In 2022, the top three ways to find a realtor are as follows:
1. Get the most bang for your buck by using a free agent matching tool.
Matching services for agents Learn about your position and preferences, then compare and choose from local realtors from name-brand brokerages (think Keller Williams, Century 21, etc.). You can’t deal with any tulum mexico real estate you want because the company’s network is limited, but most companies provide lots of options (many have 10,000+ partner agents countrywide). You can also try multiple services for more alternatives because they’re all free and come with no strings attached.
Why they’re useful: Using an agent matching service is significantly faster and easier than doing your own research. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, and you should have your agent matches within a few hours. Because the biggest companies only work with top-rated agencies, you’ll only have a few options to choose from. Some even provide pre-negotiated discounts, which is a significant advantage (it’s difficult to negotiate lower rates on your own).
How to Decide: Stick with products that have built-in savings and good customer service to get the most bang for your buck. There are some shady, automated services with little to no quality control out there. Our top picks can be found here.
Bottom line: It’s a good idea to start here (see top agent matching brands). You can save a lot of money — as well as a lot of time and hassle — if you are paired with an agent you like.
2. Inquire with family and friends.
If you know people who have recently bought or sold a house in your region, getting realtor recommendations from people you know (family, friends, neighbors, coworkers) is another wonderful alternative.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: Using your personal network to find a realtor is a quick and simple process. It’s also your most reliable source of referrals. These are people who know you and care about your outcome, therefore if they had a poor experience with an agency, they are unlikely to suggest them.
Potential disadvantages: Just because a friend or family member suggests a realtor doesn’t imply they’ll be a suitable match for your needs or tastes. Before contacting their agent, ask the person who made the reference some basic screening questions. Furthermore, a personal referral is unlikely to result in any cost savings. If saving money is a high priority, we suggest starting with one of our top agent matching service recommendations.
Bottom line: It’s always a good idea to ask around for recommendations. Even if you receive a strong recommendation, you should still compare the agent to 1-2 others to ensure you’re receiving the greatest fit and value.
3. As a last resort, conduct your own online search.
You can conduct your own online search using agent locator sites such as Zillow and Realtor.com, as well as search engines like as Google, but we do not suggest it. There are too many selections on these sites, and there isn’t enough quality control, for you to make an informed decision quickly.
Use resources like Zillow and Google to check potential agents you’ve found from more reliable sources, such as asking individuals you know or using agent matching services. They make it simple to locate important information, such as sales figures and customer reviews, to help you make an informed selection.
Bottom line: A DIY web search can undoubtedly help you locate a decent agent; we simply don’t think it’s the ideal place to start. If you want to give it a shot, read our tips on how to effectively use agent finder tools and avoid common errors.
7 other methods for locating a real estate agent
Swinging by open houses in your neighborhood, whether you’re selling or buying, can be a terrific chance to meet local agents and conduct some quick face-to-face screening. Inquiring with family and friends or using an agent matching service are both less effective and productive than our top selections.
Sellers of real estate
Looking for an agent at an open house has two major advantages:
Because they’re listing a house similar to yours in your neighborhood, you know the agent or firm has relevant experience.
Someone else has already vetted them and trusted them enough to sell their home (though you should always do your own due diligence and compare to other choices).
Open houses also allow you to observe the agent in action and assess their skills and approach. You’ll be able to evaluate important factors such as:
- Do you think they did a good job prepping the house for showings?
- Is there a lot of foot traffic at the open house?
- What is the agent’s level of communication with potential buyers?
Buyers of houses
Because most listing agents also work with purchasers, attending an open house is a great way to meet potential realtors – and there’s no need to make an appointment ahead of time.
Because you know the agent is pretty active and someone thought they were legit enough to hire, the open house technique comes with some built-in verification.
You can utilize this time to discuss the home-buying process, area pricing trends, and assess the agent’s interpersonal abilities (personality, communication style, etc). You can also talk about the next steps, such as getting pre-approved with a mortgage (if necessary) and scheduling some house showings.
