How to find a good real estate agent representative?

Asked by Robertdole, Chatsworth, CA Tue Feb 28, 2012

My wife and I always thought it would be a fairly simple process. Seemed so on paper, we'd find an real estate representative, they would show us a few houses or listings, we'd pick one and buy it. But it's been nothing like that, so far it's been just a very frustrating and discouraging experience.

One realtor we met kept on pressuring us into buying some house next to railroad tracks with constant BS about there being offers and us needing to buy that one before the world emplodes and runs out of houses. Another one kept on showing us some random overpriced flips which outside of some new paint and new carpets would probably fall apart from the rott. We've found better looking listings by just putting the zip code into redfin and trulia ourselves.

How do we find a good real estate agent rep that will actually find reasonable listings and be at least upfront and honest, which I now understand is a rare gem in the industry. Will take recommendations.



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Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Tue Oct 9, 2012
Hi Robertdole:

I had just answered a similar question for another person when I came across this question. Here is the gist of that answer:

Always interview several agents. Find a good personality fit. Rely on your instincts. Be careful if you get a bad feeling about someone.

Ask a lot of questions. Write the questions down so you don't forget an important one. Include a range of subjects, including some about the local market, how the agent handles particular situations, the home buying process and the agent him/herself.

Eliminate agents who blow off hard questions, offer terse answers, provide answers that sound off, or act as if you should not bother yourself about understanding the process.

However, it is perfectly reasonable for an agent to research an answer and get back to you. If the agent does get back to you quickly, that is a good sign.

Good communication is among the most important attributes you should consider when hiring an agent. Lack of communication skills is among the biggest complaints from clients who have had a bad experience with an agent.

Thus, paying attention to agents' communication skills before hiring him or her will go far toward making sure you have a good experience with your next home purchase.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
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Carla Muss-J…, , Portland, OR
Sun Sep 16, 2012
You should find an Exclusive Buyers Agent. We're a different breed. I don't think EBA's ar the prevelant in your market. The next best thing is to agent and AGENT for a referral. I have an extensive network of colleagues that I've known for years that are wonderful to their clients.
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Jorge Alfaro, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Wed Mar 21, 2012
I hear you!!

The best thing to do is to interview 3 to 4 agents and to check their background.

Asking them qualified questions is very critical. Example

Are you a buyers agent?

How many buyer's have you helped in the past 3 months?

How many transactions have you closed this past month?

When are yu availble to show property?

Askig a real estate agent these questions are ctrtitical to determine a good fir for you

Office: 213-417-3898
Cell: 310-486-2132
Fax: 877-310-3002
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, ,
Thu Mar 1, 2012
How to find an agent...

Look up houses right here on Trulia, find what looks to be a good deal. Go over to the house and wait for the realtors who show up without a customer with them. Ask them about homes for sale in the area, the one how knows the most gets the job.
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Jeremy Lehman, Agent, Garden Grove, CA
Thu Mar 1, 2012
Ouch! That's unfortunately the reason the rest of us get a bad name. One of the best resources to find an agent is through your friends. Also, you can tell here on Trulia which agents are good by the way they answer your questions. Any agent who's answers are 'call me so we can discuss' and avoid giving the direct answer to your question may be the kind of agent trying to get you to buy the house next to the tracks.

Also, we as agents have access to a broad network and as stated before can help you find the right agent.

Best of luck...
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Seth Captain, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Mar 1, 2012
Probably one of the most popular, and important questions in real estate, other than "Can't we just find something like that house, in the 'worse' neighborhood, in the 'better' neighborhood for the same price?"

Make sure you have a face to face meeting before you do anything.

Is the agent listening to you, or do you have to repeat yourselves?

Is the agent already recommending areas and homes that fit with your general idea of home buying?

Can they provide you with several (and detailed) client referrals via their website, or sites like Linkedin, Yelp, Angieslist, or assorted real estate review sites, like here?

Do they seem knowledgeable by the way they speak, at least presenting a facade of knowledge?

