How does one start their search for a real estate agents and what questions to ask to distinguish a good agent from a great agents?

Asked by Emiley, San Diego, CA Tue Apr 2, 2013

I'm looking for agent to help me start on my search for a home in the 92129 area, but I want to make sure that they can help me get all my eggs in line.

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Answers

21
Melissa Goss, , Center Moriches, NY
Fri Apr 12, 2013
Lastly, a good agent will tell you when he/she is available to show you homes.

A great agent will ask you when YOU are available.
1 vote
Terry Bell, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Since you are looking for a "buyers" agent, not a "listing" agent, you want to find someone who has the patience to go at your speed, patience to educate you about the market, multiple bidding and financing issues, and someone who is ready to communicate 24/7. To get that kind of loyalty I suggest that you go to a lot of open houses in the areas that interest you, or check out some of the people here on Trulia who are showing that they want to work for you! On your side, once you find someone you are comfortable with, you need to show them your loyalty and they will then put you on the top of their list of people to clear their calenders for. Right now the market is heating up! A good realtor will make sure you have your financing ready, they will be experienced with multiple offer situations, and know how to negotiate and communicate well.
1 vote
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
There is nothing an agent can say that would tell you whether or not they are a good agent. If they convince you to hire them by sounding good, they might just be good at selling themselves - but maybe not so good at selling your home or finding one for you.
Rather than letting them speak, or wasting your time speaking with their references (who gives out bad references?), ask them to SHOW you (without speaking), deals that they've done that are similar to what you're looking for. If they can't prove competence with past deals, anything else they might say would be worthless.
1 vote
Seth Chalnic…, Agent, Cardiff, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Yelp is a great resource, which carefully safeguards the integrity of user-submitted, testimonial-based content. Referrals from folks you trust are also hard to beat.

Meantime, any question you can think of will be a good one, because the best way to distinguish great from good agents is to determine whether their replies always put the truth ahead of incentive. In other words find an agent who separates advice from their commission.

The rest will follow.
Web Reference:  http://www.sethchalnick.com
1 vote
Maria Claudia…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
How many deals have you closed in the past year.
is there an area you focus on most.
Availability: does your agent ever answer his/her phone?
Ask for referrals from previous clients or that agent.
find someone passionate about real estate.
make sure that agent has a great team to back them up (Lenders, TC, escrow & Title connections, )
find out what properties are for sale in the 92129 and ask your potential agent about those listings.

Ultimately word of mouth from previous clients always beats any advertising on any bench or billboards.

This is not rocket science, find someone who has the heart and the mindset and willingness to help you out in a genuine way.

Happy search and good luck!
1 vote
Mike Beaureg…, Agent, La Jolla, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
HI Emiley, Its all about providing excellent client service and listening to your needs, priorities and desires.

Find a local Realtor® active in 92129 who is going to make your needs their top priority!

Your Realtor® needs to make a commitment to represent YOU with fairness, honesty and integrity!

Keep it simple, don't overwhelm yourself with over-complicated processes. Let your Realtor® guide you.

Thank you for your consideration.
1 vote
Cory La Scala, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Hi Emiley,

First, be sure your agent is available when you need him/her. many agents quit working at 5:00, sometimes because they work from their broker's office, and sometimes because they only work business hours. If you have a question in the evening, you really should be able to get an answer, or at least give the information needed to get an answer.

Second, use an agent whose lenders are not affiliated with the broker. There's often an incentive to use those lenders, but you'll need a lender who can close loans, including FHA and VA in under 30 days. Lenders whose underwriters are outsourced take longer and you can't contact them.

Third, use an agent that will be honest with you. Anyone can get into escrow, but a good agent will insist on a full loan pre-approval before writing offers. It'll cost you $450 for an appraisal, and up to $450 usually for an inspection depending on the size of the home. If you can't close escrow because of something that could have been avoided up front, you don't get that money back.

