Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Heather Fern…, Home Owner in San Francisco, CA

When does it make sense to engage an agent?

Asked by Heather Fernandez, San Francisco, CA Tue Sep 16, 2008

I live in San Francisco, but am checking out homes in the easy bay, peninsula and marin county. We have an SF agent (who is fantastic); should we be engaging three additional agents at this point, or once we are sure where we want to live? Would appreciate all thoughts. (I work at Trulia.)

Help the community by answering this question:


When a man and a woman decide they love each other (really love each other), and they want to spend the rest of their lives together, that's when they should get engaged.

Just because one of them is a real estate agent, is no reason to accelerate, or delay, the process. Agents are just like everyone else (well, almost like everyone else), and they need love and affection.

Now, if you want to be engaging three additional agents, it seems to me that would be illegal in most states (although Utah is still a grey area), but check with your local municipality. Some partners are willing to enter into a more "open" relationship and threesome, even foursomes may be welcome... but you should have a conversation with them first. Extra people in the relationship is not the sort of thing that should be "sprung" on your partner.

I find a good bottle of wine, or champagne, can help.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hi Heather,

The most important thing is not the number of agents you contact but better yet that you contact one the is an expert in the area you are looking for. I am originally from the Bay Area, San Francisco and moved to the Desert a few years ago. Having said that during my tenure as Realtor in San Francisco i can tell you that you do need another agent if you are looking outside of the area. You should let you san francisco realtor know that you need to find a bay area expert and see if he/she can assist you with finding one.
Hope this helps.
Good luck.
Web Reference: http://www.leonardoteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
You should see if the agent you are working with is comfortable and knowledgable in those areas and give them a chance or choice to decide if they can or want to help you in those areas. it is better than starting over with a new agent. good luck with your move.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
thanks for everyone's feedback - for the record, I have already discussed with with my SF agent. was hoping to get additional perspectives from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008

If you are currently working with an agent you have a good working relationship with I would suggest you talk to them first about expanding your home search. Even if the agent you are working with does not work in the other areas you are considering, they will more than likely be able to recommend a Realtor for you to work with. This will allow the Realtor you know and trust to be able to work with other agents in the other areas to help represent you the buyer.


Lisa Cartolano
Alain Pinel Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Hi Heather,

My advice is to talk to your SF agent about your plans/ideas. If you are happy with your SF agent, I encourage you to work with them directly for solutions. They will probably have very good recommendations for agents in other areas.

As an example, I have often had situations where my clients were considering SF and the East Bay. I worked together with their East Bay agent so we could both help the client get the right place for them.

By working as a team, you'll get the best help and create a win-win for everyone.

Side note:

In my experience, there is usually a pecking order when it comes to location. Are you equally interested in ALL of these vastly different areas?

My advice is to spend some time clarifying your goals and narrow the search. If SF is your 1st choice, see what you can get here. If you don't see anything in your price range that suits you, then move the search "abroard."

Almost always, you will have the best chance of finding the best home for you if you have a focused approach!

Best of luck,
Danielle Lazier, http://www.SFHotlist.com
danielle (at) sfhotlist.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
If you are working with an agent in San Francisco, why not start working with agents who can be of similar service in the other communities? In the spirit of full disclosure, I would suggest that you mention to each agent that you are exploring your options and each community. It takes little time to set you up with MLS feeds, at which point you can perform much of the early work on your own. If you do your due diligence and make a decision regarding which community you'd like to live in, I would think that most agents would be happy to earn your business.

I do think it's important to sort out where you want to live as soon as possible. But so long as you are mindful of the time and effort you ask each agent to devote to you, I would think that most agents would be happy to try to earn your business. Be up front. I don't see why you couldn't actually ask for a specific scenario, like a phone meeting followed by one property tour... Nobody likes giving time away, but if you are up front and your agent(s) agree, then everyone is happy.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Hi Heather,
My suggestion would to first discuss this with your San Francisco agent. Maybe, he/she is comfortable assisting you in one or all three of the areas you are thinking about. But if he/she is not, then, as suggested previously, he/she may know good local agents to refer you to. If he/she does not know anyone to refer you to, then see if anyone you know has a good referral for that particular area. Be completely honest upfront with your situation, and make sure the agent will committ fully to you, even though you may not end up purchasing in their particular area. Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Heather, You may wish to "engage" the services of your SF agent who may have a network of topflight professinals who s/he knows and trusts. This is of the benefits of working with a Realtor in your area and how important it is to share all facets of your househunting goals. I have referrals not only for the bay area but for California, the nation and the world as I hold the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation and have some super contacts on the continent, England and SouthAmerica.
Many studies have found buyers enjoy searching the web for areas and don't realy go out to start viewing property until they are serious and time is drawing near for a purchase. But it is NEVER too early to engage a Realtor in the areas you are discussing. Make sure you share your thoughts, goals with your SF area though. Good luck! In my California All*Star group I have three that immediately come to mind: Dave Blewett for the pennisula, Ira Serkes for the east bay and Betty Taisch for Marin. I'm sure your agent can come up with a list also!!
Web Reference: http://www.CAAllstars.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
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