FAQs

Hiring a real estate agent is the most important step in the process of buying or selling a home. Searching for an agent should be more proactive than reactive. Experienced home buyers will pre-screen every real estate agent with qualifying questions. Only agents who have the right answers will be invited to be interviewed. The intricacies of searching for an agent can’t be adequately explained in our FAQs however we recommend you read, “Finding a Real Estate Agent Just Got Easier”. This short article best explains in detail how to search for a real estate agent.

Experience where it counts — buying and selling homes and managing complex escrows to a successful close. We favor agents who sell an average of 6 to 18 homes. This isn’t to suggest some agents who sell fewer or more homes than this, we feel 6 to 18 is a prime production average and use this as our guide. The purpose here is that you set a limit on what is acceptable to you and use it as your guide. This will make your decision a simple up or down, yes or no, whether or not to add them to your shortlist or not. Doing this will help to assure that you only interview agents who meet your biggest requirement – experience.

All real estate agents are not alike. Interviewing more than one agent provides a choice. The key to interviewing agents is to only interview the ones who meet all your requirements for who you will hire. Do not interview any real estate agent who can not, or will not, show proof of their home sales record upfront. By only interviewing top producing agents, any agent you select will have the experience you need.

The standards you set will be different from what we use here at Agent FactCheck. The minimum qualifying standard we use at Agent Fact Check is 6 home sales in the most recent 12 month period. Our maximum is 18 homes sold per year plus other requirements for agents. You may decide agents who sell only 3 homes per year works for you. If you plan to sell your home, you definitely want to avoid agents with a lot of expired listings on their record. Whatever minimum requirements you set for the agents you plan to interview, stick to them. Don’t lower your standards if you find it difficult to find agents who meet them. The agent you hire is too important to leave to chance. Experienced home buyers and sellers make verification of an agent’s home sales record a pre-condition for an interview. We recommend you read, “Finding a Real Estate Agent Just Got Easier”. This short article best explains how to search for a real estate agent.

Agent FactCheck uses one set of standards for all agents we refer but we choose to be overly cautious when selecting agents for clients. You may decide that your minimum agent standards are lower than our minimum standards. That’s okay — the important thing as you have a guideline to follow. You may decide that having two sets of agent standards is better for you. You may have a more strict standard for all agents in general, (i.e. minimum 6 homes sales/year), and a less strict standard for “friends and relatives” who are licensed real estate agents. Whatever you do, never hire a friend or relative or anyone else, as your real estate agent who doesn’t meet the standards you set. Your decision on the real estate agent you hire should be data-driven, not based on emotion or feeling of obligation.

The biggest mistake most people make when hiring a real estate agent is hiring the first agent they meet. Most people never even screen the agent to see how good or bad they are. They go for the sales pitch rather than actual facts about the sales history of the agent. This is one of the biggest causes of the bad rap about real estate agents today. The problem isn’t the agent per se, the problem is most people don’t know how to compare and evaluate agents and end up with a bad agent. It’s a common practice. Over 80 percent of the people who hire an agent hire the first agent they meet – big mistake. When you consider that only about 20 percent of all real estate agents are top producers, 80 percent of the people who hire the first agent risk hiring a bad agent. The odds of hiring a top producing agent are stacked against you. A good habit is to never hire an agent simply because you met them at an open house, or ad call, or casually through friends — always fact check the data. We recommend you read, “Finding a Real Estate Agent Just Got Easier”.

There are two simple methods to obtain an agent’s home sales track record. You can ask the agent directly, or. ask an independent referring broker to obtain this information for you. Both methods are free, so the question becomes which method do you prefer and who do you trust. Do you want to do the research yourself or delegate that task to someone else? Any experienced top producing agent will gladly log into their MLS account and show you the proof. If you’re too busy or want to delegate, professional referral brokers represent a new trend in consumer-friendly real estate practices, Agent Fact Check is a referral broker dedicated to serving the needs of the consumer — the buyer or seller client — by screening, ranking, and referring only local top producing real estate agent to anyone about to hire an agent. No cost and no obligation.

There are basically three primary sources that provide this information and all of them are free: (1) Direct from the agent, (2) Online resources like Zillow or Realtor.com, or (3) online Referral Brokers like Agent FactCheck.

