1stTimerInVB, Home Buyer in Virginia Beach, VA

Should I use a bank-recommended Realtor?

Asked by 1stTimerInVB, Virginia Beach, VA Fri Feb 22, 2008

I'm in the early stages of buying my first home in Virginia Beach (or maybe Chesapeake) and have not committed to any Realtors in particular. I have considered working with a Realtor recommended by a friend-of-a-friend. On the other hand, my bank (specifically, the Loan Officer) suggests other Realtors. He cited those Realtors' high sales volume ("silver/gold/platinum" status, or something like that) and says that those Realtors often get the seller to pay all the closing costs.

An informal search in Google backs up the "platinum" claims by the bank, and I can't find anything for the other Realtor aside from some unrelated online newsletters.

Who can I really trust to get me what I want as the buyer?

Help the community by answering this question:


I think you'd do better to use an agent that comes with a personal referral from a family member, or trusted friend, who used them and liked them...

if you don't have that... the bank recommended agent should be one of the agents you interview, but not the ONLY one.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

There's nothing wrong with putting him/her on your list ...

Frank makes a good point .. there's more granite counter tops, free trips and new Callaway golf clubs "just appearing" at agents doors than any other time in real estate history .. it must be the alignement with Mars and Jupiter .l.o.l..

You need to find the top 5 in the neighborhood that you are looking to purchase in ... getting an agent from 10 or 15 miles away won't do you or them much good, they need to live and breath the area.

Then like anything else, interview each and everyone, remember they work for you - not the other way around. .. how long have they had their lic, some are part timers and have been for the last 10 years, get at least 7/8 referrals from each and call each and everyone of them .. find how many homes they've listed and sold, and sold doesn't count the ones in the brokers unit that they shared, specific sales.

There seems to be an inordinate amount of consumer complaints in that area, there's like 15 sites, so look long and hard - it's your money.


Good luck and happy hunting,!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
Here are three suggestions:

1) If you want to find out the skinny on an agent, Google them and see what you find.

2) Ask them for a list of all their buyer transactions over the past 6 months and contact those buyers to ask for a reference for that Buyer's Agent.

3) Check the VREB for any violations made by the agent.
Web Reference: http://www.LoudounStats.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
Platinum smatinum.
Numbers are really easy to manipulate. And quantity means nothing. I can't help you in VA Beach, so I get nothing out of telling you such. I recommend going to ActiveRain.com and reading the blogs of the VA Beach Realtors and see if you connect with any.

Also the bank tends to scratch the Realtors back, in order to get the same in reverse. They aren't allowed to give kickbacks, but they can give scratchbacks.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
Recommendations are great to get from people you trust who have used the agents they are referring to you. I recommend sitting down with at least two or three and have them explain to you how they will work for your business. Unfortunately agents who have these sales levels are not always the best agents but they may be. They need to be able and willing to do research to make sure you are not over paying. Good luck on your home search. Below is an article on buyer agency in VA.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
First off let me clarify the status' for you. In the Hampton Roads market, the gold, silver and platinum status is referring to the local Realtor Associations Circle of Excellence Awards that are given out every year for the Realtors who meet required sales volume for the previous year.

I would recommend doing some research of your own. What worked for your friend, may not work for you. For the best transaction, you want to really click with your Realtor.

Some things to keep in mind when interviewing.... Do they look like they love what they do? Are they up to date on technology? This makes a huge difference. There are tons of agents who can barely use the MLS.
Do they truely know about the area and can they compare cities? A lot of times people start out in one city and end up buying in another.
Do they have the resources to give you to make an informed decision?
How much personal attention are you going to receive?
How are they going to keep you informed during the transaction?
Choose a reputable company. In our area some of the best companies are locally owned and out sell the national companies.

You want your real estate transaction to go smoothly and almost effortlessly. How you interact with your Realtor will make all the difference.

I wish you the best of luck in buying your new home.

Angie Nishnick
Realtor, CSP
William E Wood & Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
The banker has given you a referral on a Realtor, let me ask you a simple question - is this a bank owned property (REO) or are you looking at property owned by the private sector? If you are wanting to buy a bank owned property, then that Realtor knows exactly how the bank operates and what they will take, how much closing costs are on the table, etc. and can get you to the table much quicker. Banks operate totally different than the rest. Or I would suggest you seeking out a Realtor that is well versed in REO properties.

If you are wanting to buy a home sold by an individual or new home construction, I suggest you test drive Realtors that come from highly recommended sources. Let them know (the Realtor) you are trying to find the right person for you and check out their credentials. If you are an internet savvy buyer, you want someone that understands your form of communication. Also, make sure the agent specializes in what you are wanting to buy. Lastly, make sure your personalities mesh well togehter as you are going to have to work with this person from showings to close. Once you have found the right person for you, it is okay to sign a buyer's rep agreement. You will both be more dedicated to each other then.

Happy home buying!!

Jo Shaner
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008
One think to consider with the loan officer referral is what is the nature of the relationship between the loan officer and the agent? Are their companies affliated and perhaps there is some financial reason for the recommendation. Interview buyers agents, your friends recommendation and the loan officer recommendations to see who you feel more comfortable with. What credentials do they have besides being a top producer? Check with a couple of their last few buyers and see if they were satisified with the services they received. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://cindyjoneshomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008
With the waving of my magic wand, I have now given all of you the coveted Super-Deluxe Platinum Rating. I will be delivering your gold statue in a week or so,(as soon as I have it bronzed) Feel free to let everyone know that you are now Platinum Realtors.

You see, first timer, it really means nothing. Oh, and if all you want is your closing costs paid, well heck, since the Banker is going to be the bulk of that charge, and since the banker is loaning you the money, then who is the REALTOR representing in your mind.......?????

I'll get your closing cost paid too. You might over pay for the home, but I'll get the closing costs taken care of. If that is all you need, heck, call me....It will be worth the trip (for me and my loan officer)

Go with your gut. Ask your friends and family who the like....go with that. If you do, then you get my extremely secret, but world famous, highly prized and largely coveted Super-Duper-Titanium-BUYERS Award! (not sold in stores)

Good luck and please write back and let us know what you decide.

Gary De Pury
Bay Vista Realty & Investments, Inc.
Chairman, Communications Committee
Director, Florida Association of REALTORS®
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008

Referrals are very good and if you trust your lender, then they are recommending this Realtor to you because they know they're honest, ethical, and will work in your best interest.

I also suggest obtaining referrals on your own from family or co-workers. If there just aren’t any referrals to be obtained, then I strongly encourage that you "interview" several Realtors by calling on agent ads and asking them to meet you to preview a listing.

Even when I first meet with a customer, I suggest they meet with several other agents as well, and then decide which agent to work with. The personality of the agent has a lot to do with your home buying experience. If you and an agent just don’t click, and you don't feel good about the agent, the politely move on.

I also suggest that you work with a buyer’s agent who is an Accredited Buyer Representative. Just as not every real estate professional is a Realtor, not every Realtor holds the ABR designation. An ABR designated Realtor specializes in assisting the home buyer, and rarely takes listings.

When you do find an agent you feel good about, then ask for some customer referrals as well. I personally have several “thank you notes” from previous clients that I am happy to share with prospective clients. And many of my previous clients will eagerly allow you to call them, and share their experiences about working with me.

There were many good suggestions in this thread that I agree with. But it does boil down to this: the more informed the home buyer becomes, the better the home buying experience.

I hope to be interviewed soon :)

Frank Biganski, Realtor ABR
(757) 303-0517
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008
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