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There are 3,554,604 Real Estate Agents in the US—How to Choose the One for You

March 1, 2024


Min Read
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Let's get to narrowing that 3 million number.

You’ve heard friends and family rave about their real estate agents, and seen some advertising at local events. Now, you’re doing your research.👏 You’ll want to start by narrowing down that 3 million number, which is surprisingly easy. (Just keep reading.) Then, you’ll want to focus on vetting the ones you’ve narrowed down, including those referrals from friends and family. So, without further adieu, the first of two steps to find the real estate agent for you.




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Step 1: Narrow Down To A Few

This step centers around going to a searchable database of real estate agents, so you’ll want to do that. For this example, we’re using’s Find an agent® Database (not a paid promotion, just a good place to start). Simply enter the zip code of the area you’re wanting to buy in the search bar. This should give you anywhere from a handful to a few hundred agents to choose from in your area. Having someone who knows the local market is big, and this gets you a few steps closer.

You can also use the filters on the site to select qualities you’re looking for—a few important ones on the Find an agent® Database are…

“Worked With Buyers”

This ensures the agents you’re calling work with people buying homes and not just selling them.

“Sort By: Highest Rating”

The site doesn’t automatically sort by rating, but you can do it manually to see those with the highest ratings first.

Any Unique-To-You Needs

For example, under “Other” there are filters for languages spoken.

Now you have a solid list to start from. They’re all experts in your area with good reviews. Now, it’s time to pick a few and start calling (or emailing).

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Step 2: Ask These 7 Questions (Or Some Of Them)

Once you get in contact with an agent, here are a few key points help you vet your decision. Do you need to ask every single one of these questions? No. Chances are, you'll get a good idea if this person is a good fit after the first few. Pay attention to their answers, but more importantly, how they answer. Are they confident, communicative, and patient? Those are great qualities in a real estate agent.

Question 1: How Long Have You Been in the Real Estate Business?

Understanding how long an agent has been in the industry gives you a snapshot of their experience and skill level. Here, we explore why this question is crucial when you're learning how to find an agent first time home buyer.

Gauge Experience

An agent’s experience can serve as a reliable indicator of their skill level. If they've weathered various market conditions, they're more likely to guide you effectively. Knowing how to find a good realtor often starts with understanding their level of experience.

Specialization in First-Time Homebuying

As a first-time homebuyer, your needs are unique. Finding an agent who specializes in working with people like you can be advantageous. They are familiar with first-time home buyer programs and can guide you through them, making the process less daunting.

Question 2: Can You Provide References from Past Clients?

References can be golden nuggets of information, shedding light on the agent's track record. This part covers why asking for references is vital for how to find an agent to buy a home from.

Testimonials and Reviews

In today's digital age, it's easier than ever to find a good realtor through online reviews. Websites like Yelp or even the agent's own social media platforms can provide valuable insights.

Question 3: What is Your Expertise in the Local Market?

Local expertise can be the difference between snagging your dream home and missing out. Here we discuss why a agent's grasp of the local market is indispensable for how to pick an agent for buying a house.

Understanding Market Conditions

Your realtor should have a solid grasp of local market trends. A deep understanding of the housing landscape is critical for pricing, bidding, and negotiation. How to find an agent who knows the local market can save you both time and money.

Neighborhood Specialization

Some realtors specialize in particular neighborhoods. If you have a specific area in mind, finding an agent with localized knowledge can give you an edge in your home search.

Question 4: What Is Your Approach to Negotiation?

Negotiation skills can be a game-changer in your home-buying journey. This area delves into why understanding your realtor's negotiation approach is one of the key tips for first-time homebuyers.

Assessing Negotiation Skills

Securing a fair price for your dream home hinges on your real estate agent's negotiation skills. Their approach can either save you money or cost you more in the long run. Learning about their negotiation strategies is an essential tip for first-time home buyers.

Strategy Matters

It's not just about how well your realtor negotiates, but also their specific strategies. Whether they plan to be aggressive, accommodating, or something in between, you should know their approach in advance.

How Will You Keep Me Informed Throughout the Process?

Communication is the backbone of any successful real estate transaction. In this part, we'll discuss why staying in the loop is essential and what to look for in a real estate agent's communication style.

Communication is Key

Clear, consistent communication is essential when navigating the complex realm of homebuying. Your realtor should be able to update you regularly on new listings, changes in market conditions, and upcoming deadlines, among other things.

Preferred Channels

We all have preferred communication methods. Whether it’s text, email, or good old-fashioned phone calls, make sure your realtor can accommodate your needs.

Question 5: What Is Your Availability?

Availability might seem like a minor detail but can have major implications. This segment examines why your realtor's availability needs to align with your schedule for a smooth home-buying process.

Time Commitment

Real estate is a fast-paced industry. If your real estate agent isn't readily available to show you a home or answer your questions, you could miss out on opportunities. Knowing their availability beforehand can help in making an informed decision on how to choose an agent.

Schedule Compatibility

It's also crucial that your realtor's schedule aligns with yours, especially if you have work or family commitments that make you less flexible.

Question 6: Do You Have Any Additional Fees or Costs?

Nobody likes hidden fees or last-minute surprises, especially when dealing with something as significant as buying a home. This part explains why transparency in costs is a must-know factor for how to choose an agent for first time home buyers.

Transparency in Fees

Discussing money matters might feel awkward, but it’s necessary. Hidden fees or unexpected costs can throw your budget off track. It's crucial to understand the financial aspects to fully capitalize on first-time home buyer benefits.

Comparing Costs

While discussing fees, it's a good idea to compare what different real estate agents charge. While a higher fee might mean more services or better expertise, it’s essential to know what you're getting for your money.

Remember that 3,554,604 number?

That’s how many real estate agents are in the US, which means there’s bound to be a variation in skill levels, quality of service, and expertise. Use the tips above to make the right choice and avoid unnecessary headaches, and, most importantly, find the right agent for you.

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