I need help in picking a buyer's real estate agent in San Francisco. Any feedback on my selection process outlined below is appreciated.?

Asked by Sam, Bay Street Viaduct Area, Savannah, GA Tue Jul 6, 2010

I'm using two avenues to pick a real estate agent (1) use WoM refererrals from friends, (2) use Trulia to identify the most helpful based on questions answered and referrals provided, and add to the short-list.

My selection approach is the following:
1. Pick five real estate agents for an initial short-list
2. Conduct a background check with the BBB or any other agency if available, and social media sites
3. Have a phone conversation with the five real estate agents (assuming all background checks clear) and obtain client referrals
4. Call and talk to referrals to verify client satisfaction
5. Reduce the short-list to three agents to meet face-to-face
6. Pick one agent based on face-to-face discussions

Help the community by answering this question:

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Oggi Kashi’s answer
Oggi Kashi, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Jul 15, 2010

I am surprised by all the responses your question has generated. How is your search coming along? Have you found your broker/agent yet? If so, was the search experience as you had expected? I would love to hear your thoughts.


Oggi Kashi

Broker Associate | DRE 1844627 | Paragon Real Estate Group | 415-874-5020
Web Reference:  http://www.oggikashi.com/
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Jul 15, 2010
I believe a phone conference and email exchange would show the due diligence of agent(s) follow up with buyer or seller .

How their choice work with you

Realtors also have right to decline service of clients, we don't represent every client who contacts our office.

BBB most agents won't be reported their try state website for any issues there for Realtors

Social Media site is great resource determine some foundation who they are some agents use to platforms professional blog site and Facebook for fun

Locating a home is easy with proper interview of any client HOWEVER financing is the critical part.

We interview our clients it can take approx. 30 minutes up to 1 hours determine if we will accept you. You spend approx. 40 - 100 hours with a client from moment you say hello through close.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Terry Roach, Agent, Memphis, TN
Thu Jul 15, 2010
Go to naeba.org, and find an Exclusive Buyer's Agent in the area that will represent your interests.
0 votes
Mike Rowland, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Tue Jul 13, 2010
I absolutly love this question. I remember when I bought my first house. All I did was look in the local real estate publication and pick the one with the biggest ad.Today I would do it much differently. I would look for full time agent, I would interview both over the phone and in person because you are going to be working side by side for a few months or longer depending on your market. I would ask for referrals, and look for someone who is involved in his or her community. Its a given that they , look professional, act professional, have good hygene. I want a proactive agent that networks with others and understands our current market conditions. I WANT A REALTOR.

Mike Rowland
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Mon Jul 12, 2010
It is refreshing to read how much thought you are putting into finding a good fit for you. It is amazing how few buyers do that.

I recommend you call the Broker of the company and ask them for referrals to an agent in house as well. Of course they will praise their company, they do have a vested interest in keeping out of a lawsuit and profitability, so their recommendation to an agent will usually be sound advice.

Each Brokerage has a business model. Some have a lot of focus on the company, others more on the agents, some have a lot of extra training for their agents, some are boutique and specialize in certain properties or areas, and others may be independent, or focus on volume and discounts. Verify that they carry ample errors and omission insurance, ask about office support staff and office hours, as well.

Depending on your goals, and research, you are bound to find a very good agent to council and represent you.

All the Best to you.
Web Reference:  http://terrivellios.com
0 votes
Sat Jul 10, 2010
Web Reference:  http://www.gregorygarver.com
0 votes
Leopold A Ro…, , San Francisco, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Good evening Sam.

One, I recommend giving greatest weight to WoM from trusted friends.

Two, I don’t believe that BBB or a social media site would be any more useful to selecting a real estate licensee than to selecting a dentist, a car mechanic or a CPA.

Three, understand what it is you expect from a buyer’s agent. Why this neighborhood. Why this home. Why those inspectors. It may sound counter-intuitive but perhaps you may benefit from a buyer’s agent who will advise you why you should NOT buy that home.

And four, be clear on he concept of Dual Agency.

Good luck.


Leopold A Rodriguez
Real Estate Broker ~ Attorney at Law
400 Montgomery 505
San Francisco CA 94104
From San Francisco 415.781.3000
From Marin 415-381-1000
San Francisco: http://blackstone-sanfrancisco.com
Marin: http://blackstone-marin.com
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010

You have obviously put a lot of thought into this and I think your approach makes a lot of sense. Another aspect to consider is companies (like ours) who work as a team. The benefit of this approach is that someone is always available to help you - with one agent that can sometimes be a problem.


* Talk to past and/or current clients. You will learn a lot from these conversations.
* Ask how many transactions they've done recently. You want people who are active in the business helping you.
* DEFINITELY choose someone who knows the San Francisco market. This city, more than any other I've seen, requires local knowledge as we have disclosure requirements and other issues that exist only here.

This is our business and we'd be happy to help - contact info is below.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes
Kamal Randha…, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
In addition to all that,

You have to be able to get along with your agent and the agent sometimes plays the role of therapist as well when clients get frustrated :)

Kamal Randhawa
0 votes
Oggi Kashi, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010

Looks as if you have almost everything covered. Please don't forget the agents' brokerages. Their client service policies, support and resources are quite important.

Do you have a "Buyer's Guide"? I provide my client with a book about the buying process in SF. It includes information on how to choose an agent. I can send you a copy in pdf.


Oggi Kashi

Broker Associate | DRE 1844627 | Paragon Real Estate Group | 415-874-5020
Web Reference:  http://www.oggikashi.com/
0 votes
Ellie Kravets, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Agree with Pacita.
Good agents like to choose their clients too :)
I would recommend Tanya Dzhibrailova (check her on Yelp) She is great. Her phone is 415.531.6779
Good luck!
Ellie Kravets
Zephyr RE
0 votes
Shaban Shako…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Generally I agree with your approach. I would rule out the BBB check and stick to the top brokerages, since those agencies have consistently good agents.

Things to consider: sales experience, references from past/existing clients, credentials.

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://Www.residentialsf.com
0 votes
Eliisa Stowe…, Agent, Corona del Mar, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Great list! Try to find them on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Facebook, Twitter etc. and see how frequently they show up, post real estate related blogs, find testimonials on their web site etc. The Internet is the #1 tool for selling real estate besides the connections with other agents. I would also call all five before telling them you are interviewing for a listing, giving them the names of the other four and asking if A: They know about the agent and their performance in 2010 and B: If they needed to pick one of them to sell their own house, who would they pick? Check the sales statistics for this year for each agent and remember that a TEAM always outperforms an individual... :)

If you need a S.F referral let me know, I used to live there...
Good luck!
Brown and Stowell Team
0 votes
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Very good list.

Local knowledge of the market is important so you may want to factor that in your conversations.

Don't be surprised if they do their own due diligence as well and ask you questions like:
1. If you need to get a loan, are you already preapproved? They will want to speak with your lender and get a sense of your financial wherewithal to close a transaction
2. What's your budget range (they need to know if you can afford San Franciso, too)
3. When do you plan to buy and move into your new place
4. Are you available to look at different days and times? If you're only looking on weekends, you may miss out on some possibilities

Good luck!
0 votes
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Looks good... put me on your list.

Gregory Garver - 415-968-6065
Web Reference:  http://www.gregorygarver.com
0 votes
Fred Glick, Agent, Mountain View, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010

Remember to do the same due diligence for the mortgage person too.

It's just as important.

Fred Glick
Web Reference:  http://fglick.com
0 votes
Jane Grant, Agent, Aguanga, CA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Sam: Great List, one more thing you can do is e-mail each agent and see how fast and professionally they return a response. You want to make sure that you obtain the services of a full time agent who is responsive to any and all communication. Good Luck!
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jul 6, 2010
Sure, it's a plan.

The most important thing is to figure out what's important to you as a buyer and as a client. If you ask agents to give you a methodology, they'll give you one in which they score very highly - for example, your ideal agent should have a beard, wear glasses, and practice in Seattle. Well, you get the point, I hope.

All of us would use a different methodology, probably because we have different resources at our disposal and different requirements and needs from our agents.

All the best,
0 votes
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