Recommendations and reviews can be your ticket to a top-notch Realtor whom you will trust and look forward to working with. But what happens when recommendations from friends and family are not available? Or what if you move to a new city and you’re not quite sure where or how to find a reliable real estate agent?
Despite these circumstances, you can find a local real estate agent even without the typical reviews to guide you—you just need to know where to look and what to look for. Whether you’re aiming to buy or sell, a seasoned local agent is an imperative part of the process as they will be able to advise you on the local market’s trends and price points.
Canvas local open houses
When you are short on direct referrals, a great starting point is the open house scene. Open houses provide an opportunity to meet local real estate agents that are active and working in your area. While you may not know much about the agent ahead of time, you can use an open house to see them in action and judge their work first hand for yourself.
It is important to see how they interact with other clients at the open house in order to give you an idea of how they will either be selling your property to potential buyers or guiding you through potential properties if you’re looking to buy. Good local agents generally won’t be found behind their desks, they’re usually out in the field. And an open house is exactly the place to find them.
Take stock of local advertising
Local agents who are active in a particular area take pride in being visible throughout the community. Ever noticed how Realtors are on benches, billboards and more? This advertising presence is huge for potential buyers and sellers. If you’re new to an area and looking for an agent, be sure to take stock of local media—whether it’s community publications, advertisements, or related events. All of these tools can help you find an agent who is active and successful in the area.
Being active and visible is a great indicator of an agents’ business accumen. You want to work with an agent who is not just experienced and knowledgeable about the trade but one who also specializes in their field. Keep in mind that if an agent has the marketing dollars available to stay current within the area that could be a good indicator of their success.
Use the resources that ARE available to you
While you may not have access to tons of reviews, there are numerous tools out there that can help you search for a good local agent. When you’re going through local listings on your own, take note if you see the same agents popping up over and over again. Seasoned agents specialize in one or two (usually neighboring) areas and proof that they have current listings indicates that they truly are locally based and active.
Don’t settle for just one
While you may be looking for that one perfect home or one right buyer for your property that is the only time that you should “settle” for “just one.” Since you may not be able to distinguish agents by referrals, asking the right questions about your list of candidates is key to your success. Of course you will want to vet the agents with the quintessential questions:
- How many clients do they work with at any given time?
- How long have they have been in the business?
- What are their fees like? Are there any timing restraints on their contracts?
These questions should give you a good sense of your potential realtor and tell if you if they’re a good fit for your situation. Your agent should have a wealth of information and local tools at their disposal to help keep them at the top of their game. Asking the right questions and giving them the opportunity to share what they know about the area can help you determine if they’ll be the right man or woman for the job.
This vetting process is an advantageous time to compare agents and find the one who will be the best match. It also doesn’t hurt to ask local agents about one another and see how they fair in their competitor’s eyes. This interview process presents a chance to have the agents provide you with client references instead of the other way around.
Finding an agent is a key step in your real estate process and while referrals make the search easier, it doesn’t mean it is impossible without them. Finding a local agent is possible as long as you know what to make of the resources available. Once you’ve exhausted all those resources, you’ll be on your way to finding your very own local superstar to sell or help you buy your home!