Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Clairemelhorn, Home Buyer in Redmond, OR

How to have a good long distance relationship with a real estate agent?

Asked by Clairemelhorn, Redmond, OR Sat Nov 26, 2011

I am wanting to buy a retirement home within a year. I have the money to do business. I called a couple of real estate agencies when I was in the city I want to move to and they assigned me to one of their agents. One agent, never has returned a call to me. The other one only answers me when I email him about a home I see on the internet, but doesn't seem anymore interested after that.

I have told him that I was planning to fly on a monthly basis to see homes, unless he sees something on the market that needs my attention fast, then I would come up quicker.

I am feeling neglected because of the long distance between us. Should I return to the city and start over by interviewing real estate agents in person?

Thanks. Claire

Help the community by answering this question:


Dear Claire:

There are two types of real estate agents: one type is transaction oriented; the other type is relationship oriented. In my experience in working with mature sellers and buyers, I find that these clients have the best experience when they work with an agent who is relationship oriented, especially because purchases of retirement homes are often at a lower price break than many properties, making this sale less attractive to agents who are transaction focused.

Here are a few suggestions as you seek to find a new real estate agent to work with you:

1. If you have a Realtor in your current hometown whom you like and trust, ask them for a referral to an agent in your destination city. Agents tend to refer their clients to other agents who are just like them...which means that if you like your current agent, you'll probably get a good match with one in your destination city.

2. Ask if the designation city agent is SRES certified. While this is not a requirement for finding a good agent, those agents who are SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) certified have had training in working with and understanding the needs of older persons, especially in buying and selling retirement homes.

3. Ask if the destination city agent can give you referrals to other 'mature' clients with whom they have worked. Some agents just do better with younger clients, so checking client testimonials is important.

4. Seek an agent in your destination city who is relationship focused and patient and calm in their personality, with good communication skills.

I hope these suggestions help.

Best wishes in finding your new home!

Kind Regards,

Meredith McKenzie, JD
California Broker DRE #01142186

Keller Williams Realty
1660 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

323-300-1110 - Direct
323-300-1001 - Fax
323-230-9749 - Cell
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Actually many agents have been burned at least once by buyers they don't know. If a buyer wants to see property he/she should first be pre-approved for a certain loan amount so the agent knows you are serious. You should email or fax over a copy of your preapproval letter to your agent. Once you do this you will see a big difference. If you have already done this then you just got a hold of one of the part timers that are still trying to sell real estate and work another job. If you are coming to Soc. Cal I would be glad to help. John (909) 438-7334
P.S. I answer my phone all of the time.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 27, 2011
Hi Claire - I am so sorry to hear this. Many of us advertise online, and it is so important to be able to meet the needs of someone new moving to a new area. I would Google agents in the area, read their websites/blogs and see who you feel you might have a connection with, and then contact that person. It is disappointing to me to hear this, because often times we work electronically.

If you need a referral, contact Jane Peters in Los Angeles, she is amazing!

Best wishes with your home search.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 27, 2011
Yes you need a different Realtor... I have lots of relationships long distance that sometimes will span over a year before they find something... You need an agent who cares and has good follow up.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Hi Claire,
Sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your Real Estate Agent.
In this age of Internet, email and web conferencing there is no real need to talk to an agent in person.
I work with quiet a few 'long distance' clients and have not had any issues with any of them considering I am very diligent with my communication using the various technologies that are available.
I would love to have a discussion with you about your Real Estate search and answer any questions you might have.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

David Akram
Realtor, DRE# 01891274
Century 21 All Moves
Web: http://www.DavidNewHome.com
Blog: http://blog.davidnewhome.com
Web Reference: http://www.davidnewhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011

I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. Sounds like you found a few unmotivated agents. I don't think you necessarily need to interview agents in person. You should be able to establish a relationship with one online/via phone. Since you are buying in a year, its a good idea to establish a relationship with one now so you can have an inside scoop on the market and watch the trends over the next year. A good agent should periodically send you listings that match your criteria so you will have an idea of what you can afford when the time comes.

What area of Los Angeles are you planning to move to?

I'll leave my contact information below. If you need anything please don't hesitate to call.

Brittany Walter
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
I can speak for many professional agents and brokers when I say that you just ran into a few agents that weren't motivated. It happens just like it happens in any field. Don't be disappointed. Now you can tweak your questions when you talk to new prospective agents based and turn some of that negatie experience into an awesome one!

