer and seller here in CA) the full commission goes to them. But, if you have your own agent, that is required to work on your behalf, the listing agent splits the commission with the buyers agent AND you have a professional working for you. So, why not take advantage of that free professional help, right?
Anyway, to answer your question, Redfin wants you to use their agents and other sites like Zillow and Trulia charge agents big money for privilege of have their name, contact info and branding on their websites.
If you need help digging up information on homes, I'd be happy to help here on the Peninsula. Just contact me through my profile.
I have noticed that here on Trulia a property might have 3 agents listed next to it and there will often be one that says listing or listing agent next to one of them. This only works if the agent is registered here, if they aren't their contact info won't be available.
Try Realtor.com and see what it tells you.