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How to Find the Best Realtor & Right Real Estate Agent

Posted by Jeff Knox on Friday, March 16th, 2018 at 5:30pm.

how to find the best realtor

A Guide to Finding The Right REALTOR®

Selling and buying a house can be a stressful process, but finding the best Realtors doesn't have to be a difficult task. If you follow the guidelines that a growing number of savvy home sellers are adhering to, you too can find an agent that will sell your house for the maximum amount of money possible.

Key Takeaways For How to Find a Good REALTOR®

  • The best REALTOR® isn't necessarily a friend or family member
  • The cheapest Real Estate Agent may not save you money in the end
  • Just because a REALTOR® agrees with your list price doesn't make them the best
  • Be careful of the self-proclaimed "Local Expert" REALTOR®
  • The best REALTORS® aren't hard to reach
  • Top Real Estate Agents listen to their clients
  • Learn what questions to ask to find the best REALTOR® for you

 

Hiring Family Members or Friends May Not Equal The Best REALTOR®

I think we can both agree, there are few things more important in life than family and friends. Nevertheless, if you are looking to secure as much money as possible for your house, then you should not hire a real estate agent just because you know them. The blog Real Estate ABC notes:

"Friendship alone isn’t enough to establish a professional’s credentials. Use tough standards when selecting an agent, just as you would when hiring an attorney, a doctor, or an accountant to handle your taxes. A true friend will understand and appreciate that this is a business decision and will offer their credentials and expect to compete for the listing. Besides, if a problem or challenge develops while selling your home, do you want to risk damaging a friendship or family relationship?"

Of course, hiring a friend or family member sounds excellent in theory. Ideally, they will work hard to sell your house because they know you, and you get to give your commission to a friend as opposed to a stranger. The concept can work, but all real estate agents are not the same, and more experienced agents can secure thousands of extra dollars for your pocketbook.  

Just because you have a friend who is an agent, that does not mean they are the best REALTOR® for you.  Here's an excellent way to think about it - would you hire your friend as your REALTOR® even if they weren't your friend?  Thinking of it that way should lead you to the best real estate agent for you.

The Agent Who Has the Lowest Commission Sometimes Isn't The Right REALTOR® for You!

In theory, it sounds like a great idea to partner with an agent who has a very low commission. However, the blog Real Estate ABC disagrees with the opinion:

"You get what you pay for. Paying a cut-rate commission will often get you a sign in the front yard and placement in the Multiple Listing Service, but little additional effort from your agent. Realize that agents and real estate companies put up their own funds to market and advertise your home."

All things considered, it is important to remember that incentive plays a big part in sales. If you want to home to move quickly, then you need an agent who is actively trying to sell your house. Agents with lower commissions often make their living by taking on more customers, but that means they have less time to spend on your house. There is another factor to consider as well. Whenever a real estate transaction occurs, there are usually two real estate agents: the buyer's agent and the seller's agent. These two parties typically split the profits between themselves. Well, if the buyer's agent sees that your agent is earning a paltry commission, he won't be very motivated to earn his 50% (or whatever his share may be), and he will show his buyers other houses whenever the opportunity arrives.

Discount real estate brokerages and agents definitely have a place in the market.  However, and I think most discount agents would agree if they're being honest, their business models are quantity over quality.  They operate on trying to take as many clients and listings as possible which leaves very little time for much personal contact with clients.  It has been said that when listing a home, sellers will often have an average of 100 decisions to make during the sale of their home.  The decisions start when they decide to list the home - what agent is going to list their home?  Should they replace and fix items such as fogged windows, doors, repaint, replace the carpet, update the kitchen, update the bathrooms, etc...?  Most likely a discount broker simply will not have the time to coach you through what needs to be done in order to net you the most money. 

Bill Gassett with Re/Max Executive Realty wrote an excellent article titled - "Why a Real Estate Commission Split Matters."  We highly suggest you read this article if you are in the process of looking for an agent to list your home.  Bill speaks of common tricks and gimmicks used by discount real estate firms which are unknown by their clients, the sellers.

The more that your discount broker shorts the buyer’s agent on your home sale, the less likely that agent is to show his or her client your home. You are creating ill will in the pool of buyer’s agents, and this ill will can have disastrous effects on your home sale. Worst of all, you may not even be aware that any of this is going on. You may just be wondering why there is no one coming to look at your house.

