Choosing A Real Estate Agent

If you're thinking about buying or selling your house, there are a number of real estate agents you could choose from. If you look through your mailbox any given week, chances are that you have at least five flyers of homes that have recently sold in the area from five different agents. You might have a neighbor who works in real estate (more on that here.) Or maybe your uncle has a best friend who is semi-retired, but still handles a few transactions a year. How do you choose who to work with? Here are a few key things that I think are important to consider when you're in the market to find an agent to work with:

Specializing in a Location: An agent that consistently works the entire Bay Area has a lot of ground to cover, literally. It's almost impossible to be knowledgeable of the ins and outs of every neighborhood and every property when someone is stretched so thin. I would recommend working with a realtor that focuses on the area that you're interested in buying/selling in. They will have an intimate knowledge of houses on the market, and what has sold in the past. They will also know the neighborhoods block by block, the local schools, and maybe even some of your neighbors. 

Have Great Working Relationships: Consider their relationships with other agents and sellers in the area. If they seem easy to work with, people who have been involved in past transactions with them probably feel the same. If they have a more, shall we say, volatile personality, they may have burned some bridges along the road. An agent's relationships could be the difference between your offer being overlooked or getting accepted in a multiple-bid situation, or having access to properties not publicly listed for sale or before they hit the market. 

Have Extensive Knowledge: An active agent who is constantly viewing properties and is on top of the market can distinguish differences that can help you determine the best value for the property. Or if you're looking to buy a house, a realtor that's aware of current trends and what's available in your local market can help you define what you're looking for in a house and then help you find it. They'll also be able to help you determine why a specific area, down to the block, is more or less expensive than another.  For example, if a house is on a street that busy at certain times of the day, or a house that sold multiple times over the past few years, or a flip that was done by a reputable contractor can influence the value and attractiveness of the property. 

Have a Finger is on the Pulse of the Market: The general public is typically months behind market changes, and can be late to the game waiting on data that shows if the market is speeding up or slowing down. An active agent can help you stay ahead of the market and make informed decisions. The realtor you want to work with will often know about recent sales not yet made public, the number of offers made on specific properties, and properties that will be hitting the market soon.  

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in Redwood City, I would be happy to give you an estimate for your home's value or chat with you about what you're looking for. 


Cliff Whearley has been a resident of Redwood City for 23 years. He is a Realtor at Dwell Realtors, Inc. and has been practicing real estate since 2007. If you have any real estate questions, he would love to help!