Direct from the agent. If you ask the right agent, it’s easy. Top producing real estate agents gladly share their credentials including MLS home sales upfront. Lower producing agents may prefer to meet with you to present their pitch and provide their sales record at that time — a red flag. You must keep asking until a top producer emerges. About 2 out of 10 agents have the sales experience of a top producer. Don’t meet with agents who don’t send you their sales record information upfront.

Online resources like Zillow or Realtor.com. Are the major providers of information about everything real estate. While these websites provide valuable information, they’re primarily lead generating tools for participating agents. These sites are great for checking out homes and neighborhoods and planning for your future, they fall short when it comes to matching up clients with only top producing real estate agents. These sites refer real estate agents to the public, however, all agents are presented as equals or with misleading numbers to support their “expertise”. 

Online Referral Brokers like Agent FactCheck. A smarter and easier way to verify an agent’s home sales record is with an independent referral broker. Referral brokers are different from traditional online resources in how they evaluate agents. Referral brokers are professional headhunters who search ‘scrub” agents for people who need to hire one. Referral brokers provide on service, they assure that any agent you interview or hire is a top producer and has the track record to prove it. Agent FactCheck is one of a few referral brokers operating in California today.

Referral Brokers are the newest and best consumer service in real estate today. Referral brokers represent only the client — not the agent. They are professional headhunters that seek and find the best real estate agent for you based on your particular set of circumstances. Their sole purpose is to match you with only top producing real estate agents. Referral brokers represent a smarter and easier way to select and hire a real estate agent. By the way, did we mention that Agent FactCheck is a referral broker whose mission is to introduce you to only top producing local real estate professionals.

Your decision about which agents to interview should be data-driven and based on an agent’s personal home sale track record. You don’t care if the agent’s company sells a lot of homes. You should care a lot about how many homes the particular agent sells. If an agent can’t or won’t log in to their MLS system to let you examine their personal home sales record, don’t schedule an interview with that agent. Only add someone to your interview shortlist until after they show proof of their sales record for the past year. Remember, you’re hiring them, not the other way around.

The most important feature a real estate agent can offer is a strong track record for selling homes consistently over the past year. We focus on agents who sell from 6 to 18 homes per year however different variables call for different criteria. There are, however, many more things to consider. These two articles will provide a lot more detailed information. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Just Got Easier provides an overview of hiring a real estate agent, and The Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers lists strategies smart clients use to give them an advantage.

This answer assumes you’ve already screened the agents you plan to interview and have them on a shortlist. You’re ready to start penciling out a few convenient time slots on your calendar for future interviews. Plan for an hour but know that a successful interview could be as short as 30 minutes. The trick is to stay on point and avoid storytelling unless it’s relevant to your real estate transaction. Call the agents on your shortlist and try to schedule the appointment in one of the time slots you previously set aside for this purpose. You’ve already done the most difficult and most important part by making sure everyone on your list meets the standards you set. Because they’re all well qualified, you’re now able to focus on other matters such as, can you work with them? Are they professional? Keep your conversation focused on your particular transaction and how the agent prefers to work. I recommend two articles that go into detail about this issue. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Just Got Easier provides an overview of hiring a real estate agent, and The Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers lists strategies smart clients use to give them an advantage.

If that friend or relative meets the standards you set for your agent, there’s no problem. Hire away. However, you should never hire an inexperienced real estate agent simply because they are your friend or relative. If your friend or relative isn’t qualified to be your agent, they can help you by acting as your referral agent. They may not be qualified as a top producing agent, but they can still be of service as your referral agent. They have powerful real estate research tools and can search for agents in your immediate area and refer you to agents who are top producers. A Referral Fee Agreement could be used so if you do buy or sell a home with the agent your friend refers, your friend would receive a referral fee when escrow closes. No cost to you. No obligation. This is what we do here at Agent FactCheck. We are exclusive referral Realtors® for discerning home buyers and sellers.

Whether or not a buyer-broker agreement benefits the client depends on the agent you hire. They are bad for you if you hired a bad agent. They are good for you if you hired an experienced, top producing agent. Buyer-broker agreements are meant to “up the game” in that both buyer and agent agree to the goal of finding the right property before a certain date — you’re a team. I recommend buyer-broker agreements only when you have a top-producing buyers’ agent.

It’s important to consider the timeline when you buy or sell a home. You probably need to speak with a real estate agent if you are not planning on buying or selling in the next six months. You’ll have questions and want to begin considering your options during this time. If this is you, it’s time to consider contacting a real estate agent. You should also know that selecting and hiring a real estate agent is the most important step you will take in your entire home buying or selling process. Be a smart real estate client and only deal with top-producing agents.