Don't Automatically Think The Best REALTOR® is the One Agreeing With Your Selling Price

Some real estate agents tell you what you want to hear, instead of what you need to hear. On the surface, it might make sense to list your house at a high price, and see if any fish bite. However, this strategy carries surreptitious risk that could cost you money. You see, your house gets the most attention from agents and buyers when it is a brand new listing. After it has been on the market for a while, you start to look desperate, even if that is not the case. As a result, the offers that come in are typically below market value, and you may have to accept a price below what you could have gotten if you just listed your house at a price closer to market value in the first place.

A lot of agents will engage in the practice of telling you what you want to hear and then locking you into a long-term listing agreement.  When your home fails to sell and you eventually catch onto the fact that the agent misled you about the actual value of your home, you are probably going to want to change agents and price your home accordingly.  HOWEVER, remember that listing agreement you signed with your current agent?  Yeah, he or she doesn't have to let you out of that agreement.  It is a binding contract to list your home for the period of time specified within the agreement.  You're stuck with that agent for as long as the contract dictates.  This is a trick by the agent.  He or she has lured you into a listing agreement while knowing that (1) your home will not sell for the listed price and (2) you have no option other than to reduce the price of the home to make it sell... all while you have to stay with that current agent.

Unfortunately this happens a lot.  But even the best REALTORS® sometimes overestimate the value of a home.  When that happens, the top agents will bring you justifiable data and facts as to why a price adjustment is reasonable and best for you.  Don't automatically discard the agent who tells you the truth about the price of your home.  In all honesty, they're most likely saving you possibly months of frustration and potential heartbreak.  The best real estate agents will be able to layout a clear and concise argument as to why they feel you should price your home the way they suggest.  Listing prices should not be randomly selected.  There is a lot of data and psychology that goes into listing a home at a certain price.  Again, if you feel comfortable with this REALTOR®, you've most likely found the best agent for you.  Listen to them from an impartial viewpoint.

I've found that it is generally the case that the second or third listing agent will get the most attention from a seller, especially if that seller's home did not sell with prior listings.  That said, there is no reason to go through two or three listing agents, especially if the first one is presenting facts and logic for the way a home should be priced in the beginning.

The Best REALTOR® May Not Be The Self-Proclaimed "Local Expert"

The tools available to today's REALTOR® are endless.  Beyond what is available to the public, REALTORS® have access to a lot of in-depth technical advantages through our professional MLS.  Look, there are a TON of REALTORS® who have labeled themselves as "local experts," but that doesn't mean they're the best real estate agent for the job.  The "local expert" is more likely a marketing gimmick used by agents when they "farm" an area for business.  Farming is the practice of selecting one or more specific areas and bombarding those areas with flyers, postcards, telephone calls, and more.  The "local expert" has a nice ring to it when an agent is farming an area.

With today's tools, I can honestly say it takes me about 30 minutes to become familiar with an area, even if I've never sold there.  My professional MLS provides me many tools, data, graphs, and knowledge about any area I want to learn.  The best REALTORS® almost always operate the same way during a transaction - quality, professionalism, getting an excellent grasp on the area, and sticking to their plan of attack whether it is representing you as a seller or a buyer.

Just because an agent had a listing in one area of town does not make him/her the "local expert."  Be weary of those agents who call themselves the local expert, do some homework, and ask questions, as to why they believe they are the local expert.  You'll most likely find it was more for marketing than actual substance.

The Best Real Estate Agents Aren't Lazy

In my time of being an agent, I've heard from clients (and others) that the worst part of working with a prior agent was the lack of communication.  There are a variety of reasons people get into the real estate business.  However, one of the most overlooked parts of their jobs is that this is a business.

Good REALTORS® promptly answer emails, telephone calls, and text messages.  If you are having a hard time reaching your REALTOR®, you've got problems.  Your REALTOR® works for you and the best agents understand this.

Do not accept services from a lazy agent.

The Best REALTORS® Listen To Their Clients

One of the most common complaints I hear from the public is that a ton of REALTORS® seemingly don't listen to their clients.  Clients will attempt to describe to their agent what they want in a house, their budget, a list of "must-haves," and the area in which they want to live.  The most prominent complaint by buyers?  That their REALTOR® is showing them properties either outside of the area they want, or they are trying to get the buyer to increase their budget.  While I get that this would obviously be frustrating, the best real estate agents will explain to a client why they might be pushing homes in other areas, or get a buyer to try and spend more money.