Fourth, use an agent who'll take the time to explain things to you, and not patronize you. Buying a home is a process, and the more you understand and know up front, the less scary it becomes.

You're asking the right questions so far!

Regards,
Cory
1 vote
Chris Gorno, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Hi Emiley~

Rancho Penasquitos is a great area for Single Family Homes in a competitive price range. Online reviews are a great way to see what others say about their agent. Trulia, Zillow and Yelp have reviews and ratings. In the March issue of San Diego Magazine, the results were just published for the 2013 Five Star Agent/Lender Awards were just released, did you happen to get that issue? This shows the results of the surveys that went out to select the top Lenders and Agents based on overall customer satisfaction.

Finding an experienced full time agent who, has worked in San Diego for several years and knows and understands this market is necessary. Finding someone you like, enjoy and who is knowlegable and communicative. i have a FREE Report you can request off of my website, with no obligation titled: " Find the right Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home"...it arrives in your inbox in seconds, hopefully that helps!

Chris Gorno
DRE# 01499885
http://www.ChrisGorno.com
1 vote
Robert Chome…, , San Diego, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
I would quiz them with very specific questions about the neighborhood you are looking in. See if you like the quality and detail of their answers. I would also ask how many homes they have sold in the last 2 years and how many homes they have bought themselves. Lastly, the best way is to get a referral from someone you know and trust. I know an excellent Realtor in that lives in 92129 if you would like a referral.
1 vote
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
One thing to do is give them a call and see if they answer and if they don't see how long it takes for them to call you back. To many agents never answer their phones these days and then take forever to call you back. In most areas when a home comes on the market and it is priced right it usually has offers pretty quickly so having an agent that answers their phone and is available to go and show you the home is very important and could be the difference between getting the home or missing out.
1 vote
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Hi Emiley,

I would advise you meet with at least three Realtors®; however, you should keep interviewing until you are satisfied you have found the right Realtor®; there's no reason to rush your decision.

Access each Realtor's® Trulia profile for those that interest you [ i.e. http://www.trulia.com/profile/SteveO ] and read a few Client testimonials; and don't be shy about asking for contact info of prior Clients!

Aside from the above, here are my “Top 4” bits of advice for new home buyers looking to assure a successful outcome:

1) Find a professional Realtor® to work with to protect you interests.
Simply put, your Realtor® will be able to answer initial key questions and guide you through the process. One of the key advantages of involving your Realtor® is access to seasoned Mortgage Broker/Bankers with a track record of getting the job done. You can check to make sure an Agent is a Realtor® by going here: http://www.realtor.org/rofindrealtor.nsf/pages/FS_FREALTOR?O…

The primary distinction of any Realtor® is they have a real estate license by taking required classes and passing a written test - but most importantly - they must also subscribe to the Code of Ethics published by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Typically, Realtors® are also members of state and local association of Realtors® and further agree to abide by the bylaws, rules and regulations of those associations.
The full Code of Ethics can be found at http://www.Realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code

2) Obtain a "True Pre-Approval" (your most important step in my opinion).
You MAY need to improve your credit score, increase cash reserves, etc. before buying; however, at least you will have a roadmap to eventually purchasing if this is the case. Furthermore, this step can save you from wasting money on a purchase that does not close escrow!
http://www.Steven-Anthony.com/GettingStarted
&
"Retail Banks vs. Mortgage Broker/Bankers"
http://tinyurl.com/6qln6nd

3) Make sure you obtain access to your local AND regional Realtor® MLS data via an automated search your Realtor® should most certainly create for you; here's why:
MLS Data Accuracy – Where to search if you’re “without Realtor®”
http://tinyurl.com/ctr4d44

4) Avoid Dual Agency!
There are specific duties an Agent must provide. When one individual represents both Buyer and Seller conflict between two of the most important duties occur.
“Dual Agency: Why should I NOT use the listing Agent to buy a house?”
http://tinyurl.com/ajkjpuo

-Steve
1 vote
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Tue Sep 2, 2014
Check out the link I've attached below for a detailed answer to this question including what questions you should be asking when you interview agents.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Sep 2, 2014
What is your "total volume sales" for the past 6 months?

