Are you planning to buy or sell a home and need a qualified REALTOR to help?
Getting a recommendation from friends and neighbors can be a good way to learn about local REALTORS, and who is qualified to help you. If you have a referral from someone you trust, then perhaps you are all set
Sometime you need to do some research before you make a decision on who to hire. There are lots of ways these days to get the scoop on agents out there before decision time.
Here are some strategies to help make this task easier – the old way and the new.
THE OLD WAY
Search for agents on brokerage websites, like RE/MAX, Century 21, Keller Williams, Prudential, Weichert, ERA, Realty Executives and so on. They all have search functions but you will likely only get the demographic type of stuff – name, address, phone number, areas served, etc.
Search for agents on the major professional designation sites. CRS (for Certified Residential Specialists in Southern California) is the best in my opinion – or ask me for a referral if it’s outside North San Diego County where I live.
Search for agents on the local REALTOR boards or at the state level (e.g., California Association of REALTORS – C.A.R.) or even the national level on the National Association of REALTORs site.
These still work, but there is so much more information available that you really should know. So try some research the new way.
THE NEW WAY
Check them out on Google – you will be surprised how much, or how little, you might find on a particular agent. You can follow links to see more about marketing and how they do business on-line. If you don’t find them, or only see a little, that may be a good indicator the agent is not very Internet savvy, which will not be helpful to you. And from a marketing standpoint for your home sale, this is a problem. Have you seen a sign on a property of theirs? Google the address to see what you get. And are they using technology such as videos and websites in their on-line marketing.
Check for a profile on Facebook – not only might you learn about their experience but you may find recommendations from people you know who also know the agent, as well as recommendations from other professionals.
Check out their profile and professional resume on LinkedIn
Visit Agent websites . At a minimum, you should find an agent website with lots of information about how they do business, their services, and about them personally. If you are not impressed or can’t even find their site, that’s a big clue.
Are there great agents who are not blogging? Yes. My personal feeling is you will get a bigger bang for your buck with an agent who does. Blogs provide a wealth of information about the writer – their ethics and integrity, how they work, their knowledge, areas they service, community information, details about the housing market, and so much more. Reading an agent’s blog is also a good way to get to know them personally and develop a comfort level.