Buyers often have a list of "must-haves" which, frankly, may not be found (or reasonable) within their budget.  This means that even though you think your real estate agent may not be listening because they are suggesting different areas (other areas may make it possible to find your must-haves within your budget) or suggesting you increase your price, the agent may be trying to help.  Sometimes to get must-haves within a particular area, a buyer will have to be willing to pay more money.

But, if an agent isn't explaining why they are suggesting other areas and you still feel like they aren't listening, it might be time to find a different agent.  The best Real Estate Agents do, in fact, listen to their clients.

Ask These Questions To Find The Best Real Estate Agent

  1. How long have you been a Real Estate Agent?  Most times becoming an excellent real estate agent comes with years of experience.
  2. What kind of license do you have?  The State of Texas issues two types of a Real Estate License - a Salesperson's License and a Broker's License.  A Broker's license means you can own a real estate firm and work for yourself.  A Salesperson's license means that you have to work for a Broker.  Often, a Broker will be a better bet for representing a client.  Brokers have more training and a higher type of license.  A Broker's license is the highest type of Real Estate License offered by the State of Texas.
  3. Do you attend home inspections with clients?  No way good REALTORS® skip home inspections.  This is the best time for both the REALTOR® and their client to learn in-depth issues about the home they are purchasing.  Repairs can be negotiated after a home inspection.  Any Real Estate Agent who does not attend the home inspection with you is doing you a major disservice.
  4. Do you charge me any fees like a transaction fee?  As a buyer, your REALTOR® representation should cost you nothing.  The seller pays the real estate commissions.  However, some Real Estate Agents have started charging buyers what they call "transaction fees."  I don't believe this is an ethical practice and it is an underhanded way to try and squeeze more money from a client.  We do NOT charge any fees to our buyer clients.
  5. When are you available to your clients?  We are responsive and available to our clients.  We are open seven days per week and, most days, you can reach us from approximately 8 am to 10 pm.  There is nothing more frustrating than using an agent who is regularly unavailable.  In fact, National Association of REALTORS® studies have shown that the most significant complaint from clients is lack of communication from their agent.

Contact us (Knox & Associates Real Estate Brokers at 972-342-0000) if you would like to learn more about finding the best Dallas Realtors to represent you in any purchase of a Dallas area home.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff KnoxJeff Knox is the Broker Owner of Knox & Associates REALTORS® in DFW and the creator of most of the content on KnoxRE. Jeff was initially licensed in 2004 and has held a Texas Real Estate Broker's License since 2009. Jeff and his team of REALTORS® work all across the entire DFW Metroplex helping both buyers and sellers with condos, townhomes and single-detached properties. Jeff may be reached directly at Jeff.Knox@KnoxRE.com

21 Responses to "How to Find the Best Realtor & Right Real Estate Agent"

Bill Gassett wrote: Great advice Jeff. So many people don't know what they are doing when it comes to choosing a real estate agent. I appreciate the link to my article on why the commission matters when selling a home.

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 1:46pm.

Jeff Knox wrote: Bill, no problem. You write very informative posts. And, the longer I do this, the more I have gone to an educational role with my clients. Clients appreciate being educated by Realtors about the buy or sale of a property. Nobody wants to be "sold" by agents just looking for the commission check. That's just a bad experience for clients.

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2015 at 1:51pm.

Alana wrote: Thank you for the excellent article. I teach staging, and your info is so helpful. No matter how well staged a property is, the Agent absolutely must be top notch in order for the property to move. Thank you for sharing this great information.

Alana, owner of A La Carte Design in Santa Fe

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016 at 1:42pm.

Jalu Sakti wrote: I think the point of all that you mentioned here is that it's important to find an agent that really does consult with you and find the best way to sell your home. Your price might not be the best price for your house and situation, so you want to find a realtor that will tell you those things and help you find a better solution. We are trying to look for a realtor to sell our home, by next month, so we'll watch out for this. Thanks for the help!

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2016 at 2:31pm.

Jade Brunet wrote: It is good to know that one should not necessarily hire the realtor with the lowest commission. Realizing that you may get what you pay for when it comes to buying or selling a home is important. Something else to think about would be to find a local realtor. This would provide you with the advantage of the agent knowing the area.

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2017 at 4:04pm.

Annika Larson wrote: Right now my husband and I are looking at finding a new home. We want to ensure that we have the right real estate agent by our side to help with this process. It's important that they are experienced as well as affordable. As you said, the lowest commission is not necessarily the best option. We will be sure to consider this as we find someone.