I work with investors and cash buyers on a regular basis. However, my specialty and license are in Florida. If your search ever changes or you are open to the possibilites of retiring in Florida (Central Florida), contact me. I return phone calls! :))

Best of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Agree that you can make progress right here on Trulia - - visit Find a Pro and pick several to "intervw". Youahe enough experience to set some reasonable expectations. Make sure that you agree on a communication plan and let the agent know that you want to be released from any buyer agreement if she lets you down. Let's assume this next go around you find a keeper - when you do reward her with your loyalty and you both will be well served.

Good luck to you!
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 3, 2011
Hi Claire,

It's not necessary for you to return to the city just to find an agent. You should be able to establish a good working relationship with an agent online. Try googling agents in the area you are interested in and for the type of home you are seeking. Then email or call a few of them. Once you speak to them, you will soon get a feel for them as people and the way they work. One will stand out to you. You need to find someone you can communicate with (who answers you!) and who you like and trust. This is very important!

The agent you select should get your "wish list" and start sending you properties. Once you have enough homes to look at, then fly down and meet them.

Good luck!

Elyse Berman, PA, ABR, GRI, ePRO
Realty Associates Florida Properties
9174 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33434
Web Reference: http://www.ElyseBerman.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Wow...bummer Clairemelhorn! Any good agent would work with you making sure that you know what is on the market and when you schedule your trips to your new city, they would set up showings to accommodate your schedule. Communication is key! Be it by phone, e-mail, text, or other means.

Keep looking for that special agent. If the one's you have been referred to don't work out, find another! There are thousands of us out there...many of us are seeking clients like you!

Customer service and satisfaction are my goal!

What city are you looking to move into?

If I may be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me directly.

All the best, and Good Luck!

Kat Becker, Realtor
Prudential California Realty
(323) 819-4760
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 28, 2011
Claire: Wow I am sorry on behalf of all agents who would not treat you as such. There are many agents in the Los Angeles area and I would encourage you to interview more before committing to this relationship. What we do with buyer's is to set up a buyer interview in the office. This allows the prospective buyer and agent to narrow down needs, wants, desires in a home/neighborhood; as well as, covers the basics such as pre-approval and time commitments. We find this works well by saving the buyer time before the home search (with an agent) begins. It gives us a clear picture of your needs so you when we look at properties, we know what properties to set up showings for.
Overall, I would encourage more interviews as you deserve the best service and should not focus on "less than" service.

Connect with us for more details on how we work with buyers.

With thanks,

Renee' Kische
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 28, 2011
Thank you again, kind realtors, for your honest answers! I felt much better knowing I wasn't being unreasonable. In speaking with my husband, we discussed what could have happened. We came to the conclusion that we need to be more clearer in communicating to the realtor what our expectations would be, what our retirement budget would be.

I don't real that to run around like a tyrant, but to ask if he/she is wanting to work with us and what our game plan would be because of the out-of-state situation. If the realtor is too busy or doesn't want to be bothered, then I can see about finding one that would be willing to work with us.

Thank you again! Claire
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 27, 2011
My goodness Claire..Im very sorry to hear this.

I have clients that are not local and we keep in touch via the telephone(which I have constantly) and internet (daily). When they fly in to Los Angeles to look at property, I have cleared my day to spend with them looking at property they have already shown an interest in and I have personally gone to see myself.

Most of the documents that need to be signed, can be signed legally and safely with specially designed document software. Anything else can be sent fed-ex secured and overnight delivery.

I don't know what city you are thinking about but you only need a professional and savy agent who knows how to use the latest technology!

Dorene Slavitz
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 27, 2011
Hi Claire,

When you say you were "assigned" to these agents, it doesn't sound like you had much say in their original selection. Your willingness to revisit the area in person really isn't necessary. Why not start with a few simple phone calls. Even at the same agency, review their website and call other agents. Make it clear you are evaluating agents for a purchase, and will commit to only one. It helps any agent provide their best services when they are confident of receiving their reward in the end.

Sounds like you got two duds the first time out. I can't believe in this economy that any serious agent would bypass a good prospect (as you sound to be). Try again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Hi Claire;
I think the most important thing is to find a knowledgeable, seasoned agent who enjoys assisting buyers, and who can communicate the way YOU prefer. Email, phone, internet, text; all of them are just tools. What matters most is what makes you feel comfortable.
Beyond that, there are several factors. Some agents sell homes, and some agents work with buyers. Accredited Buyer Representatives (ABR) are especially trained to assist you, and represent you exclusively.
One agent suggested getting a referral from your local realtor. This can work, but you never know who you will be getting. I would suggest looking at the profiles of some of the agents who have answered you here, and then interview them to see in they are the right fit.
You should feel very tended too, and the experience should be a good one. I would like to apply for the job of being your Realtor.
Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) (310) 800-2954
Accredited Buyer Representative|Certified Distressed Property Expert |Pre-Foreclosure Specialist Certified
I want you to know that I appreciate any referrals from friends and associates who may be in the market to buy or sell real estate. You can count on me giving them the same high-quality service I provide to all of my clients.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Hi Claire,

Realtors, are not all created equal, just as there is a difference from one professional to another in many other industries. You would do best by connecting with an agent that focuses on client relationships and has good client service skills. You are not that far, after all. I have relocated clients from as far as New York City, with no problem.

