How to Choose the Best Bay Area Realtor for Buying or Selling

Kelly Crawford


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, an investor, or interested in listing your Lafayette real estate for sale, it’s crucial to find a professional to help you navigate the complicated world of real estate transactions, negotiations, and closing documents. No matter your objective, you’ll want to hire an agent to help you make intelligent decisions and avoid costly mishaps.

Not every Bay Area real estate agent is worth their commission, but an experienced one will be an incredible resource for you as a buyer or seller. It’s your job to research, ask questions, seek referrals, and weigh out the variables before choosing the best candidate for your needs.

Thankfully, if you’re buying or selling in the Bay Area, Kelly Crawford and his skilled team of real estate professionals are on your side. Read on for seven considerations when choosing a Lafayette real estate agent and to see why this team stands out.

Real estate agent basics

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Before diving into qualifications, it’s essential to define the different types of agents needed for buying and selling homes and what a realtor is. They’re extremely knowledgeable, walk clients through every step of a real estate transaction, and are connected to other professionals such as appraisers, lenders, home inspectors, and real estate attorneys.

The particular type of agent you’ll seek depends on your goal.

Listing agents aid sellers in pricing, listing, and marketing their homes, as well as negotiating with buyers. Buyer’s agents help buyers find homes, make competitive offers, and negotiate with sellers.

Realtor vs. real estate agent

While all realtors are real estate agents, not all agents are realtors. To become a realtor, an agent becomes a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has a specific set of standards and a code of ethics that all members must abide by. On the other hand, real estate agents simply abide by national and state laws where they’re licensed to work. 

Finding the perfect realtor for your needs

From asking friends for referrals to ensuring you and your real estate professional see eye-to-eye, there are many ways to find the right realtor for you.

You may not know any realtors, but you likely have friends, family members, or colleagues who have bought homes for sale in Lafayette in the past. A personal referral from someone you trust is gold. However, when someone recommends a realtor, don’t choose them automatically. Ask them the following questions to gain more information:

Questions for those who sold a home:

  • Do you have any complaints about your real estate transaction?
  • How did your agent set the price for your home, and did you have to negotiate with them?
  • How long did it take to sell your home? Was it shorter or longer than you expected?
  • Is your agent an excellent negotiator?
  • What is their communication style like?
  • How did the showing process go?

Questions for those who bought a home:

  • Did you pay more than you wanted or stay within your budget?
  • How close to your specifications were the homes your agent found?
  • What is their communication style like?
  • Were you their only client at the time?
  • Do they live in the area?

Compare realtors online

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If you don’t know anyone who has recently bought or sold real estate in your area, you can always check Referral Exchange to connect with an agent. Referral Exchange has a network of over 140,000 top-performing agents across the U.S. and Canada, most of which have over eight years of experience and more than $5 million in sales. Once you’ve compiled a list of qualified realtors, look up their websites and online profiles to read about their specialties, experience, and client testimonials. 

Scope out of your neighborhood for real estate signs

If time is on your side, take the time to drive or walk around your community and note any repeated realtor names on the real estate signs. Additionally, you can check out a nearby open house and watch how a realtor engages with prospective buyers. Interacting with a specific realtor will give you a good sense of their personality and professional etiquette, and you’ll have a good sense of whether you’d like to work with them or not. 

Meet with several candidates

Don’t settle for the first realtor you meet—you may be missing out on an opportunity to work with someone better suited for your distinct needs. Treat it like a job interview and ask a myriad of questions to ensure the agent meets all of your requirements. Ask each real estate professional these questions before picking one:
  • How long have you been working in real estate?
  • How many transactions have you completed?
  • Is your license up to date?
  • What’s your specialty?
  • Do you work with a team?
  • How many active clients do you work with at a time?
  • How does your commission work?
  • Can you explain the home buying/selling process from start to finish?
  • What is your availability, and what is the best way to contact you?

Ask specific questions depending on if you’re a buyer or a seller.

Questions for buyers:

  • How many homes do you help buyers find each year? (If the number is low, it could be a red flag.)
  • Are you a part-time or full-time agent?
  • Do you work with buyers and sellers?
  • How many buyer clients do you have? (This is important because if they have their hands full, they may not be able to give you the attention you deserve.)
  • Do you have references I can call? (The best way to vet an agent is by talking with past clients directly or reading online reviews outside the agent’s website.)

Questions for sellers:

  • How long have you been in residential real estate sales? (Choose an agent with at least five years of experience selling in your community.)

  • How many homes have you sold in the area in the past year?

  • What are your marketing strategies? (This question is crucial. You want an agent that uses various resources, including the MLS, their website, and printing/distributing paper brochures.)

  • What other professionals do you partner with when selling homes? (Excellent realtors work within a network of real estate professionals, including mortgage brokers and real estate attorneys. They cannot legally force you to use their lender or other service providers.)

  • How many buyers are you working with at the moment? (Having too many clients means you won’t get the help you need, while too few can cause concern.)

Hunting for Bay Area luxury real estate?

If you’re looking to buy or sell Lafayette luxury homes, contact the Kelly Crawford Team today for expert guidance. Kelly and his well-recommended team of specialists will handle your Lafayette real estate transaction with compassion, attention to detail, regional expertise, and patience. Shop around and ask lots of questions—but don’t hire a Bay Area realtor until you’ve interviewed Kelly!

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels


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