Does this knowledge seem to include mortgages, building issues, and precise neighborhood info?

Do you get an overall 'good vibe' from this person, in a way that makes you feel comfortable and trusting of them?

Do they support stronger protection measures for the endangered Mombassan Mole?



Is the agent responding to your emails/calls in a timely AND informative manner?

On your first time out with him/her, do the homes you're seeing seem in the right direction?

Does the agent seem knowledgeable of potential issues with the home?

Does the agent offer valid suggestions for transforming the property into something that will benefit your lifestyle?

Is the agent able to demonstrate what is convenient and what isn't in relation to each property?

Do they appear organized?

Do they have Italian leather bucket seats?

If No, Go back to Step 1. If yes, you are probably onto a good buyer's agent.
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Mar 1, 2012
I respectfully disagree that you want an agent/broker who only deals with buyers. An agent/broker who has a deep understanding of what it's like from the seller/seller's agent perspective in the current market environment as well as the buyer's will enhance their ability to present you and your offer in the best light. Someone who is good who does a healthy balance of representing both sides will be better than someone who is good who only deals with buyers in my view.
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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Mar 1, 2012
Dear Robert,
I'm sorry to hear of your troubles with home buying. Believe it or not, not all Realtors work with buyers but rather prefer to only list homes. You might consider looking for a Buyer Agent who has taken additional training and is committed to your goals. One way to do this is to just ask them at the interview, if they work with buyers, and if they have references from other happy buyers.
I am a member of ABR http://( an organization that provides additional training and certification to Buyer Reps, that might be the best way to go for you.
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Rebecca Cham…, Agent, Manhattan Beach, CA
Wed Feb 29, 2012
Referrals are great, but if you are new to the area choose several and interview them all. Questions should be:

How long have you been selling RE?
Are you a full time agent/broker?
Do you have referrals from past clients you can provide to me?
Are you primarily a listing or selling agent? Why?
How do you best communicate (Email, phone, text?)
How many listings/buyers do you currently have?

You'll find the new and less busy agents generally to be more eager and also have more time for you but the flip side is busy agents don't have the pressure to make a sale.

Finding the listing isn't really the agents job, unless it's off market since the MLS is essentially public. The worth of your agent is in knowing that neighborhood and negotiating the deal that is good for you and then protecting your interest in the purchase. Don't get caught up in he/she didn't "find" the property…anyone with a computer can do that.

Real Estate agents are like every other profession that seem to fall under the 80/20 rule. 20% are fantastic but often you end up working with the 80 who aren't because they are more plentiful.

Good luck!
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Liliana Alfo…, Agent, Studio City, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012
Hi Robert,
I understand your frustration, but there are many honest, experience, and hard working agents out there. When buying a home, it's very important that the agent you choose and you are on the same page. You need to be pre-qualified to make sure we are in your price range, after that then you are ready to start looking for a home. This is your biggest investment so you don't have to settle for something you don't like or feel comfortable with, there's plenty of houses to see. However, you do have to be patient because of the competition in the buyer's market. I always tell my clients that I will show them as many houses as it takes as long as they understand the process. Short sales can be a good option, but they are not for everybody, you need to be able to wait. I work with both buyers and sellers, and I am very dedicated. I have no problem of meeting you and your wife over a cup of coffee to see if I can be a match. Whatever you decide, don't let anyone tell you what house is good for you, because when you find it, you'll know!!
Best regards,

