What is the best way to pick a realtor?

Asked by , San Antonio, TX Sun Feb 8, 2009

How do I know the experiance level? How do I know if he/she will really give the time to find my house? I have heard it is very important to find the right realtor. What is the differences in realtors?

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Maggie Keats, Agent, Port Washington, NY
Tue Feb 10, 2009
Choosing a realtor is no different than choosing any other professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant.
Ask friends, family and neighbors you respect for referrals. Do your due diligence. If you are new to an area and don't know anyone to ask, interview several realtors and ask the broker of record to recommend someone with proven experience. After you have done your homework, trust your instincts. Your relationship with your realtor will be an intimate one. This is a big, and an important purchase: you should work with someone who understands your goals, needs and wants, and with whom you can work as a partner.
2 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue Feb 10, 2009
Matt, I feel the same way about "testimonials". Many people base their decision largely on the testimonials they read on a Realtor's home page.

And while I'm sure they're all legitimate testimonials (I know mine are)... keep in mind that no Realtor is going to show you anything but raving reviews. I'm surely not going to show you a letter from an irate client, and will likely not publish a lukewarm testimonial.
2 votes
Matt Stiglia…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Sun Feb 8, 2009

My thoughts? First, ask around friends and family...referrals are a great source. Of course, what works for your best friend might not work for you. So even with the referral, talk to the potential agent. Think of it as an interview. They want your business and you want to know they'll take good care of you. You can check license information on the TREC website - http://www.trec.state.tx.us/ - this will give you some info, but not the complete picture. This will at least help you understand how long they been licensed, what broker they are affiliated with, and what education they have received. Of course, I've seen well educated agents with years of experience perform some pretty bad work and the same goes for brand new agents - its really all a personal question of performance amongst a lot of individuals.

What it really comes down to is: comfort level between you and your agent, trust level between you and your agent, and the knowledge and know-how to get the job done right for you. A local agent who knows the areas you want to look in (San Antonio in this case) is important as well.

I encourage you to speak with several local agents. Listen to what they say and how they say it. Are they the kind of person you can feel a trust level with? Are you comfortable speaking to them (remember, you need to communicate with your agent as much as they need to communicate with you)? If neither of these exist between you, then all the experience and education in the world is going to make you feel like you made the right choice.

I've worked with brand new agents (a week into their career) and very experienced agents in my own buying and selling (before I became an agent) and the brand new agent did a great job, one of the experienced agents did a great job, and the other experienced agent - was absolutely terrible. So its not just about experience (in my opinion).

Me, I haven't been an agent for many years (in terms of licensing, I've been licensed a year this April), but I concentrated most of last year on building my education and training (especially since it was a slower market by the time I felt I was ready to really dive in). I've tagged along with one of the top agents in our office to learn from him. It didn't pay the bills, but it certainly was some of the best education I could have.

Everyone is different, so I definitely stress that you find that magical comfort level for YOU. Know what you think is important and seek that out. Its out there - we're a lot of different people with different styles of conducting our business, so you will see that you can find whatever suits you out there.

Good luck and let me know if I can ever be of any assistance or if you have more questions.

Web Reference:  http://www.mattstigliano.com
2 votes
Rebecca Shane…, , Dallas County, TX
Wed Feb 11, 2009
Your not just picking a Realtor you are picking the Company. Ask the Realtor about advertizing--what do they and their company do? Do they have any ideals that will help you sell your home in todays market.
Do you like them? Most Companys will offer the same things, but you will have to work with this Realtor for 3-6 months to get your home sold. Ask your self is this who you want to spend time with?
Don't go with an agent that tells you everything you want to hear, get one that will tell you the truth.
Lastly, just because you do not see their name in your area does not mean they are not the agents bringing the buyers, so ask...
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Feb 11, 2009

We like the in the trenches approach....you can tell a lot about an agent when you see them in action and interacting with people. Consider attending area open houses. Many buyers and sellers find their real estate professionals through thi means.