Posted on Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 2:14pm.

Sandra Hexner wrote: I've never thought of it that way. Having a low commission I thought was a great way to find the real estate agent for us. I want my money to be well spent for my home, not a person's help for just a moment. But you make a huge point that incentive plays a big part on how well that real estate agent will work for me and my situation. I'll keep that in mind as in my search.

Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017 at 2:00pm.

Ridley wrote: These are some great tips for finding a good real estate agent. My wife and I want to sell our home soon, and the sooner the better. We'll be sure to be wary of anyone with really low commissions, like you said.

Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 at 1:36pm.

Derek Dewitt wrote: My wife and I are thinking about buying our first home together but we aren't sure how to find a real estate agent. I like that you suggest finding a professional instead of a friend to help you out. I wouldn't want to risk ruining a friendship over a housing or pricing dispute so I think this is great advice. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 8:17am.

Max Jones wrote: My wife and I have been wanting to move into a new home that would allow our kids to attend better schools, as well as give our family a little more room. I'm glad that you talked about some things that I can do to choose a good realtor, and how you shouldn't just choose the lowest commission. I think its true that you get what you pay for, so paying less for a real estate agent could likely mean that we're not getting the help we could! Thanks for pointing that out!

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2017 at 9:30am.

Raisa Delima wrote: I'm glad you talked about not just going with the cheapest realtor in your area. I think real estate is an area where you really get what you pay for. I would want to get it right the first time by hiring a really good agent, no matter the price. They could actually save you a lot of money in the end!

Posted on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 at 3:43pm.

Raisa Delima wrote: I can definitely see how you get what you pay for when it comes to real estate. If you pay for a good agent, you will get a good agent. I need to tell my sister to read this blog. She is all concerned with finding the cheapest agent to work with, but she needs to know that cheapest isn't always best. If she finds one based off of things like reviews, I'm sure she'll get a good one to sell her home.

Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2017 at 6:40pm.

Raisa Delima wrote: That's a good tip to not just hire friends and family members as your real estate agent just because you know them. It's definitely better to do your research and find the right agent that knows the area and can help you stick to your budget. That way, you aren't limiting your options to just a few people that you already know. We are looking to buy a ranch property, so we'll have to keep all of this in mind. Thanks!

Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 at 1:03pm.

Derek Dewitt wrote: My wife and I are thinking about buying a new home soon but we aren't sure how to find a good real estate agent. I like that you recommend not just hiring friends and family because they don't have the credentials. We want to save as much money as possible and get a good deal so we'll be sure to stick with professionals. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on Monday, September 11th, 2017 at 8:49am.

Raisa Delima wrote: That's a good tip to not just hire a realtor because of their low selling price or the fact that they agree with your selling price. I think you need to really do your research and make sure that you get a high-quality agent that will really do all they can to help you, even if their commission price isn't the lowest one out there. Doing this will probably end up saving you time and money in the end, so it's worth it!

Posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 at 2:54pm.

Raisa Delima wrote: I really enjoyed your tip to not just hire a real estate agent just because you know them. You still need to do all that you can to find the right agent for you based on your own research. We will do that so we can sell our home quickly.

Posted on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at 7:58pm.

Earnest Watkins wrote: I like how you pointed out that a good realtor will listen to their client. I'm looking at hiring an agent to help me find my next home, and I can see how this would be important. A realtor that will listen and understand my needs and wants would definitely be the kind of person I'd want to work with.

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 at 9:04am.

Adam Camp wrote: Hi Jeff, thanks for assisting with great awaring keys while finding the ideal realtor. It will be very helpful in picking the best one. Keep posting.

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 4:52am.

Moira Blythe wrote: My husband and I are looking for a home! I appreciate your advice here to find a real estate agent who will be in constant communication with us because we want to find a home quickly!

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 10:28am.

Bethany Griffin wrote: I like that you suggested choosing a real estate agent that's been in business for a long time to make sure that you'll end up hiring a real estate agent that can provide excellent services to you. A close friend of mine is interested in finding a real estate agent that can help her buy a house in the best way possible. She wants to ensure a quality service, so I'll make her consider hiring a real estate agent that's experienced.

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 6:54pm.

Angela Duong wrote: This is a great article, Jeff. I see so many buyers and sellers choose to work with their friends and family that are real estate agents. Many of them only working in the business part-time, while they work another full-time job.

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2018 at 8:50pm.

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