Real estate agents will be happy to answer any real estate questions even if you’re not planning to buy or sell in the near future. Most are quite knowledgeable and love talking about real estate. It’s how they generate business. Be aware that most real estate agents will have the answers to your questions, but few will have the experience level you need when actually buying or selling a home. For additional information, we refer you to The 7 Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers, for more information.

Every real estate agent has a home sales track record. The only way to avoid hiring an inexperienced agent is to ask every agent you meet to provide you with a copy of their MLS home sales and listing report for the past year. Top producing agents are happy to email a copy to prove their record. Less successful agents may be more reluctant. Make it your policy to see an agent’s sales record before you set an appointment to interview them for the job. The easiest and smartest way to avoid hiring inexperienced and/or rooking agents is to have Agent FactCheck do it for you at no cost, no obligation.

AgentFactCheck.com is the smartest way to hire a Realtor®. And the easiest.

Every real estate agent has a home sales track record on their MLS account that shows every listing and every sale they made. The best source to fact check a real estate agent’s home sales history is the agent’s MLS. Top producing agents are happy to email a copy to you. Less successful agents may be more reluctant. Make it your policy to see an agent’s sales record before you set an appointment to interview them for the job. The easiest and smartest way to avoid hiring inexperienced and/or rooking agents is to have Agent FactCheck do it for you at no cost, no obligation.

Yes. We feel a real estate agent is too busy when they need to maintain a large staff to handle all their clients. “Mega-agents” represent the top one or two percent in total home sales these super-busy agents come with their own set of problems. Mega-agents depend on other agents and staff to handle their high-volume business. Agent FactCheck does not refer mega-agents to clients over concern you may not receive the personal service you deserve.

A real estate “farm” is a common marketing term in real estate. A real estate agent will claim a small area as their “farm”. Other agents in their office may not market or advertise in another agent’s farm. Agents “farmers” plant flyers, posts, pumpkins, flags, and signs with hopes of “growing” new clients to be “harvested” in the future. Farming agents always appear to be busy however, this is often not the case. Farming agent or not, your decision to hire an agent or not should be data-driven and not based on pumpkins and flags left at your door.

You know you live in a real estate agent’s farm when one or more real estate agents keep dropping by ad pieces, pumpkins, and flags. It’s neither good nor bad, just don’t make the assumption that an agent who “farms” your neighborhood is better than an agent who doesn’t.

All things being normal, we recommend contacting the real estate agent before you contact a lender. This recommendation comes with the assumption you hire a top producing real estate agent and local experience. Busy agents tend to develop relationships with busy lenders with favorable rates who fund loans when it counts. Because the role of lender is so crucial to closing escrow, experienced agents will tell you it’s a good idea to qualify for your loan with a second lender in the event your first lender can’t deliver.

How many homes did you sell in the past 12 months? How many homes did you sell in my immediate area in the past 30 days? Is your office local? And, if you’re a seller, also ask how many of their listings expired without selling? Expired listings happen and for good reasons, but not on a regular basis. We believe expired listings are red flags for clients. Agent FactCheck is overly cautious and disqualifies agents with too many expired listings.

  1. Step one, educate yourself and make a plan. Knowing how the system operates is crucial and will allow you to make much smarter decisions as a client. I recommend you read these two short articles packed with relevant information. 
    1. 7 Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers [https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm&ogbl#search/joanna/FMfcgxwHNMcnbSbXSgZpcDDPgRqzsdfq?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1]
    2. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Has Become Easier [https://dailyproperties.com/finding-real-estate/]

First-time home buyers should learn by watching then doing what experienced homebuyers do when they buy a home. There are seven habits experienced home buyers repeat every time they buy another home. First-time home buyers will benefit greatly by doing the same thing. The 7 Habits of Experienced Homebuyers will tell you how to use these habits to give you an advantage when buying your first home. Or your tenth.

As soon as word gets out you’re going to buy or sell a home, everyone in your inner circle suddenly knows or is a “really good agent”. Many people end up hiring inexperienced agents simply because they are family or friends. There’s a better way to handle this situation. Instead of hiring a family member or friend who lacks experience as your agent, hire them to be your referral agent. Agent FactCheck is a referral broker. Your licensed friend can do for you what we do for our clients. As a referral agent, your friend/agent can conduct a thorough search of all home sales activity and the agents involved for any area and provide you with a short-list of only agents who meet your standards. Referral fee agreements are common practice between real estate brokers and agents. They are an excellent way for an inexperienced agent you know to help find and hire a very experienced agent you don’t know.