Good luck
1 vote
Bryan Waser, Agent, Frisco, TX
Tue Feb 10, 2009
I don't think anyone touched on this... I know a number of Realtors who talk about their years of experience, but they sell 3-4 homes/yr. I would suggest you get one who is moving $10-12M year in volume. That will tell you they 1) are really full time agents and 2) know how to move property and, as a result, they have more experience in one year than the former might have in 30 years. 65%+ agents are part time.
1 vote
Matt Stiglia…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Tue Feb 10, 2009
Alan - That was my point exactly. While I'm not saying anyone's lying (I sure hope they're not as that's not a good start to finding an agent), I spent 14 years in the music industry watching PR firms craft images, spin news stories, and make people look good (too bad they could never make us look good, haha). I just don't want anyone to think that an agent's bio is the be all end all of what an agent is about. It might give you some nice insight into the person (for instance mine mentions why I got into real estate) I don't think it spells out how great or how experienced they are.

So how many "irate" letters do you have then? Haha.
Web Reference:  http://www.rerockstar.com
1 vote
Matt Stiglia…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Mon Feb 9, 2009
I had to disagree with something I just read here. Frances mentioned looking up someone's biography on their website in order to look for an experienced agent...I wouldn't (personally) use this as how to pick anyone for any job. A bio is self written and although I would like to believe that everyone is writing from their heart, I have read more canned bios that really are no indication of an agent's abilities. Much like a press release for a celebrity, the goal of a bio is to paint the best picture possible. I'm not saying a bio is a bad thing, just that I wouldn't rely on a bio to find an experienced agent (I know many agents who didn't even write their own bios).

Just putting in my two cents on that.

Other than that, I agree with a lot of what's being said here (especially Alan May - haha).

Web Reference:  http://www.mattstigliano
1 vote
Frances Ross, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Mon Feb 9, 2009
Look for an experienced agent by looking up their biography at their website. Choose someone who knows the subdivisions around the city so you can compare what is available. Get one who sells at least 20 homes per year. Be sure the agent will actually be working with you and not an inexperienced agent on their team. Ask them to recommend a couple of loan officers so you can compare financing products available. It is good to choose one that is a certified residential specialist (CRS) as they have more training, a certain number of required sales, and more experience. A Broker associate also has more training and experience.

Make sure you have a good rapport with the agent; if not ask that agent to recommend another good agent. Give the agent as many details about your needs, timing, and price or payment wanted.

Francesross.com cell 210-685-7000 San Antonio, Texas
Web Reference:  http://francesross.com
1 vote
Ronda Allen, Agent, Plano, TX
Sun Feb 8, 2009
Valorie is right. With Realtors, it isn't so much how long they've been in business, but how they interact with the client. If you don't have a good rapport with the first agent you meet, be honest and let them know. We know that every customer we encounter isn't going to be a good match for us personally. But, good agents know other good agents, and won't hesitate to hook you up with one you might like better.

If you have to do all the searching for homes yourself, and provide them with the list of homes you want to see, then you aren't getting real estate services. We're the expert in the housing market. We should find the homes for you to preview. If you are doing all the legwork, move on.

If the agent isn't listening to you and taking you to homes that truly match your wants and needs, then move on. Good agents listen well and don't just drag you from house to house and ask your opinion.

Mix it up when searching for agents to interview. Find one through a personal referral. Find another touring internet sites like trulia.com, realtor.com, homes.com, etc... Find another by walking into a local real estate office where you see cars coming and going and work being done.
1 vote
Mission Viejo…, , Mission Viejo, CA
Sun Feb 8, 2009
Make sure the agent puts your needs and wants first. That they listen to you, on price, location and what you can afford. Be involved with everything and ask all the questions you want. It is your money that is being spent.
1 vote
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Sun Feb 8, 2009
Get a referral from a friend.

This is tough about how to know how much time they will spend with you. Just because they are experienced does not mean they will give you the time of day.

You might interview 3 and have some questions prepared to ask each of them.
Will I deal only with you?
What lenders do you recommend and not recommend and why?
How many homes will I need to see to find the right one?
How many homes on avg do your clients see before finding the right one?
How will I know when I found the right one?
What's your sales to list price ratio for buyers?
What do you offer that others realtors dont?

There are LOTS of differences in Realtors. Think of some questions that are important to you and ask them.

Good luck.

If you need a referral to an excellent realtor or 3 excellent ones you can interview, please let us know if we can assist you.

