Key Highlights

  • 89% of all buyers and sellers work with and use real estate agents/brokers when buying/selling a home, according to the National Association of REALTORS®
  • Tips from experts to buyers/sellers on how to find the “right” agent

With all the information about home prices, past sales, market trends, comparable neighborhoods, and school information, do buyers, particularly first-time buyers, still need/want real estate agents? Do sellers, particularly first-time sellers? You bet they do. In fact, the vast majority of buyers AND sellers, some 89% of both, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, use real estate agents or brokers.

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Check out these tips from experts to buyers about how to find the “right” agent and be that right” agent yourself.

  1. Buyers and sellers are encouraged by experts to ask agents for references.
    1. When offering your references to potential clients, make sure your website communicates your specialties and your specific market knowledge.
    2. If, for example, you specialize in pre-war multi-family residences, say so. If you specialize in helping first-time buyers, say so. We could go on and on here but communicate your specialties and market/location knowledge using engaging language anyone can understand.
  2. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to create a short list of agents/brokers who rise to the top in terms of your specific wants and needs and then to interview each one fact-to-face if at all possible.
    1. In these real time face-to-face or phone interviews, again communicate your specialties, specific market knowledge and key experiences in such things as deal negotiations, pricing, new construction, multi-generational housing, etc.
    2. Sarah Staley, consumer spokesperson for, advises consumers to, “Consider (finding an agent/broker) like dating. Meet a few…and be sure there’s a personality match.”
  3. Make sure you know the priorities of your prospective client.
    1. Help your prospect tell you honestly what they’re looking for in a house…size, timing, and budget parameters…so you know what and when your prospect needs and wants in a home and what is affordable.
    2. An agent/broker’s job is to tell the prospect the best ways they can work for the client.
  4. Beware of the prospect who is not open to alternate possibilities.
    1. Lauren Riefflin, spokesperson for StreetEasy, said, “Part of a broker’s job is to broadly navigate the market and potentially show a buyer new neighborhoods and homes they may not have thought of before. You want to make sure (buyers/sellers) don’t have any mental guardrails that would prevent them from getting a great buy a few blocks away from where (they) want to be.”
    2. Lawrence Lee, an agent with Triplemint, said, “A broker/agent will tell (the prospect) what’s feasible, what’s not feasible and show (the prospect) alternatives.”
  5. Consumers want/need to know about your availability.
    1. Are you full-time? Part time?
    2. Do you have set hours or are you available to show the prospect a new property that just hit the market at a moment’s notice?
    3. According to Lee with Triplemint, “You need to accommodate their schedules, their times, their availability, not yours.”
  6. Prospective clients need to know the fundamental facts of how you operate.
    1. Communicate your commission splits.
    2. Make sure the prospect knows that your loyalty rests solely with them, not the buyer or the seller or some other entity.
    3. Even if the prospect has been searching/working to find or sell a home on their own, make sure and explain why the prospect ought to have a broker/agent BEFORE making or accepting an offer.


Thanks to Curbed’s Emily Nonko for source material.

Also read: Podcast: What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed? (Part 3), Realities of Home Prices in New York State & Manhattan, Rick Janson on Time Blocking & Prioritizing Your Life

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