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How to find a good realtor?

Background info:
I've just started the process of looking for my first home, and I'm using a realtor that a good friend of mine recommended to me. (I did all the necessary finances steps so I'm good in that area). However, after I started looking at places with this realtor, my friend ran into a LOT of trouble with closing on her house and was very, very upset with this realtor. She told me to drop her and she could recommend 2 other realtors to me. If you ask her now: my friend will say that she LOVED this realtor in the beginning, but once it was time to move to the closing process, it became a horrible experience. Keep in mind that this isn't a friend who will likely rant and rave over things, so I took/take her words seriously.

I am not from this area and I don't know anyone in town who's bought a house recently to give me recommendations other than this one good friend. Thing is - I don't know what exactly went down in the closing process, so I can't tell it if was something that the realtor did, or if it was something that was simply out of the realtor's control? When I met and started the looking process with the realtor, she had me sign this piece of paper that basically says that she's *MY* realtor. I can tell her to tear up this paper if I need to. But.... do I need to?

I signed up for Angie's List to see if there was anyone who was recommended, but it's not such a popular town - only the big known realty companies were on there. So that was a bust there.

So... long background story short: I do like this realtor lady, but it's still early in the process. My current rent will be up at end of June. I don't think I will be able to ask my landlord for month-to-month (still waiting to see if they will agree, but it's doubtful).



  • It can be hard using a realtor that friends recommend sometimes. I know there's one that my sister and a lot of her friends have used and I've seen how she works, I would never ever use her or recommend her to anyone. You always have to take friends recommendations with a grain of salt.

    One of my childhood friends became a realtor recently and we ended up using her, and were really lucky because she was the best! Before we started using her through we were looking up reviews on Zillow and that seemed pretty helpful.

    Good luck!!
  • awbuckeyeawbuckeye Fort Collins, CO
    I'm a former realtor and I can tell is hard to find a good one! I absolutely would not go with one based only on "being in the business for 10 years or more". What I found working in both OH and TX...the more experienced realtors often take things for granted, like your business, and rely on their name more than their ability. I would pick a Realtor based on knowledge of the area in which you want to live. Interview a few and ask lots of questions. Do NOT use the listing agent as your buyers agent. They work for the seller...not you...and do not have your best interest in mind.
  • Hi there! I'm a real estate agent in Peachtree Corners, so I thought I might have something to offer here. Agents pay for presence on websites like Zillow and Trulia, so that's probably not a good way to find someone. It's basically an ad. If I were looking to buy a house, I think that the best way would be to start your own search and then look at who the listing agent is on properties that you like. If you see the same name popping up as a listing agent for the area that you are neighborhood or type of house that you are interested in, or just see a listing agent that you can tell is working hard, by writing good descriptions on his or her listings, using quality photography, etc, that probably indicates a good work ethic and level of professionalism. Sometimes agents don't work with both buyers and seller, but contacting a good listing agent with expertise in what you are looking for is a good place to start. Even if she doesn't work with buyers, she can recommend someone that does.

    One more thing, if you are under contract with your current agent, her "tearing it up" doesn't really mean anything. You are still under contract. If she's willing to release you from your contract, you need to get that in writing. Otherwise, you are opening a can of worms. If you are under contract with one agent and start working with another, one or both agents could potentially sue you. It's pretty unlikely that would happen, but just to be safe, make sure you get the contract termination with your current agent in writing before you sign a contract or see a property with a different agent.

    Good luck on your house hunt!
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