Bill
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue Sep 2, 2014
Your best et is to seek out a referral from someone you trust, if not Google agents in your area.

Chris
0 votes
Robert Chome…, , San Diego, CA
Wed Aug 27, 2014
Try to find out how many closings they have had this year. Talk to they a little bit and test their knowledge. Try to find a agent that REALLY knows thee neighborhood you want to buy in. Ask friends and family for referrals.
0 votes
Melissa Goss, , Center Moriches, NY
Fri Apr 12, 2013
Ask how many years they have been in business.
Ask what their office sale count was for the year
Make sure they are available when you are.

Lastly meet with a few, and see who best fits your needs. I find that many sellers/buyers chose to work with me because of my personality when we first meet. Believe it or not, personality is key, you want someone you feel you can trust to work the hardest for you.

Ask anything and everything you wish, the agent will be happy to answer you.
0 votes
Manuel Ramir…, Home Buyer, California
Thu Apr 4, 2013
Experience matters a lot for selecting any real estate agent with the knowledge of their properties deal closed. Another good method is to contact the agent with referrals like friend or relative they have worked with.
0 votes
opondomusa, , 10020
Thu Apr 4, 2013
These are some of the things to look for in a Realtor:
-Choose an agent who is a Realtor.
-Look for someone who fits in with your schedule, needs, and personality.
-Make sure that your Realtor is serious about your budget, because their pay will be determined by the selling price of your home, they should stick to your budget and not be greedy.
-Make sure your personalities jive before you hire them.

Here is a list of Realtors in San Diego, CA

http://www.realtypin.com/realtors/us/california/san-diego
Web Reference:  http://www.realtypin.com
0 votes
Dan Dennison, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
It makes sense to meet with a few realtors for you to make your decision about their competency, experience,and the chemistry. It is critical that the Realtor listens well and understands how to assist you achieve your needs. Cheers! Dan
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
That's an interesting question, Emiley.

My advice to you is to interview agents - tell them your situation, and see if they can help you. And, in the meantime, consider how well you seem to understand each other, because communication is at least as important as ability.

All the best,
0 votes
Tina Pankey…, , San Diego, CA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Hi Emiley, you've already got a lot of good information but I thought I'd throw my two cents in anyway :)

--Don't underestimate the value of local knowledge. Narrow your choices down to someone who knows your desired zip codes cold. Not only will a local agent know the inventory, they'll be more connected to the agent network in your preferred neighborhoods. For good or ill, in this sellers' market agent-to-agent relationships are again becoming important in securing a property.

--As others have said, communication is key. If you like to text don't pick someone who insists on faxing everything (I wish I was kidding but there still are those). They may be a super-experienced agent but if you can't communicate with them all that experience does you no good.

--An ABR designation shouldn't be a deal-breaker but it is something to watch for. These are people who are dedicated to representing *buyers'* needs. They may take listings, they may not, but the ABR (usually) reflects a special interest in buyer issues.

--Be aware of the difference between agent teams and lone wolves. If you interview with a team leader, you may find yourself passed along to a subordinate during the process. Independent agents won't hand you off to someone else, although they may be less immediately available because they're trying to juggle multiple clients on their own.

--Try to get a referral from an acquaintance. Yelp, Realtor.com, LinkedIn, etc. are all well and good, but they're not thorough enough to be really useful. Nothing beats a personal recommendation from someone you know. And don't just go with the first referral you get; interview with two or three agents. Most of us can get the job done, but we have really different business styles.

From your thoughtful questions, you're just the kind of client I like to work with. However I'm not a Rancho Penasquitos expert so I can't recommend myself ;) Good luck!
0 votes
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