Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Choosing the Right Agent to Help You!

Posted in Choosing a Realtor by Jeff Dowler on October 4, 2006

Here are some suggestions on finding the right Realtor to help you find your NEW HOME. Since you new to buying a home, having a Realtor you can trust to help you find your new home, and educate you thoroughly about the process, is critical. You will have lots to worry about and coordinate with your move, and working with an agent who does not understand your issues, nor care, is NOT going to be helpful.

1. I recommend working with an agent who is also a Realtor,not someone who is not. A Realtor is a real estate professional who is a member in good standing of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and, thereby, adheres to a Code of Ethics. Not ALL agents are Realtors, although many people use the terms interchangeably.

2. If you can, use someone who has been referred to you by someone you know and trust.  If you don’t have a referral, I recommend first checking the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) databasefor someone in the area. Why? Well, Realtors with the CRS designation (only about 4% of ALL Realtors in the US have this certification) have to take a series of advanced courses (most are 2-day) on a range of topics relevant to the real estate profession (e.g., seller and buyer strategies, technology, working with referrals, financial issues, marketing, etc.) AND they must meet fairly rigorous production requirements during a given period in order to be certified. So not only do you know they have significant education but they have experience in handling a number of transactions. Individuals with the GRI designation are also strong professionals. Do not make your decision, however, based only on the certification…nor on the name of the brokerage the Realtor works for. Also consider working with an agent who is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), and s/he will have specialized training on working with buyers and representing them, and is committed to that role.

3. If you do not have a recommendation or referral (probably true in most cases), do some research on the Realtor you are interested in to find out what you can about them – look at their website, find out what professional certifications they have, what services they can offer you, do they work in the area you are moving to (or interested in).

4. Some buyers like to interview  the person they are interested in, and you might want to consider talking to several agents before making a decision. (NOTE: If you leave a voice mail about why you are calling and it takes a long time for the agent to return the call, i.e., the next day or worse, I’d be VERY concerned about their responsiveness – not a good sign for the future).  You will want to know more about his/her experience, especially in working with first time home buyers, knowledge of the area, and more. But also pay attention to the personal chemistry.

More on this topic later.


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