Learn how to qualify the REALTOR® you plan to work with by following our five top tips.
Why do so many companies want to help you find the best REALTOR? Do you think it’s because they have done some extensive research and surveyed Buyers and Sellers to find the very best? Or, do you think it’s because they charge every REALTOR they refer a fee?
HomeLight is a real estate referral company based in San Francisco, CA. Although HomeLight is itself a real estate broker, it does not provide services typical of a broker. Instead, HomeLight works with a network of participating real estate brokers in various markets to which they refer customers.
HomeLight is just one of many referral companies which have popped up. Why not? When they see the financial success of Zillow and many others. If you tell the public the best way to find a great REALTOR® is to look only at their network, HomeLight is betting the public may just believe them. Disrupters such as this referral business are just that—businesses intent on disrupting the professional practice of real estate.
But is this truly how to find the best agent?
Are the best agents waiting for this new referral service to find them clients?
I doubt it because the best agents are busy and have established relationships with professional organizations.
What You Need to Know for Seeking Out the Best REALTORS®
TIP 1: Get a Referral from a Friend
If you are moving to a new area, especially if you are moving to a new state, do you know someone else who has already done so? Your best bet is to get in touch with this person and ask them who they worked with and if they would recommend them.
TIP 2: Get a Referral from a REALTOR®
All REALTORS® can refer a client to another REALTOR®. One of the best ways for you to find a great REALTOR® in a new area is to ask your current REALTOR® for a referral. Explain to them what you think you’re looking for and let them do the research to find you someone reliable and qualified to help you.
How is this different than a referral from a company like HomeLight? When I get a call from another REALTOR® asking me if I would be interested in working with one of their clients, I know I am talking with someone who knows the client. I am always willing to pay a referral to another real estate professional plus I have some which have referred me many clients over the years. This has always been a key element of the real estate industry. This is why the best agents always stay in touch with their past clients. They truly care and want their clients to receive the best service in their new location.
What’s the difference if I pay a referral fee to your agent or I pay it to HomeLight? Sometimes the agent referring you to me is someone I have known for years. Other times it’s a person I went to high school with or one of my cousins! Often it is someone who belongs to the same association or someone that specializes in working with people just like you. If I am referring a client to another agent, first I check my personal contacts. I also check with past clients who I know came from the same town or county you live in. You’d be surprised how many buyer clients we see from the same towns and cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
TIP 3: Look for a Specialist
If you are a Baby Boomer planning for retirement, you might want to look for a REALTOR® who is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). Buying a home at this point in your life is different than when you were a first-time homebuyer or even relocating due to a job transfer. All the agents at Active Adults Realty are certified SRES and specialize in working with both buyers and sellers making decisions about how and where they want to live in retirement.
TIP 4: Visit the Broker’s Website
To learn which brokerage and which agents are truly knowledgeable in the area, search out the broker’s own website. When you use advertising sites like Zillow, or referral sites like HomeLight and so many others, you are not getting the complete picture. When you visit the broker’s website or perhaps the individual agent’s website, you will get an idea who they are and how they would work with you.
TIP 5: Read Reviews
Reading reviews or testimonials is a great way to get to know anyone before you decide to do business with them. But, do you only want to read reviews of those agents which have decided to pay Homelight or Zillow or a specific referral service? When you visit the broker’s website, how many reviews do they have? What do their clients have to say about them?
You can also learn a lot by visiting the broker’s Facebook Page. Do they only post listings of homes for sale or do they share informative content?