The selling price of a home is based on the value of that particular home and has nothing to do with any special powers some agent claims they have. The real estate agent you hire does not add value to the value of your home. Claims of selling your home faster or for more money are red flags signaling “Client Beware!”. If an agent really convinces you that they can get a higher price than market value and you can’t resist the temptation, make them prove it. If the listing price the agent suggests is valid, you’ll know within 2 weeks so only sign a 2-week long listing. Don’t get tricked into listing with an agent by tricks and misleading sales pitches. If you limit the listing period for a maximum of 2 weeks, you won’t get stuck with a bad agent in a long listing. If your home is listed for the right price you will see a lot of action in the first couple of weeks. However, if there is no action, the listing is over and your rid of that agent. If it turns out the agent was right about the higher price, you have the option to extend the listing. Doing it this way allows you to control agents who suggest higher than reasonable prices. It’s much easier for you to extend the term of the listing agreement with a good agent than it is for you to cancel a listing with a bad one.

The only predictable time block there is when purchasing a home varies and is based heavily on market supply and demand. You’ll need a few days to find and hire a good real estate — your most important job. The escrow period can average about 4 to 6 weeks. The big variable here is the time you take to find the house you want to buy which can be a few days, weeks, or months. Hiring an experienced real estate agent can save you a lot of wasted time and is the best consumer protection you can get when buying or selling a home. If you’re ready, willing, and able to start the home buying process today, you can be in your new home in as little as two months.

The typical US home listed for sale in 2020 sold in about 3 weeks according to the National Association of Realtors. You’ll spend a week prior to that to find and hire an experienced agent and prepare for potential buyers. Figure another 4 to 6 weeks for the escrow period. The average timeline to list and sell a home is around 8 to 10 weeks. The major variable when selling a home is the listing period. A properly priced home can sell in three weeks. If not, it could take several months and several expired listings before it finally sells. Hiring an experienced real estate agent reduces the risk of this happening to you. So, if you’re ready to start today, your home could be listed and sold in 8 to 10 weeks from now.

Only 1 out of 7 real estate agents have the experience we consider crucial in today’s complex real estate market. These two short articles will help you shop for an agent. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Has Become Easier will help you find and evaluate real estate agents and The 7 Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers give you an advantage as a client.

All real estate agents are licensed to represent both buyers and sellers. Some choose to work exclusively with home buyers while others prefer home sellers. Most real estate agents represent both. Working with an exclusive buyers agent an exclusive sellers agent means only that your agent prefers to work with that demographic. As a client, you should be most concerned that any agent you hire has the experience you need and has shown you their home sales record to prove it.

If you have a complaint against a licensed real estate agent or business, visit California DRE’s website for details on How To File A Complaint, or call the California DRE Public Information Line at (877) 373-4542.

While it’s possible to fire your real estate agent, you should consult an attorney before you do. We cannot and do not provide legal advice other than to suggest attempting to isolate your concerns and discuss possible solutions with your agent or your agent’s broker. The best advice we can offer, however, is to hire a good agent the next time. “Finding the Right Real Estate Agent Has Become Easier” will help you find top producing real estate agents. “The 7 Habits of Experienced Home Buyers and Sellers” will show you how to gain the upper hand when buying or selling a home.

A real estate referral broker refers clients to other brokers who then represent that client when buying or selling a property. Most real estate brokers refer clients to other brokers as a normal part of their business. When they do, and the referred client closes escrow, the referred broker pays a fee to the referring/referral broker. Referral Fee Agreements are common contracts signed between both brokers to make this all happen. There is no additional cost for the client involved. Independent and exclusive referral brokers are emerging as the solution for anyone who needs to hire a real estate agent but does have the resources or the time to find a top-rated agent. Agent FactCheck is an exclusive referral broker that screens, evaluates, and rates real estate agents for anyone about to hire one.

No. Referral fees are common and always paid by one broker to another and comes out of the standard real estate commission. The next best ways is to hire a real estate broker to either: (1) conduct your own agent research; or (2) have a professional referral broker do it for you. In today’s complex and sometimes misleading real estate marketplace, professional referral brokers are the newest addition to organized real estate and represent the new level of consumer protection afforded to home buyers and sellers. Agent FactCheck is an exclusive referral broker in California.