Feel free to contact me with any questions.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
There are many large and small Broker offices in each of the city you have listed. While you have received some great suggestions below, choosing the right agent would be your decision. You can interview some agents from this forum, to find the right kind of person you can work with. This will be a good starting point. Otherwise you can call some of the Broker offices in any of these cities to get started.
Generally speaking I think it is a good time to buy a home in the cities you have listed above. When I give an advice to my clients, I reflect upon it myself and ask myself a question "if I was in the same situation, would I do it". If I were you, I would consider it a good time to buy.
Good luck with your home search, please allow us to be of your help.
Coldwell Banker, Saratoga
I like the name, Should I Buy... it's always good to review if buying is the right decision for you. You have received several great responses from other agents here on Trulia.
References on Yelp, Trulia, friends, family, are all good places to start. The department of real estate http://www.dre.ca.gov will allow you check the type of license, how long, and if they have any complaints.
I have a long list of items to help you make a decision but it is too long to put here. If you haven't found your agent yet, I invite you to contact me and come into my office for a free 45 minute consultation where you walk away with an 80 page book on buying your home.
All the best to you.
1) The paperwork involved in this process is extremely complicated, having stated this It is important that a Realtor be â€œpracticed at our tradeâ€ pick a RealtorÂ® which has completed 15+ transactions the previous year
2) Interview 3-5 full time RealtorsÂ® (very few part-time agents have the same skills as a person who works Real Estate on a full time basis)
3) Do a basic back ground check on your Realtor use a site like PIPL or just goggle their name, this usually turns up items such as lawsuits, bankruptcies or other items which you feel might interfere or conflict with a RealtorÂ® representing your best interest. ps: this does not work for a John Smith
4) Once you have interviewed your potential RealtorsÂ® and if you are still unsure and want a â€œtrail runâ€ sign an exclusive buyers agency for 48 hours with the RealtorÂ® and explain if all goes well in the beginning then you will be willing to commit for 3 months.
5) Work with a RealtorÂ® which is local to your area. Meaning a 10-20 mile radius, they will know the schools, shopping and the growth potential of the area without having to go look it up!
Before you even start this process consider purchasing the book by Dave Ramsey â€œThe Total Money Makeoverâ€ this will provide valuable information in regard to having a successful financial life & make a prudent home purchase!
Thatâ€™s your list! Good Luck!
Another thing to look for is ABR (Accredited Buyers Represented) designation. That is Realtor that has completed extra education and experience to represent buyers. http://www.rebac.net will provide a list of agents in your area. The other designation I would look for is the QSC (Quality Service Certified) http://qualityservice.org/ those agents guaranty their service in writing.
Pick three you like with good recommendation and then interview them to match your personality.
*Ethics, a straight-shooter
*A good people person, I am going to spend time seeing houses with them, I want to have a personality fit with them. I cannot feel annoyed all the time by them
*Technologically a good fit. If I text, I want them to text. If I prefer emails and PDFs to phone calls, will they shift and rely on the technology I like? Or do they only want to meet in person when I'd rather be electronically focused? Look for a good fit of how you work to how they work, and a good fit of availability to your availabilities
*Quality background, check on the background and review references
*A good track record or history where I want to buy houses
Those are the main things I like in a good agent. I have excellent background in Cupertino and Saratoga, and while I grew up in Palo Alto, I rarely sell there in the present. I like Dawn Thomas Team (based in Los Altos) for the Palo Alto area.
Finally I would not recommend "switching to the listing agent," as with your own agent, you can focus on what you need, and get immediate REAL TIME updates on the communities you seek. For instance, one of my clients likes one particular neighborhood. I have been recommending she veer clear of short sales. But she likes only this ONE particular quadrant of the world (in San Jose). So when a short sale listing came on the market, in this one small group of streets, I checked with the listing agent, found out he has good experience and there is only one lender, and got her in within 24 hours so she could write a timely offer. I was watching out for her interests specifically...When you align with one agent and work hard with them, they should work hard for you back.
Usually one can find an agent "By referral" from friends, colleagues etc....I know, as i do 90% of my business that way and it is a good way to be! There is no real list in one place of all realtors.....as there are so many different companies too, big and small......If you go on Trulia, you can do an agent search in the area/s you are looking for. I live and work in Cupertino, and serve all the areas you need above. I can also provide you with present and past client referrences so you can speak with them. It is good to set a time and meet with a Realtor, so that you can have a candid conversation, and get comfortable with the person you work with. Then make a choice to move forward. Do let me know if you would like to make an appointment to meet and talk trough the "Process of Purchase" and we can take it from there! Do also check out my website.
