William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

How to Choose a Realtor in Los Angeles

Known for its beautiful landscapes and rich blend of cultures, Los Angeles, California is one of the most vibrant cities in the US. With a population of roughly 3.9 million people as of 2023, the demand for housing in the city is on the rise.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

For people looking to buy or sell a home in Los Angeles, working with a skilled and experienced Realtor can make all the difference in achieving a successful transaction. With so many real estate agents out there, it can be challenging to know which one is the best fit for your needs.

If you're in the market for a qualified Realtor in Los Angeles, here are ten essential tips to help you choose the perfect one.

Key Takeaways
  • With the growing population and increase in demand for housing in Los Angeles, working with a qualified Realtor who understands your needs can elevate your overall home search experience.
  • When looking to buy a home, it is important to understand the difference between these three real estate professionals; real estate agent, Realtor and real estate broker. - That way, you can choose to work with a professional who suits your individual needs.
  • Some of the tips that you can use when choosing a Realtor include; looking at their past experience and track record and ensuring that your communication styles align.
  • For homebuyers looking to work with an experienced and qualified Realtor in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area, get in touch with Ila here. She will help you find a home that suits your needs or sell your home at a great deal!

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here. More on disclaimers here.

Work with the best!

Ila Corcoran

Ila is a licensed Realtor and SVP of Real Estate Operations and Advisory services at Bay Street Capital Holdings. Her career in real estate stated off in apartment leasing and has since taken many different forms. With her family experiencing foreclosure in her early life, Ila decided to focus on securing housing for individuals and families in the US.

She started off in property management then moved to commercial real estate and then to residential real estate where she found her passion. With a desire to help Americans achieve housing security and homeownership, Ila worked with nine leading home builders in South California, where she facilitated the purchase and sale of newly constructed homes and built her own real estate portfolio.

With a Bachelor's degree, two minors from California State University Long Beach and a Real Estate License, Ila is among the best residential Realtors in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area. In 2021, she led her team to close more than $80M in transactions across multiple states, with an emphasis on providing value-added services to American homeowners.

In 2022, Ila joined forces with Bay Street Capital Holdings, a Black-owned wealth management firm. As a licensed investment advisor representative, she made significant progress, closing $10.4M in real estate deals and securing more than $2.2M in assets under management (AUM) within her first six months.

As the SVP of Real Estate Operations and Advisory services, she has supported Resthaven in securing $25M from like-minded investors and acquiring multiple properties. This came from identifying a need to offer safe and accessible accommodation options for individuals in diverse communities.

During her free time, she enjoys serving apartment communities across Los Angeles and the non-profit housing space dedicated to serving those experiencing homelessness.

Ila is currently taking in new clients. If you're looking to work with an experienced Realtor in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area, get in touch with Ila here.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor vs. Real Estate Broker, what's the difference?

realtor marketing a property

In the real estate industry, the terms real estate agent, Realtor and real estate broker are at times used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences in terms of roles and levels of licensing. Here's a breakdown of the differences between the three.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is an individual who has a license that permits them to assist clients in buying, selling or renting real estate properties. Real estate agents work under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker and may be independent or part of a real estate brokerage firm. To become a real estate agent, one must complete pre-licensing education and pass a state-issued real estate license exam.


A Realtor on the other hand is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a trade organization for real estate professionals. As of 2023, NAR has approximately 1.56 million members.

The term "Realtor" is a registered trademark of NAR, and only members of the association can use this designation. Realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics and professional standards, which sets them apart from non-member real estate agents. Essentially, all Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors.

Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is a licensed real estate professional who has taken additional education beyond that of a real estate agent and has met the requirements to become a licensed broker. Brokers can work independently or hire other agents to work under them in a real estate brokerage.

Real estate brokers have more responsibilities and are authorized to manage their own real estate business. To become a broker, some states will require real estate agents to first work as agents for a certain number of years.

How to choose a Realtor

realtor and clients
Tip #1: Conduct thorough research

The first step in finding a good Realtor in Los Angeles is to conduct thorough research. Depending on whether you're buying or selling a home, you need to work with either a buyer's agent or a listing agent. As you look for a good agent to represent you, avoid working with a dual agent who represents both the buyer and seller. This is so as to avoid any conflict of interest.

Here are the differences between a buyer's and seller's agent.

Buyer's Agent

A buyer's agent is a real estate agent who represents the buyer interests in a real estate transaction. For prospective buyers, working with a buyer's agent is ideal as they will help you easily navigate the buying process, find suitable properties, negotiate with sellers and handle the paperwork involved in the transaction.

The main responsibilities of a buyer's agent include:

  • To help the client identify properties that match their criteria and preferences. Buyer's agents usually have access to multiple listing services (MLS) and other resources where they can find suitable homes for their clients.
  • Arranging and conducting property showings to the client.
  • Performing a comparative market analysis to help the client get the best price for the property they want to purchase.
  • Assisting the client in negotiating with the seller to get the best possible terms for the buyer.
  • Handling the necessary paperwork and coordinating with other professionals such as home inspectors, lenders and escrow officers to ensure a smooth transaction.

As a potential client, it is important to note that the buyer's agent is usually compensated through a commission paid by the seller. That means that the buyer can benefit from the services of a buyer's agent without incurring additional costs. However, the specific arrangements and commission details may vary based on the local real estate practices and agreements between the buyer and the agent.

Seller's Agent

A seller's agent, also known as a listing agent, is a real estate agent who represents the interests of the seller in a real estate transaction. When someone decides to sell their property, they can choose to work with a seller's agent to assist them in the process of marketing and selling their home or property.

The main responsibilities of a seller's agent include:

  • Helping the property owner to list the property by gathering relevant information on the property features, taking high quality photos and videos and creating a compelling description to showcase the property's features.
  • Developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy to attract potential buyers to the property. This may involve online listings as well as social media promotion.
  • Doing an analysis of the current market to determine the best listing price for the property based on recent sales of similar properties.
  • Helping the client negotiate the best possible terms once they submit an offer.
  • Handling the necessary paperwork and coordinating with other professionals like home inspectors, appraisers and title companies to ensure a smooth transaction.
  • The seller's agent works to protect the seller's interests throughout the selling process and helps them make informed decisions.

As for compensation for the seller's agent, they are typically paid a commission, which is usually a percentage of the final sale price of the property. The commission is usually shared between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent, but the specific commission arrangements can vary based on local real estate practices and agreements between the seller and the agent.

Tip #2: Ask for a referral within your network

Word of mouth is still a great way that you can use to find the right Realtor for you. If you're looking to buy or sell your home in Los Angeles, you can talk to friends or family members who've recently bought homes in different neighborhoods and ask them about their experiences with the Realtors that they worked with. You can get good recommendations of Realtors from those who had a good experience.

Other places where you can get referrals are on platforms like Facebook groups, LinkedIn or you can also ask your mortgage lender as they usually have relationships with many local real estate agents. This is if you've already done or are in the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Tip #3: Check and verify their credentials

Before you go ahead and hire your Realtor, first verify their credentials and certifications. Ensure that they are licensed to practice in Los Angeles and are a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Depending on your needs, you can work with specialized Realtors such as:

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is a professional designation given to real estate agents who have completed advanced training and have significant experience in residential real estate. The CRS designation is considered one of the highest levels of achievement in the real estate industry, and it is awarded by the Residential Real Estate Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR®)

The Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR®) designation is a professional certification awarded to real estate agents who have completed specialized training and have gained expertise in representing buyers in real estate transactions. The ABR designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)

A Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is a real estate agent who has undergone specialized training and obtained the SRES designation to work with senior clients in real estate transactions. The SRES designation is awarded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to agents who have completed the required coursework and have gained the knowledge and expertise in serving the unique needs of older individuals.

GREEN Designation

The GREEN designation for Realtors is a specialized certification awarded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to agents who have completed training and demonstrated knowledge in the field of sustainable and eco-friendly real estate practices. The goal of the GREEN designation is to equip Realtors with the expertise needed to help clients make environmentally-conscious choices when buying, selling or improving properties.

Tip #4: What is their marketing strategy

If you're looking to sell a property in Los Angeles, it is important that you find out the marketing strategy of the Realtor that you choose to work with. Find out things like:

  • Who the Realtor thinks is the ideal buyer for the property being sold.
  • What channels they will use to reach potential buyers. For example a multiple listing service or collaboration with influencers.
  • Whether they will incorporate social media into their overall marketing strategy.
  • Will they take and circulate professional photos and videos to showcase the property.

A good Realtor will have a comprehensive strategy to showcase your property to a wide audience. They can also leverage their network and existing database to attract potential buyers in the area.

Tip #5: Find out about their experience and track record

When selecting a Realtor to work with, find out about their level of experience and areas of specialization. In the real estate industry, experience matters and so it is important that you look for a Realtor with a proven track record of successful transactions. Working with a Realtor who has been in the game will help you navigate potential challenges and negotiate effectively.

If you're looking to buy or sell a home in Los Angeles, a good Realtor to work with is one who has experience in dealing with homes in the Los Angeles area. This is because they are more likely to have useful networks in the area and they also understand the current market value of homes in Los Angeles.

Tip #6: Communication and rapport

In the real estate process, open and effective communication is very essential between you and your Realtor. Choose a good real estate agent who listens to your needs, communicates clearly and responds promptly to your inquiries. Whether you prefer to communicate via text, phone calls or email, find a Realtor who is open to accommodating your preferred communication method.

In addition, ensure that you feel comfortable with the Realtor that you have chosen to work with and establish a good rapport. A strong working relationship will lead to a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Tip #7: Go for a licensed Realtor who has relevant market knowledge

If you're a buyer or a seller in Los Angeles, it is important that you choose an experienced real estate agent who has proper understanding of the local market. They should be familiar with recent sales data, current trends and have relevant information on the specific neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

In addition, it would be useful if you educate yourself and stay informed on what's happening in the local Los Angeles real estate market. You can get this information by watching the news, staying updated on social media as well as checking out already existing listings.

Tip #8: Read their client reviews and testimonials

In today's digital world, most businesses and individuals have active social profiles across multiple social networks. Before you settle on a potential real estate agent, ensure that you check and read the online reviews and testimonials left by previous clients.

By doing so, you are able to get a good idea of a Realtor's professionalism, reliability and level of customer satisfaction, and if they are the right real estate agent for you. Positive reviews are a good indicator of a Realtor's competence and dedication.

Tip #9: Availability and commitment

Real estate transactions can move quickly, especially in a market like Los Angeles where demand for housing is quite high. So choose a Realtor who is available and committed to your needs. Ensure they can accommodate your schedule and provide the time and attention that you need.

Tip #10: Always trust your gut feeling

At the end of the day, always trust your gut feeling when selecting a Realtor. If something doesn't feel right or you have reservations, it's okay to explore other options. Your Realtor plays a significant role in one of the most significant financial transactions of your life, so it's essential to choose someone you feel confident and comfortable working with.

Let us help you get the home of your dreams!

The Los Angeles real estate market is very competitive due to the high demand for housing. So for you to land the best deals, it is important that you work with a Realtor who has the expertise that you're looking for and can move fast enough. This will ensure that you enjoy a seamless and hustle free real estate experience.

If you're looking for a qualified Realtor to help you buy or sell your home in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area, partner with Ila to enjoy the best possible experience. To get in touch, contact her here.

To access more free real estate reading material, click here. Happy reading!

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is a renowned Black-owned wealth management firm that specializes in financial planning, investment advisory and risk management. What sets the firm apart is its unique approach of effectively addressing overall risk and volatility, rather than solely focusing on maximizing profits.

The firm was founded by William Huston after spending 13 years supporting the United States' largest retirement plan, Thrift Savings Plan, which holds assets worth $650 billion. From 2021-2023, William Huston has been honored as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors. In addition, Bay Street was recognized as a finalist in the Asset Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category in 2021, standing out among more than 900 firms across the United States.

In 2023, the firm secured a spot as a finalist in the Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion category during the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards, thanks to their collaboration with Resthaven Properties in the real estate sector. Bay Street was founded to advocate for diverse founders.






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