After deciding on the Los Angeles neighborhoods that would accommodate your budget, ask your lacal Realtor to refer you to a professional he or she can trust, and who works in the neighborhood where you plan to move.

Ask that person to set you up to receive automatic notices from the local Multiple Listing Service. You will be notified when a property that fits your wants and needs comes on the market. Last, but not least, keep in touch with that person via phone or e-mail, as needed.

I'm sure you will soon find a home you will be happy with.

Kind Regards,
Pia Albanese
Prudential California Realty/ Beverly HIlls
(310)6211557 (cell)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Hi Claire,
What city do you want to move to?
I would like to help you. Please contact me at email: ludy@tarbell.com

Thank you.
Ludy Ivonina.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011

Try going to http://www.crs.com and searching for an agent in the Los Angeles area... Certified Residential Specialists are the top 4-5% of real estate professionals! They participate in 25% of real estate transactions across the country, giving you a better chance of finding a true professional realtor who will value your relationship and treat you with the attention you deserve.

Good luck in your search for a great retirement property!
Web Reference: http://www.crs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
You're not that far away, I have clients in Australia I've been keeping in contact with just fine for quite a few months now as we organize their transition to purchasing in the Hollywood Hills.

I have saved searched for them, plus they really LOVE using my web link (below) to look at homes & we message each other within the system when they see a place that sparks their interest. They also like that I'm a work-a-holic & they know I'm probably online researching at 10:30p when it's afternoon over there.

It always comes down to finding someone you click with. Feel free to Shoot me an email directly, I don't look back on this same Trulia thread for answers posted after mine.

562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Main Street Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
the most successful Realtors are the ones that can foster and maintain long term relationships with their clients. I touch bases from my clients that I helped 8 years ago! So it should not be too difficult to maintain good communication with your agent.

You need to look for an agent that:
1.- Meets your communication needs.
2.- Has YOUR best interest as first priority
3.- Has experience, knowledge, energy, and the support staff to make it happen
4.- Is accomplished (ask them for a list of their recent transactions and MLS print outs, ask them for testimonials from their recent clients)

Take the time to interview them and to make sure you are comfortable with their personality and practice... There are many of us out there that meet these criteria...

Best of luck!

Ron Escobar, MBA
Broker & General Contractor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Thank you, kind realtors, for your quick responses! This has been going on for about a month and I was feeling very rejected.

Yes, I do have the down payment money and will be receiving a pre-qual letter shortly. I will now have to find someone who is willing to communicate long distance with me. Thank you! Claire

Any tips on what I should look/expect in a real estate agent interest in my search?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
I think that depends on where you are looking in the Los Angeles area and what price range. Unfortunately, not all agents are created equal. I would be glad to assist you in looking for your home. Can you provide some specifics what you are looking for and what areas? I firmly believe follow-ups are important but at the same time the clients need to be truthful and have realistic expectations on the homes. I will be glad to discuss further.

Steven Lee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
I can apologize for the actions of my confederates, but that isn't what you are looking for:
I can say that those Agents are probably too busy; but that isn't valid either.
I CAN say that there are a lot of good agents I have met over 6+ years, and I am proud of my profession.

I would suggest that you look at the bottom right, (of most of these pages) and you will see; "FIND A VIP":
You can enter the City near L.A. that you want to live, and you can see their PROFILE, EXPERIENCE and RECOMMENDATIONS. You may e-mail them and determine if this is the right Realtor for you.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Well, join the club, Claire. Even we agents have trouble getting call backs from agents. You have just not picked the right ones, it would appear. Whether you are in town or not you can be building a relationship with an agent who can work on finding you homes to tour when you do come to town. The only thing you have to do at your end, if you are not an all-cash buyer, is provide lender verification that on what you can afford. And if you are a cash buyer, proof of funds. Other than that, whether you are in town or not should make no difference at all.
Web Reference: http://www.homejane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 26, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer