Carlos Sando…, Both Buyer and Seller in Los Angeles, CA

How do I pick an agent to work many are "experts" with letters after their name like abr,gri and such. Does it make a difference?

Asked by Carlos Sandoval, Los Angeles, CA Thu Aug 18, 2011

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Tanner, Home Seller, Fresno, CA
Mon Aug 22, 2011
It definately makes a difference. Just remember they are SALESMAN. I am 63 years old and still have not met an honest salesman. Do research on the internet for reliable people. Tell them you only want a 1 month contract to check them out. If they do not want to do that then just say "OK so long and thanks for your trouble" A good, honest and reliable seller will most likely give you a months trial.

2 votes
Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Agents that have time on their hands take plenty of courses so they can pass and get these designations, busier agents seem to not need them. Simply put, pick and agent you feel comfortable with and has a proven track record and not one that has no record but plenty of letters after their title!
2 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Well, of course it has some meaning, Carlos. Most certifications require documented experience and further training. And the thing about an agent's knowledge, sometimes you don't need it until, you really need it!

As to, "how to pick an agent to work with," it helps if you first decide what kind of buyer and seller you are. Some people have a plan in place, some don't. Some need to know what every step of the journey entails, and some just want to sell the old place and buy another. Some people want to fix a lot of stuff in their home, some want to sell it "as is, where is" . . .

I suggest figuring out what you want them to know about your objectives and goals, then going out and talking to a few agents and see how that goes.

All the best,
2 votes
J, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Mon Oct 10, 2011
The RE industry does make it tough for consumers to decipher the quality of services from one agent to another. Agents are independent contractors working with various real estate companies. Agents pay monthly fees to their chosen companies in exchange for using the company's name on signage and related in-house training programs. The NAR through cooperative efforts with affiliates linked to real estate offer approved programs that agents may consider taking to improve skill-set as well as refresh current skills on a regular basis. Most are certificated programs requiring 2-4 hours of instruction. Other programs may require weeks or months to achieve. As Melissa wrote below, ask for written proof of transaction activity to include closed transactions from each agent you may interview. From here, you will quickly know which agent is right for you. Good luck!
1 vote
Melissa Zava…, Agent, Escondido, CA
Sun Oct 9, 2011
Aaah, the classic issue with the self-proclaimed expert. I would first ask friends and family for recommendations. I would then ask the agents who I interview for proof of whatever they are claiming. (If they say that they have closed 300 transactions, ask for proof... for example). Good luck! FYI: No designation can substitute for lack of experience.
1 vote
Sharon Paxson, Agent, Del Mar, CA
Fri Sep 9, 2011
Hi Carlos - great question, and there is continuing education that a Realtor can do and obtain different designations. You have some very good answers here, and I would recommend asking for references and how active that Realtor really is. You want someone who works full time in the industry.

And, meet with several after you have created a list of questions and then see who you feel you will have the best working relationship with as well.

Good luck!
1 vote
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Sep 8, 2011
Hi, once we get licensed we are supposed to be considered experts in our field. The letters are designations earned for completing courses and exams. It just shows the agent cares enough to further their education which does say something for the agent. You should want to work with an agent that really knows what they are doing. I recommend interviewing a few and work with someone you feel comfortable with, and can walk the walk.

Web Reference:
1 vote
Melissa Zava…, Agent, Escondido, CA
Mon Sep 5, 2011
Carlos: There are so many self-proclaimed experts out there that it is difficult to make a decision about who to work with on your real estate transaction. What I can say that that there is no replacement for experience so make sure to inquire about each agents volume and level of experience.
1 vote
Daniel Fisher, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Different agents are good at different things. Some like to list and sell and are good at it. Others like to work with buyers or manage property and tenants. Experience with luxury homes or leasing commercial properties require different skills and training. If you have a short sale or foreclosure, you will do better with an agent who has that experience.

If you research what training and annual fees required to use these designations, you will find a lot about how real estate agents with these designations make more money. Generally, a college degree, masters or doctorate level course of study is more rigorous than the dozens of designations - some of which can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars after completion of an online self study course. For agents who maintain these designations, they are valuable. Notable designations are CRE, CCIM, GRI, CRS, SFR.

If your real estate agent has an MBA or a JD (doctorate of law), your experience will be different than if you are working with a newly licensed high school graduate. Look for a full time tech savvy professional with current experience who regularly takes training. Research online, ask for references and check them out. Talk to colleagues. . ...and if you like this reply, please give it a "thumbs up" or "best answer".
1 vote
Nicole Marks…, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Hello Carlos. I have GRI after my name and there are agents who have many more designations after their names. Those letters basically mean that we have gone above and beyond what is required to do to maintain our licenses. Of course, there is value in that. However, I believe the most important quality in choosing a Realtor to work with is if you feel comfortable with his/her style. Do they listen to your needs and demonstrate that they understand what you want? You don't want to work with a Realtor who simply wants to sell you any home. You want to find an agent who wants to sell you a home that you love. Read their testimonials on their website. Those will give you great insight to the type of person they are. Many of my customers have found me that way.

Good luck. I'm sure you will find the right agent.

Nicole Marks Mason, Realtor
Web Reference:
1 vote
Shirley Kappa, Agent, Williamsburg, VA
Thu Aug 18, 2011
I agree with all the answers given but stress that personality and experience are more important than the designations behind the name. Sign a buyer's agent agreement with them for one day and see how you click. If you don't like the way the agent works or don't feel comfortable...your obligation to that agent is over at the end of the day unless you buy something that agent showed you.
1 vote
Agnes Tabor, Agent, Naples, FL
Thu Aug 18, 2011
If you are considering buying or selling try taping your closest resource, your own family and friends.

Those of us who have letters after our names do so to get additional eduction on various areas of real estate.

Check out the for sale signs in your area of interest, call the agents and call them in for an interview. There are no guarantees, you must be confident in the person on the other side of the table because that person will be sitting your side of the table.

You might also consider Googling the person you have chosen.

Good luck to you!

Agnes Tabor, REALTOR
ABR-Accredited Buyers Representative
EPRO - Electronic Internet Professional
1031 Exchange Specialist
1 vote
cortneykelle…, Home Buyer, 27932
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Choose the one you are most comfortable with for good reasons
- with proven success record
- easy to reach (phone, email, etc)
- accredited by reputable companies.

CFS Mortgage
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Nov 14, 2013
Dear Carlos,
If an Agent has additional designations (CCIM,GRI,ABR etc.) it means a few things.
1. They have spent time and money furthering their education
2. It is likely they will be able to provide better service, because of this(as any specialist would be)
3.They take pride in their Profession and they take it seriously
In the case of the CCIM courses, graduates of CCIM represent the elite in Commercial Real Estate.

P.S. I have been in sales for over 24 years,it's not true that all salespeople are dishonest, any more then any other stereotype is. Each person is an individual.
0 votes
Nancy Celis, Agent, Covina, CA
Wed Mar 28, 2012
It would be to your advantage to interview a few agents. You want to work with an agent who is knowledgeable and has the experience and ultimately look look out for your needs. Best of luck.
0 votes
Agnes Rosiak, Agent, Marina del Rey, CA
Tue Mar 27, 2012

It is important to have an experienced agent on your site. Also it is important to go with an agent who is a local expert and has access to buyers looking in the specific area.
A good agent will show you his or her expertise by delivering results and sharing knowledge with you.
If you are looking for a good Westchester agent to help you sell your home I am here.
Please join a list of my happy clients and give me a call or email me if that is easier.

0 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Mon Oct 10, 2011

Great question! It's really up to you and what your idea is of what kind of service you will be looking for. If you find that you want an agent to scour the MLS and all listings for you, be ready to jump in their car and show you homes at a moment's notice, then you would be better off working with a Realtor that is fresh in the game that hasn't be around enough to be "busy".

Not that veteran agents that have been in the business for more than 5 years won't have that kind of time for you, but for the most part the agents that make this a serious business find out that they are better suited for the negotiations, due-diligence, closing and coordinating as they know that is truly where the "expertise" is used. Any one can open up a home and now with the internet making it so easy to find homes; those 2 tasks are really minimal in needed knowledge and experience. So, perhaps the way to find out who you are looking to have an interview with a few agents and of course ask for past buyer clients that they can contact to ask for their opinions.

Best of luck in your Realtor search.

Respectfully yours,

Web Reference:
0 votes
Mimi Davies, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Sun Oct 9, 2011
Hi Carlos

An agent can be an expert but it doesn't mean that he/she is the one for you. It all depends on your personality and theirs, your time schedule and theirs, are they too busy or will they give you time, do you click? It's essential to feel a connection.

If you're looking to buy, you want an agent who understands your needs, desires, wants. Someone who clearly identifies your goals and who will work with you to achieve them.

If you're going to sell, what are your reasons? what is your time frame? what is your financial objective? ...

The best thing is to schedule meetings/consultations with two or three agents (I don't suggest more as it becomes overwhelming). Ask them about their marketing strategy, the tools they will use to advertise your property and what are the benefits of working with them.

Once you sign a buyer-broker agreement, or a listing agreement, you board a journey where communication will be imperatively essential and critical. And you will work in partnership, towards one goal: making your real estate investment a successful achievement.

This is my recommendation. If you're interesting in a consultation with me, please let me know so we can arrange something at your convenience.

Have a great day
Mimi Davies
0 votes
Heather Wrig…, Agent, The Dalles, OR
Sun Oct 9, 2011
Hello Carlos
It can be overwhelming when it comes to picking the right agent. My advice to you is, reach out to friends and family. Try and get a good referral. Then I would pick 2 additional agents and interview them. Try and pick the agent that feels the best to you. The designations after their name ABR, GRI and such means that they have additional education. Which is a good thing. It means that they take pride in their work. good luck
0 votes
Heather Paul, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Sat Oct 8, 2011
Hello Carlos, firstly stick to higher a Realtor, not just a Real Estate Agent, there is a significant difference. One mainly is that a Real Estate Agent that is not a Realtor does not have access to the MLS "Multiple Listing Service", as well as Realtors are held to a much higher standard as they have to abide by specific rules and regulations. Next, I would search here on Trulia, all of these people that are answering questions in your area, specific work in your area and will be able to provide you with the help you need when it comes to selling your home or buying your next home. Just a tip, if you are searching here on Trulia, start with the agents that have a PRO after there name, they are experts in the area.

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Aug 22, 2011
Consider interviewing in person a few local agents from different realty companies, then choose the one you like best. Ask about scheduling around your needs, who will choose the properties to be seen, can you expect updates on new listings and recently sold properties, and how often will communication occur, etc. Ask about current sales in your areas of interest, negotiating strategies, etc.; choose your agent with care, having designations after one's name, does not necessarily mean better....
0 votes
Abu Musa, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Aug 18, 2011
When you are ready to buy you need a realtor who is number 1. a grate negotiator and know the market value of the area ,that's the way you can make sure the best price for your purchase . Number 2. who is the expert for the area so he will know all the inventory, so he will be able to find your dream home as quickly as possible.Number 3.Who is honest, sincere,experienced,knowledgeable and pay attention to all detail so you will get the real estate service you need.

When you are selling you need an agent who is an aggressive marketer because in this market place exposure is important, more exposure mean more buyers more buyers mean more offers more offers mean highest price for your property.Also you need to consider above mention qualities along with who is always there that mean your realtor has to be easy reachable for you and your counterpart. I hope you get some specific idea. If you have more questions fell free to call me I will be happy to assist you.Thank you.
0 votes
Doug Anderson, Agent, Kenosha, WI
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Hi Carlos I agree with with everybody.It comes down how you feel about the person.If your comfortable with them.Your buying something you might live in for the rest of your life you just dont want anyone selling you that home.I recommend you to interview several agents and choose the one you feel comfortable with.
Thanks for your time
Doug Anderson
Weichert Realtors Precision
0 votes
Lynda Holland, , 31088
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Carlos, call different agents in your area and visit with them ask questions and get to know them. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with. Make sure they listen to you. The letters means a lot to the the agents that have them.
Lynda Holland
0 votes
Don Reinhardt, , 85050
Thu Aug 18, 2011
Talk to your circle of trusted friends and family. You'll be AMAZED at how many of them have stories about good and bad experiences with realtors. By starting there, you will feel more comfortable contacting their referrals. Another fun thing to do is visit open houses and feel out the agent conducting the open house. Agents on an open house are knowledgeable about the surrounding area as well as the particular house they are sitting on... that is, a good agent is. There is nothing like a "live" interview on an open house to find out what makes one agent different from another. Some sit there and want to qualify every warm body that walks in. The good agents will make you feel Welcome, Comfortable, and will be good LISTENERS, and they will answer your questions professionally.
0 votes
Kris Pearson, Agent, Minneapolis, MN
Thu Aug 18, 2011
The agent you chose makes all the difference in the world and yes each designation reflects different experience. Your relationship is with your agent more than with the company they represent. Ask friends and collegues about their knowledge of local agents or if you cannot find an agent through recommendations, find a real estate company that has proved to provide great customer service or won awards.

Bottomline, if you are not comfortable with your agent, the trust you need in developing a working relationship will not be there.
0 votes
Rachel Damma…, , Westminster, CO
Thu Aug 18, 2011
I recommend asking friends and family if they know a Realtor they recommend. You can also interview a couple. Once you have one in mind, check your local real estate commission to make sure they don't have any complaints. There are a lot of Realtors out there with different personalities. Make sure you work with one that is experienced and trustworthy and will give you the time you deserve.
Good Luck!
0 votes
Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Thu Aug 18, 2011
You pick an agent based on how well you work with the agent and how much you trust that agent. The alphabet soup attached to their names is just a plus. It usually denotes additional training or affiliation with a group of other agents, but it shouldn't be the only deciding factor when selecting an agent.
0 votes
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