How to Find a Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

When considering buying or selling a home, it’s essential you get a real estate agent on your side. Of course, not all real estate agents are the same. Whether buying or selling, you’re taking on a significant and impactful life change. Having someone you know, like and trust on your side is critical. How do you find someone who knows the ins-and-outs of real estate in your area, who puts your needs before theirs, and who you enjoy working with? Here’s what you need to know…

The Basics

A great realtor can ensure you get top dollar for your home, save money on a purchase, and have a smooth and easy process. The difference between two realtors can be the difference in how much you end up paying or netting in the transaction. As we know, buying and selling real estate is a big and often emotional process. It can also be a long process, and imperative to choose someone you know, like and trust.

Agent vs. Broker

A real estate agent is a licensed expert, equipped to assist in the purchase or sale of property. Generally, the agent represents one side of the transaction, except in specific instances of dual representation which is disclosed and confirmed by both parties. The agent is paid a commission upon closing. A broker, in contrast, is a real estate agent who can employ other agents. Brokers can also act in the same way as agents but can work independently. Brokers also receive a commission from the transaction and from the agents who work with them. Whether representing a buyer or seller, agents and brokers have the fiduciary duty of putting the clients needs before their own.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

When speaking, people often use real estate agent and realtor interchangeably. While all realtors are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are realtors. A realtor is a broker or licensee who belongs to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Realtors pay annual dues to the NAR and receive exclusive access to national and global real estate data.

Buyer’s Agent vs. Listing Agent

A buyer’s agent is the agent who represents the client purchasing a property. The buyer’s agent gets paid on the close of a sale, typically by the selling side. The listing agent is the agent who helps clients sell a property. The selling agent receives a commission that is a percentage of the sales price, agreed by seller and agent at the signing of the listing agreement. Upon closing of the transaction, the listing agent gives a percentage (usually half) of their commission to the buyer’s agent.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

In any given area, there are usually hundreds of qualified professionals. So, how do you choose?

Experience is Everything

Experience really is everything. You not only want an agent with real estate experience, but you also want someone with experience in your specific type of real estate and the area in which you are looking. For example, if you are searching for luxury homes in Marin County, you will want to find an agent who deals with the luxury market in Marin County and has been involved in numerous real estate transactions in the area. Many agents also have a niche, whether property type or area. Find out who has experience with your desired property type and area.

Does your Agent Have an Assistant?

Most experienced agents work with multiple clients at a time. Timely communication is an essential ingredient in any agent/client relationship. From home preparation, to staging, to pricing, and negotiating, agents wear many hats throughout a transaction. Agents with assistants have more hands-on deck and are able to run the ship more smoothly while managing multiple transactions at the same time. If you find an agent who works with an assistant or a team, you’re in luck. You have more resources and experts on your side.

What Will Their Commission Be?

The standard agent fee is 3%, which is half of the 6% that comes from the sale price. It is important you have this discussion upfront with your agent so that expectations are set and you’re both on the same page.

What Do Their Testimonials Say?

Testimonials are a great way to research your agent and learn how they’ve helped other clients. You can generally find an agent’s testimonials on their personal websites and Yelp, Google, or Redfin, Zillow etc. Word of mouth goes a long way toward lending credibility to your agent.

Things to Look for in a Buyer’s Agent

Usually, a real estate agent will work on both purchases and sales, but they embody different roles for those different functions. A buyer’s agent, for example, will help you find and schedule showings as you search for a home. When you find the one you want, they negotiate the price, ensuring you get the best deal.

Find Homes in Your Price Range

The buyer’s agent will find you homes in your price range that meet your needs. They will go over a list of what you require in your next home and help you understand what is available on the market now. They will stay on top of what is new to the market and coming soon. Certain agents have access to off-market and pocket listings. This will increase your potential of finding the perfect home.

Negotiations Make the Deal

An experienced agent will know how to get you the best deal on the home you want to purchase without paying too much with a high offer or losing the home entirely on a low offer.

Objective, Realistic Expectations

One of the great things about a buyer’s agent is that they will remain objective and help you set realistic expectations on what to look for, what to offer and what will win you the property. We already said buying is an emotional process and emotion increases when you find the perfect property. Think of your agent as your rock. They have your best interest in mind and will work to win you the property of your dreams.

Things to Look for in a Seller’s Agent

Good seller’s agents are experts on getting your property sold for its highest market value. They have an innate understanding of the current market and comparable properties. They understand the buyer pool and what your buyer is looking for. They are focused on getting you top dollar and not leaving money on the table.

Effectively Market Your Home

A selling agent’s priority is to market your home in the most effective way possible. Many homes need to be prepped for the market and a good seller’s agent knows how to add value to your home so that it’s ready for buyers. Everything from improvements, inspections, photography and staging falls under their umbrella and your agent should be able to work within your budget to get your home looking its best and ready for the market.

Honest Approach to Improving Your Home

Your agent should be an expert in your market. Ideally, they’ve worked with many buyers and sellers in your area and understand exactly what sells. Sometimes repairs, upgrades, and fixes are needed to best present your home to buyers and ultimately get you top dollar. Listen to your agent. The goal always is to get you the best value for your investment.

Objective, Realistic Pricing

As stated above, a seller’s agent should be an expert in your market. They will know the pricing history of your home and comparable homes in the area. Each market is different, and your agent will consider all factors to get your home sold for the most money on the quickest timeline. Realistic pricing is key to get your home sold in your timeline.

Educated In Your Market

Your listing agent should be highly educated in your market. They should know what comparable homes sell for, the selling points of your home, neighborhood, and city.

Applegarth + Warrin: Your realtors for Marin County and San Francisco

Born and raised in the Bay Area, the Applegarth + Warrin team brings a lifetime of expertise and experience to their clientele in luxury real estate in San Francisco and Marin. With a wealth of happy clients and testimonials to back them up, Applegarth + Warrin is here to help you buy or sell your next home in San Francisco or Marin County.

Work With Us

Known for their discretion, uncompromising quality, and an elite level of service, the team of Applegarth+Warrin has assisted with the buying and selling of the San Francisco Bay Area’s finest homes.

Follow Us on Instagram