Bruce Lynn
Prudential Texas Properties
Web Reference:  http://www.teamlynn.com
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Feb 8, 2009

Difference in realtors are ones who are willing to work around your personal and professional obligations who are not just "open doors" where you can speak with with reasonable time of day or evening.

We interview our clients, obtain their specifciations, area of town and etc, when we forward properties narrowed the field down fits your short / long term goals for home ownership.

Realtor is also a professional who can tour home with you determine by looking if there is potential problems such as foundation issues, prevents you wasting money in middle of sales offer option period. Our clients know I am also a general contractor on my properties I point out cost of remodel where purchase products, research investigation of home prior submitting an offer.

You need pre-approved prior to looking for a home all sales offer are submitted with lender approval.

Lynn A. Crosby ~ National Featured Realtor
"...Specializing in Residential, Commercial Properties and Loans..."
Dallas Realtor -
The Michael Group "Dallas Business Journal 08' list top realtors"
Dallas Loan Officer - Homewise Lending
Dallas Real Estate Office: (972) 699-9111
Dallas Real Estate Website: http://www.lynn911.com 60,000 listings Dallas homes for sale
1 vote
Jason Campbe…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Fri Sep 9, 2011
LOL... My fellow agents will hate me for this one!!

Here are the TOUGH questions you need to ask....

#1 - How long have you been in the Real Estate Business?
#2- Can you show me on paper how many homes you have sold in the last 12 months?
#3 - Do you own your own home now, or do you yourself rent?
#4 - Why should I use you, instead of another agent? What makes you the right choice?
#5 - How much actual hands on knowledge do you have about mortgage lending, and various programs?
#6 - Do you have references I can call right now?
#7 - Do you have a team, or are you the Lone Ranger?
#8 - Can you show me your stats... I'd like to see on paper what your percentage is on List price Vs. Actual Sales Price (See how aggressively they work to save their clients money)
#9 - Do you work Real Estate FULL TIME or do you have another job?
#10 - How much of your business comes from referrals, and again... may I call some of them as references?
#11 - How many homes have you personally bought and sold?
#12 - How many actual sales have you done in your entire career?

Ouch! Most Realtors will cringe when faced with such questions... I learned about 15 years ago.... If you don't have really SOLID answers to those questions, and you can't back up everything in writing.... You might as well put an application in at McDonalds...

Usually when I pull out the stats, and answer the tough questions, and hand out references... I hear something along the lines as "WHOAH! You don't mess around do you?" :)

On one point... I am going to disagree with my fellow agents... I would not really rely too heavily on family and friend referrals... 82% of people polled said they would never use the
agent they worked with again! 71% of people made referrals to agents only because it was the only person they knew that was a Realtor, but didn't have any idea if they were good ornot.
Buying a home is not like buying a loaf of bread. It's your largest investment.

What you really want on the buyer side is this... Someone who is a go-getter type. You want a really Tactful Vulture. You want someone who is willing to negotiate hard to get you the best
price, get the seller to pay your closing costs, get the seller to make repairs, anything they can do to get you a better deal. They need to know about all the lending programs out there..
You don't want to miss out on a program you might qualify for simply because your agent was not aware that the program was out there! Have they done bond programs? Texas Vet, NACA, HIP, PIC, HART,
or other City, County, or National down payment assistance programs? Do they know how USDA works and which homes qualify and which ones don't? Can they show you on paper how many of these
programs they have actually used and their buyers have closed?

You will find that not very many can answer these questions, and vast majority of them have no clue about half of the programs I just mentioned...

But.. that should give you enough to make you dangerous :)

Jason C Campbell
Realtor / Mortgage Loan Officer
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.SAHomeExpert.com
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Mon Mar 23, 2009
"Watch out for those who have a "canned" sales pitch. "

I totally agree......................
0 votes
Dominick Dina, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Mon Mar 23, 2009
Mr Home Buyer,

Some good thoughts already presented by my fellow professionals. One point that must be made:

Not all real estate agents are REALTORS® , a title only bestowed on those who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and subscribe to their Code of Ethics. This is an important distinction.

Second, picking a real estate agent is a personal matter. The size of their company does not speak to their professional competence. Talk with friends and family and ask about their experiences and their recommendations first.