Wishing you all the Best, always,
Trulia is a good source of finding good agents. You can review the responses Realtors have posted and get some idea. Best would be to meet and interview with one, like myself. Once you feel comfortable with the Realtor you are working with move forward. Afterall this is one of the biggest purchase you will make, you want to work with someone who gives you sound and honest advice.
I live and work in Cupertino, will be happy to meet with you to discuss further.
Here are a few suggestions for finding a list of experienced realtors and reviews.
1. Trulia has a list of local experts--click on "Find a Pro." Check out their websites, testimonials, and recommendations.
2. Visit a reputable (such as Intero Real Estate Services) real estate company's website and request recommendation from their Relocation/Client Services department. These companies keep a list of agents whose services they deem superior. You can't go wrong with their recommendation.
3. Talk to a manager of a reputable brokerage firm and ask him/her to recommend an ideal agent for you.
You should definitely interview a few agents before deciding on one. Purchasing a home may likely be your largest investment, so you should hire a realtor who can genuinely protect your interests and help you make the best possible decisions, communicate clearly, and effectively negotiate on your behalf.
Let us know how we can help,
Jeff and Lana Strickland
If you don't like what you see. Surf the Internet for some local brokers and work directly with them or ask them to give you the contact info of one of their trusted agents. Whatever you do just maintain control of your deal. Don't let the broker/agent control you.
You should also consider looking on a web-site called http://www.qualityservice.org/. Agents on that site guaranty their service in writing and any reviews are not controlled by them so they are completely honest.
Another thing you should look for is a ABR agent at http://www.rebac.net . Those agents are certified to look out for the buyer with added experience and education.
And do interview several - it is as tough to evaluate an agent in a vacuum as it is a house ;-)
Good luck to you!
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
Personally, I agree with my pal, Nina D, from Coldwell Banker, that you might start first by asking your friends and neighbors for their Realtor recommendations. Personal referral will provide you with a list of agents that you can contact to help you find a home. Second, as my other pal, Allysson pointed out, use the resources here on Trulia to find a great Realtor. You can get a list by using Trulia's search features, and then you can read the information (blogs, answers to questions) that the Realtors have written to get a better feel for the Realtor's knowledge level and personal style.
Once you've culled that list down to a manageable 1/2 dozen or so, then it's time to make phone calls and speak to live agents. Finally, meet with the top three agents, and ask for referrals. This should help you find a great agent that will work well with you, comes recommended, and meets your personal style.
Also, remember there are now many different "types" of agents from which to choose including full service buyer's agents and discount or rebate buyers agents. So you do have a choice in both service level as well as agent. In my case, for example, our company provides both low cost listing and buyer rebates which, in your price range, can be between 1 to 1.5% of the total sales price--a significant savings to the buyer without loss of service and without having to recognize income either.
So figure out what service level you want, ask your friends for referrals, and then conduct interviews. I'm sure you'll find a great agent here on Trulia or through your friends to help you! Good luck!
Area Pro Realty-People's Choice
Tel (408) 426-1616
There are a few sites like yelp, rate my agent, zillow, and trulia that have areas to rate agent's work product. The problem is that they are weighted (rigged) to either the person who advertises, is "most active" in the web site or who is better at asking their clients to rate them.
For example, Yelp basis its reviews on user feedback that is not supposed to be solicited from the person being reviewed. I know agents who continually are asking for client reviews from their "good" clients. I know other agents who give gifts to their clients for good reviews. So are these a true representation of the agent's performance? Maybe! Are they biased towards the positive review? Yes! Are they just a reward for writing a solid review? Maybe! Lastly, if there is a negative review, that should be a warning that either the agent didn't perform as expected or you have a reviewer who only posts negative reviews.
I suggest that if you go to review sites and see a few agents that might be worth talking to, Google their name and see what comes up. Get some background information, visit and read their blogs or websites to get a feel for how they work. Check the status of their real estate license and how long they have been licensed. Then meet with them and ask questions that are important to you and your home search. You may find a contradiction between the "reviewed" agent and the actual agent.
Coldwell Banker - Los Altos
What's equally as important as reading reviews is meeting an agent, speaking with them and just seeing if they are a good fit for your personality, style, and expectations.
You are welcome to check out my reviews, I specialize in the Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto area, and would be happy to help you find/negotiate/buy the best deal in today's market.