How to Find a Real Estate Agent: Work With the Best

When it comes to buying or selling a property, finding a reliable and experienced real estate agent is essential. The right agent can provide guidance throughout the process, negotiate on your behalf and ensure a smooth transaction.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

How to Find a Real Estate Agent: Work With the Best

When it comes to buying or selling a property, finding a reliable and experienced real estate agent is essential. The right agent can provide guidance throughout the process, negotiate on your behalf and ensure a smooth transaction.

However, with an increasing number of real agents to choose from in the market today, it can be overwhelming to find a good agent who you mesh with. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to find the best real estate agent for you.

From seeking referrals to conducting interviews and evaluating track records, you'll discover the key factors to consider in your search for a top-notch real estate agent who can exceed your expectations.

Work With the Best!

Ila Corcoran

If you're on the look out for a qualified real estate agent whose specialty is in residential real estate, Ila Corcoran is the right agent for you. Ila is Realtor and also serves as the SVP, Real Estate Operations at Bay Street Capital Holdings.

She is an experienced agent whose career started in property management and then transitioned into commercial real estate after achieving a Bachelor's degree and 2 minors from California State University Long Beach. She then transitioned to residential real estate where she found her passion and also saw the potential to help Americans create security through housing and homeownership.

In 2021 alone, she led a team to close more than $80M in transaction volume across numerous states, with a laser focus on value-add services for the American homeowner. In 2022, Ila began a new journey with Bay Street Capital Holdings, a Black-owned wealth management firm. Since joining the team, Ila has closed $10.4M in real estate and secured more than $2.2M in AUM during her first 6 months as a licensed investment advisor representative.

As the SVP of Real Estate Operations and Advisory services for the firm, she also manages acquisitions for the newly launched private equity fund, Resthaven Properties. As the travel industry grows, over $109B is spent annually by black travelers, while less than 1% goes to black-owned hospitality organizations.

As an avid traveler and conscious consumer, Ila understands the needs of the diverse community for safe & accessible accommodations and has supported Resthaven in amassing allocations of $25M from like-minded investors as well as acquiring multiple properties.

To work with Ila for your real estate needs, get in touch with her here!

Key Takeaways
  • Working with an experienced real estate agent when buying or selling property is important as they will represent your needs and work towards getting you the best possible deal:

  • A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents buyers or sellers in real estate transactions

  • A few ways that you can find a good real estate agent include: Getting referrals from family and friends, online reviews and ratings as well as at local real estate offices

  • Among the things that you should consider when choosing a real estate agent include: Their experience and expertise, reputation and references as well as their communication and responsiveness


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, financial management, and real estate here. More on disclaimers here.

Who is a Real Estate Agent and What Do They Do?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. They act as advocates for their clients, guiding them through the buying or selling process and assisting with various tasks.

For buyers, they assist in property searches, schedule viewings and negotiate purchase terms. Agents handle the necessary paperwork, provide market knowledge and advice and connect clients with relevant professionals.

For sellers, they help them prepare and list their properties, conduct showings and negotiate offers.

Real Estate Agent vs Realtor

The terms "real estate agent" and "Realtor" are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. A real estate agent is a licensed professional who has completed the required education and training to assist buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. They are authorized to work in the real estate industry and are bound by the laws and regulations of their state.

On the other hand, a Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional organization for real estate agents. So far, it is reported that NAR has a total of 1.5 million+ members. Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics and are committed to upholding high professional standards in their business practices.

While all Realtors are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors have access to additional resources, networking opportunities and educational programs provided by NAR, which can enhance their knowledge and expertise.

Real Estate Agent vs Broker

A real estate broker is a person who has attained a higher level of licensure and has successfully taken and passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers have completed further education and training requirements beyond those of a real estate agent. They have gained the necessary experience and knowledge to not only assist clients in buying and selling properties but also to manage their own real estate brokerage firm.

One key distinction between real estate agents and brokers is that brokers can work independently and operate their own brokerage, while agents must work under the supervision of a licensed broker. Brokers can also hire and manage other real estate agents within their brokerage.

There are different types of brokers such as managing brokers and associate brokers.

Buyers Agent vs Sellers Agent

The terms "buyer's agent" and "seller's agent" refer to two different types of real estate agents based on the clients they represent in a transaction.

A buyer's agent, also known as a buyer's representative, works exclusively with homebuyers. The buyer's agent represents the buyer and assists them in finding suitable properties, provides guidance throughout the purchasing process, negotiates on their behalf and strives to get the best possible deal for the buyer. Buyer's agents have a fiduciary duty to protect the buyer's interests and work towards fulfilling their specific requirements and preferences.