Liliana Alfonso
Rodeo Realty
12345 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
818-414-0396 cell
818-761-7277 fax
DRE # 01759367
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Laura Coffey, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012
Hi Robert,
I would be more than happy to interview for the job as your Realtor. Client satisfaction is my ultimate goal. Though I am living in Santa Clarita I grew up in San Fernando Valley. I have my ABR designation (Accredited Buyer's Represenative) which means I have additional education & experience working with buyers than most agents.
In addition I have my QSC designation (Quality Service Certified) which means my clients all get a survey at the end of every transaction that is sent by a third neutral party. One copy goes to my broker and the other copy is posted online. You can see reviews on me on Zillow at
You have to understand that the average agent only sells 4 houses a year. Most don't listen to their clients and are just looking for a pay check. I do enough business where I don't have to pressure my clients and their needs come first. I would never pressure or steer you in a direction that would not be beneficial to you or your family.
I have talked clients out of offering to much for a house or even buying in the first place if it wasn't a right fit. I would much rather loose a deal than a client any day.
Feel free to check me out and call me for an interview to see if I could be someone you would be happy working with.
If I don't hear from you I wish you the best of luck and hope you find a Realtor that works full time, is experienced, and listens to your needs.
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Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012
I would be more than happy to interview agents for you. I know what questions to ask to make sure you're going to be dealing with a fair, honest & ethical Realtor who enjoys their profession & is good at it too. Not a bossy type who wants to push you into buying on the railroad tracks.

Usually when I'm interviewing other agents I'm doing this for short sellers outside of California or Nevada, so I know I'm sending my client or friend to the right agent for the job. Chatsworth is too far for me to go to properly represent you myself, but, I can find a good Realtor for you to work with in that area.

I would want to find someone for you who isn't going to wait until homes become available in the MLS but one who's going to take your home criteria & go out & make it available for YOU!

Shoot me an email directly if you want to talk about this some more. 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
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Carol Perdew, Agent, Manteca, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012
Hello Robert,

My recommendation for finding a good buyer’s agent is to check out the agent’s websites and look for information about the agent. A good suggestion is to ask your friends and family for a referral for of agent they have had a good experience doing business with. You may want to visit open houses to talk to agents and see how they work. Interview agents to find an agent who will take the time to explain the process of buying home and answer your questions.

Carol Perdew
Prudential California Realty
(209) 239-7979
DRE 985176
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Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue Feb 28, 2012
Hi, personal referrals are always best because the person referring has worked with them already. Ask your immediate circle of friends, family, co-workers for their suggestions. Once you have a fewsit with them all and see which agents personality type works best for you. The meeting should be more about your needs and not a brag fest from them. Keep in mind it is an interview for the agent as well to make sure your expectations and personality are something they can work with. After all it is a relationship :o)


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Tue Feb 28, 2012
Hi there Robert, do not give up - very good agents are out there! Trulia is a very good place to begin your search for one - you'll have a good starting point right here with responses. I am out of the area so out of the running, so you can trust that my advice is simply meant to be helpful.

Identify a short list of contenders and then talk with them frankly about your experiences to date and frustrations. You may find that part of ths issue is a matter of what is available in your price range in the community of choice - if you find that the only available inventory in your price point comes with negatives in location or condition, then you will understand that you may need to make compromises - either be more accepting of what your money can buy or expand your search to include other communities where inventory may be more appealing.

A patient and responsive agent that knows her market and inventory will be able to help you sort this out and act as a able and valuable guide and asset to your effort.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
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Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012
There are over 100 Agents listed in Trulia who are waiting for you to find them:
On the bottom/right, see VIEW TRULIA VIP
click on it and insert CHATSWORTH
you can view their PROFILE and RECOMMENDATIONS
you can e-mail them and ask questions.

Good luck and may God bless
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Tue Feb 28, 2012

While there are good ones, you are right - it is difficult. Part of the problem is that many people got into the business during the crazy years when any knucklehead with a license could make money. A lot of those have been weeded out, but there are still many who are struggling to hang on and more concerned about making their house payment than finding you the right house, and there are some who just don't know any better because the bar to getting into the industry is so low.

First, follow your gut. If it feels wrong it probably is. Second, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, but don't simply choose one because your mom said so. Ask WHY they are referring them and what makes them so great.

Keep interviewing till you find the right match, because even though the seller is paying the commission you are hiring this person to be your representative and you can pay dearly if you choose wrong by getting into a bad building.

I wrote a blog on why it's important to choose the right agent. I hope you find this helpful.…

Unfortunately we do not work in your area and I don't know anyone who does. Take your time and you will find the right one.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
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