Buying A Home: Tips on Finding an Agent

On the previous post, we discussed if you should hire an agent or not. And let’s say you have decided that hiring an agent is the right path for you to help you with the buying process, so the next question is how do you find one? Below are some of the useful tips that can help you find your real estate agent:

Gather referrals from friends or families.
The very first thing that we need to do is gather the referrals on. Wouldn’t you want to do business with professionals that provided great service to your friends and families? The referral of our friend or families sometimes carry more weight that what you see in the commercial and testimonials as you may not know if these are paid or fictional. One caveat though, your friends or families might be getting some kind of referral fees so make sure that they actually acquired the services of an agent and they have great experienced with them.

Check your local listing
If you cannot get referrals from your friends or families, the next step would be to look at the advertising on your local listing or go to the National Association of Realtors listing. Most brokers and agents have their own websites so you can also check what they are selling, or their client’s testimonials.

Check their credentials.
Make sure that they are realtors and are licensed by the state. Do not do business with unlicensed agents who are just using their broker’s license. These are probably people who are in the early stages of getting their license or someone who are just good with sales but still has not passed the licensing requirements. In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to check how many houses they have sold, what affiliations they belong to, if they have done anything for the community, etc. You can also check if they have a GRI–Graduate of the REALTORS® Institute, or CRS–Certified Residential Specialist professional certifications.

Make sure they specialize on what you are looking for
When hiring an agent, make sure that you hire someone who specializes on what you need. For example, if you are interested in buying HUD homes, find an agent who specializes in HUD homes. Or, if you want to buy short sale or foreclosure homes, make sure that agent has plenty of experience dealing with short-sale or foreclosure homes because the process is totally different from buying traditional homes. In addition, you may want to have an agent who is familiar in the area that you are looking for.

Some Questions to ask your agent:

  • How long have you been in Real Estate business?
  • Do you work full-time or part-time in the business?
  • Are you familiar with the area that we are looking for?
  • How many home sale transactions were you involve with last year?
  • What is the average home price that you sold last year?
  • Do you normally work with sellers or buyers?
  • How many buyers do you currently work with?
  • How many sellers do you currently work with?
  • Could you provide me with 4 or 5 buyers you have worked with as references?

Photo credit: IM Coach


    1. I think it’s very important to look for a balance between experience and hunger for business. I made the mistake a few years back (though I didn’t know it at the time) of getting an agent that was very well-regarded and was doing great business. It seemed great to be going with a well-known agent with a lot of visibility and experience.

      The problem is that while HE was doing great business, MY home was not a top priority of his. He had bigger ticket inventory to move on, so it didn’t appear that his focus was there on my home, to the level I would have liked. The results showed, as the house was unsold for quite a while.

      I then switched agents, and ended up going with another group that had some experience, had a lot of common sense, and even more hunger to sell the home, based on their proactive moves.The result: the house sold.

      Just speaks to really considering all angles when looking at an agent.