On the other hand, a seller's agent, also known as a listing agent, represents the seller in a real estate transaction. Their primary responsibility is to assist the seller in marketing and selling their property. Seller's agents help determine the appropriate listing price, create appealing property listings, market the property to potential buyers, coordinate showings and open houses and negotiate offers on behalf of the seller. Their objective is to maximize the sale price and ensure a smooth transaction for the seller.

How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent

Finding a good real estate agent requires some research and effort. Here are some ways and places to find the right real estate agent for you.

Referrals from family and friends

Seek recommendations from people you trust who have recently bought or sold a property. Ask about their experiences with their real estate agents and whether they would recommend them.

Online reviews and ratings

Read online reviews and ratings of real estate agents in your area. Websites such as Yelp, Google and Zillow often provide feedback from previous clients, which can give you insights into an agent's reputation and customer satisfaction. You can also check the agent's online presence on different social media sites.

Local real estate offices

Visit local real estate offices or contact them to inquire about their local agents. Explain your specific needs and preferences, and they can match you with an agent who specializes in the type of property or area you are interested in.

Attend open houses

Visit open houses in the area where you are looking to buy or sell. This allows you to meet and interact with real estate agents firsthand. Observe their professionalism, knowledge and responsiveness to inquiries. If you feel comfortable with an agent, consider reaching out to them for further discussion.

Professional associations and designations

Look for agents who are members of professional associations, such as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). These associations often have strict codes of ethics and provide ongoing education and training to their members. Agents with specialized designations, such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR), have demonstrated expertise in specific areas of real estate.

Online directories

Utilize online directories, such as or the website of your local real estate board, to search for agents based on location and expertise. These directories often provide detailed profiles and contact information for agents, allowing you to narrow down your options.

Interview multiple agents

Once you have shortlisted potential agents, schedule interviews or consultations with them. Ask about their experience, track record, marketing strategies and how they communicate and collaborate with clients. Assess their knowledge of the local market and their ability to understand and meet your specific needs.

Start by conducting an online search using search engines like Google. If you find an agent(s) that you would consider working with, also have a look at their social media online presence and consumer ratings

Subscribe and engage

Once you find a blog that resonates with you, consider subscribing to their newsletter or following their social media accounts. This allows you to stay updated with their latest articles and engage with other readers, potentially gaining additional insights and tips.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

When choosing a real estate agent to work with, there are several important factors to consider. Here are some key things to look out for:

Experience and expertise

Look for an agent who has relevant experience in the local market. Consider the number of years they have been in the industry, their track record of successful transactions and their knowledge of the specific neighborhoods or property types you are interested in.

Reputation and references

Research the agent's reputation by reading online reviews, seeking referrals from trusted sources or asking for references from past clients. A good reputation is an indication of their professionalism and client satisfaction.

Communication and responsiveness

Effective communication is crucial when working with a real estate agent. Consider how promptly they respond to your inquiries, their availability to meet or discuss matters and their ability to clearly convey information and updates throughout the process.

Local market knowledge

A knowledgeable agent should have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, including current trends, pricing dynamics, and neighborhood amenities. They should be able to provide insights and guidance specific to your desired location.

Negotiation skills

Real estate transactions often involve negotiations. Assess the agent's ability to negotiate on your behalf, their understanding of market value, and their track record of achieving favorable outcomes for their clients.

Marketing and networking

If you are selling a property, consider the agent's marketing strategies. Look for an agent who utilizes a variety of channels to effectively promote listings, such as online platforms, social media and traditional marketing methods. Additionally, an agent with a strong network of industry contacts can facilitate connections with other professionals involved in the transaction.

Compatibility and trust

Building a good working relationship with your real estate agent is essential. Choose someone you feel comfortable with, who listens to your needs, and understands your priorities. Trust and open communication are crucial for a successful partnership.

Fees and contracts

Discuss the agent's fees and commission structure upfront. Understand the terms of the agreement and any contractual obligations. Ensure you are comfortable with the financial aspects of working with the agent before proceeding.

Bottom Line

Finding a real estate agent who is the perfect fit for your needs can significantly impact the success of your buying or selling experience. A good real estate agent will be a trusted advisor, advocate for your interests, and guide you through the complexities of the real estate journey.

Taking the time to find the right real estate agent is well worth the effort and can lead to a smooth and satisfying transaction.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Based in Palo Alto, Bay Street Capital Holdings is a reputable financial planning, wealth management, and investment advisory firm that places a strong emphasis on effectively managing overall risk and volatility rather than solely focusing on maximizing returns.

Renowned for its founder, William Huston, who has been recognized as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors for 2021, Bay Street stands out as one of the only two Black-owned firms among the nineteen acknowledged in California.

The company's commitment to fostering diversity and supporting emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs is evident, as reflected in its recognition as a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category for the Asset Manager in 2021, competing against over 900 firms nationwide.



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