If you’re interested in purchasing the home, you can speak with the open house agent directly. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of dual agency before agreeing to let them represent you if they are the listing agent (rather than someone else from the same brokerage).
If you’re seeking to buy and have spoken with a lender, they may be able to suggest a local agent.
Lenders are a reliable source of referrals. It is in the lender’s best interest to find you a reputable agent so that you can actually close on a house. Lenders, like realtors, are only paid if and when a transaction is completed.
You should still double-check the lender’s advice. Some lenders are more concerned with keeping their business relationship with an agent (e.g., giving each other recommendations) than with your individual preferences or needs.
Online forums and discussion boards, such as Facebook groups and Nextdoor, can be useful for finding anything local, including real estate brokers. Check out the BiggerPockets forums if you’re looking for a realtor for property investing (or just some advice).
One of the main advantages of using internet forums is that you can acquire recommendations from locals who have (theoretically) no financial interest to do so, which adds legitimacy.
However, this method of searching can be inconvenient. There’s also no guarantee you’ll obtain a good referral from anonymous web sources or avoid getting biased counsel. Someone could, for example, be attempting to promote a family member or acquaintance as a favor.
If you have a special need or purpose, it might be worthwhile to look into some of these communities. However, asking friends or using an agent matching service will be far faster – and provide better quality control.
Many real estate brokerages still maintain physical locations in their communities. There’s nothing prohibiting you from stepping into a realtor’s office during regular business hours.
What is the main advantage? You can rapidly judge the agent’s softer qualities (personality, professionalism, etc.) that a Zillow or Realtor.com profile cannot provide.
However, there are some major drawbacks to this strategy:
You have no influence over who you speak with unless you make an appointment with a certain agent ahead of time. Because top agents have busy schedules and will likely be out serving other customers, it’s likely to be a newer agent.
It’s also possible that all of the agents will be on the ground – or operating from home, as has become more usual since the pandemic began.
If you do end up speaking with an agent and quickly realize you’re not a good fit, leaving the office can be difficult (note: this can obviously happen during scheduled meetings as well). It also makes it more difficult to shop about and compare multiple agents, which is something we advocate to find the ideal match.
Respect the agent’s time: If you decide to come into a real estate agency, respect the agent’s time by making an appointment for a later encounter. Better still, call your local brokerage to schedule an appointment with an agent you’ve already pre-vetted online.
To find new clients, agents publish ads in newspapers, magazines, park benches, billboards, radio, television, and online (Facebook, Google ads), among other places.
You don’t have to work with an agent you saw in an ad, so there’s no real danger in contacting them. However, unlike with an agent matching service or a personal recommendation, you don’t receive the benefit of pre-screening.
If you find an agent you like through a local ad, we recommend doing some preliminary research online (Zillow, Realtor.com) and comparing them to a few others (a top agent matching service can help).
If a house is for sale in your area, chances are there will be a large sign on the front lawn. While the sign may grab the attention of a potential buyer, its primary goal is to advertise the selling agent and his or her agency in order to attract new clients.
The listed agent’s name, brokerage, and contact information are displayed on the sign, so you can phone them to schedule an appointment. However, there are a few significant drawbacks to this strategy.
Homeowners: It’s fantastic that the agent has an active listing in your neighborhood, since it demonstrates that a local homeowner has put their trust in them to sell their house. However, it says nothing about the agent’s ability to sell or the value of the services they offer.
Homebuyers: Using a for-sale sign is a riskier method for homebuyers. The agent may be a listing specialist who works with purchasers less (or not at all). If you wish to buy that home or another one that the agent has advertised, it could result in a dual agency situation, which is risky.
Whether you’re selling or buying, it’s a good idea to write down the agent’s contact information and conduct an internet background check before scheduling a face-to-face meeting.
We nevertheless advise that you compare the agent to a few others (like through an agent matching service or personal referrals).
We don’t advocate using the NAR’s Find a Realtor tool to find a new agent. The NAR’s search function is difficult to use: you can’t easily narrow down your search or vet agents.
Looking up the contact information, designations, and qualifications of a realtor you found online or through a referral is the ideal way to use the tool.