How to Choose the Best Real Estate Agent for Your California Home Search

If you’re looking to buy a new house in the complicated landscape that is the California real estate market, you’re likely already shopping around for a real estate agent. This guide will detail how to go about finding the best agent to land you your dream home.

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When searching for a realtor, be sure to ask trusted friends and family members for referrals.

Ask For Referrals

A good place to start is to think of any friends who have recently bought or sold a home. Ask them which real estate agent or company they used, the details of their experience and whether or not their experience was a good one. Don’t be afraid to ask other people you interact with on a regular basis as well – your dentist, your hairdresser, your trainer. Anyone you can think of might have a good suggestion for you.

Search Online Databases

The California Bureau of Real Estate should be your first stop. Their site has all sorts of helpful information for people looking to buy and sell property in the state of California, as well as the definitive database of registered real estate agents in the state. You can not only search for agents but also verify their licensure. Other common real estate sites, like Realtor, also have a very sophisticated search engine to help you find realtors as well as properties currently available for sale.

Check Online Reviews

Online reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, but major real estate sites like Zillow allow users to leave their thoughts about experiences with a particular real estate agent. Yelp is another good source to search for local real estate companies.

Drive Around

Agents that are particularly active in the area should be a target in your search. For example, if a specific agent or company shows up time and again on for sale signs in your neighborhood or in the area where you wish to buy, that means they likely have significant experience in that particular area and might be of more help to you.

It's normal to interview a realtor before hiring one.
It’s normal to interview a realtor before hiring one.

Conduct Interviews

Unlike other types of service contractors, it’s much easier to interview real estate agents and even expected. When selling your existing home, have them come over to your home, examine it, give their professional opinion on what improvements should be made and then sit down and talk with them. In each interview, come prepared with a list of questions you wish to ask them. Ask them to state what they will do to ensure your home sells quickly and for the highest value.

When buying, this step isn’t as straightforward, although you can likely meet the agent at your current residence or their office, or even set up a meeting elsewhere. Also, come prepared with a list of questions as well as a pretty solid description of what you’re looking for.

Go With Your Gut

In the end, you’re going to have to make a decision. Of all the agents you looked into, which ones impressed you the most? Which ones seemed to have the most experience, particularly in buying or selling the type of property you are looking for? Which one did you like personally and will enjoy working with the most? Take all of this into consideration, as well as the tangible facts, and you’ll be able to choose the best real estate agent for your needs. Choosing the right agent will help ensure you can move into your new home quickly!

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