Next, talk with several and see which one feels right. You have the ability to size people up from the appearance and their speech. Ask probing questions and then make a decision. Watch out for those who have a "canned" sales pitch.

Hope this helps.

best of luck,

Dominick Dina
0 votes
Don Reser, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Sun Mar 22, 2009
Wow great question and not sure that you have the answer yet.

I guess one issue to me is will they guarantee your satisfaction?

There are tremendous differences in Realtors. You might ask for testimonials or references.

Don Reser
210 473-0999
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue Feb 10, 2009
Yo, Josh

Nah... I just decided that I should add my real name to the mix, and left "ELV!S" so that people would be able to link my real name, with some of my prior advice.

besides, I'm waiting for Priscilla Presley to contact me, about the use of the Elvis name. I'm anxiously awaiting that call.
0 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Tue Feb 10, 2009
Good evening entlemen...

Elvis.. I haven't seen you around on here in a while.. The last time I was on a thread with you; you were simply known as Elvis. Did someone from Elvis' infringement department kindly ask you to add more than Elvis to your profile? :) lol Matt.. always a pleasure to see your additions here.. if anything we need to grab a beer sometime!! :)

You both are hitting the key element I was trying to get to throughout the lengthy reply I posted here and that is.. it's crucial to have the combination of BOTH reading the profile and interviewing the agent personally! Obviously if the Realtor has a canned testimonial or an embellished one; then you'll really find out the truth when you are doing the interview process by quizzing them and challenging them on their public profile. And again, our public profiles aren't designed to have all of flaws like Elvis's irate client experiences in there (lol) or our major disappointments in our past, but that's the beauty of INTERVIEWING the agent... ask them about their flaws... if they have a hard time answering that or try to come up with some ridiculous corny response like "my major flaw is that I'm just one mortal man and I can't service ALL these clients that want my top notch service".. umm... gag me w/ a spoon! lol.. I've actually heard a similar version of that used a year ago by an agent I overheard at Starbucks... laughed my butt off!

We all make mistakes, so I feel that the best agents are the ones that can openly admit that, BUT also show and prove to you how it's made them better and how they've figured out not to make the same mistake again!
Web Reference:  http://www.eXposedHomes.com
0 votes
Josh M. Boggs, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Sun Feb 8, 2009
Hey there noworries,

Good to see you back on here again. I do hope that through all of this at the minimum, you've found Trulia and all of the agents on here to be very helpful in your up and coming real estate needs?

According to a recent article in the UFC monthly the best way to pick a Realtor now a days is put about 4 of them inside a ring, lay your pre-qualification letter and a blank signed buyer's rep in the middle of the ring and then let them go at it until one of them can walk away conscience... winner is your champion! :)
Ok, perhaps that may be a bit barbaric, but what I'm getting at is; you've just got to talk to a few and find out which one you are ultimately comfortable w/ that can make you successful and happy. Every single Realtor has their own different approach to taking care of their clients, so it's almost like a matching game. Perhaps; that will be the next cool Realtor website.... Realtormatch.com:
Josh's profile:

Umm.. I like long walks on the beach, playing basketball, one-story all brick homes really are my some of my turn-ons and I don't really like clients that cheat on me w/ other Realtors...

Obviously I enjoy life and making the real estate experience fun while being successful and I really try to incorporate that into my client's experience which is probably why I've attracted quite a few very happy clients directly from these forums, but I'm also sure I've turned away a number of them too because they would rather be more dry and direct and I'm not the flavor of Kool-aid they're looking for. :)

Try calling a few of the ones you want to talk to and really grill them on what's important to you; you will find what you're looking for. Also, Matt pointed out the TREC website to find out how long they have been licensed. I'd also add to that you need to check out that Realtor's website and their profile. I've usually found that now a days, if the Realtor isn't willing to let everyone know up front who they are and what their results are; then that's a possible red flag!

Happy Realtor Hunting!
God Bless,
Web Reference:  http://www.eXposedHomes.com
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sun Feb 8, 2009
An excellent answer from Mr. Stigliano... who I notice is also from San Antonio.

I'd start with him!
0 votes
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