How To Choose A Good Realtor

By Nancy Canfield

As Realtors, it is part of our Ethics requirements to do our best for our clients.  But how can you predict who the best person for your needs will be.  You may get all kinds of postcards in the mail that look great.  You see ads in the paper, or on a sign at the house For Sale down the street.  But stop and think about it, whenever you are going to make a major purchase, change doctors or dentists, choose your children’s school, don’t you ask someone whom you know and trust.  This is probably a better approach than a glance in a phone directory, or Ad in the paper.

Expect candidates to be licensed by the CalBRE, (California Bureau of Real Estate), and the SDAR, (San Diego Association of Realtors).  These are the agencies that license Agents in California and San Diego.  They perform fingerprinting, training, and ongoing testing to ensure Agents are safe and have the basic competence to do the job.  Sandicor® is San Diego County’s Regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and Licensed Realtors must be members in order to access the database.  85% of homes are sold through the MLS.  That is, a Sandicor member can list a home for sale in the MLS, and browse the MLS for homes to show clients, and to assess value of properties.  Agents should have Errors and Omissions Insurance because mistakes can happen, and both you and the Agent should be protected.

As with all jobs that have serious consequences, both financial and otherwise, you want to ensure that you choose someone with Experience.  Experience comes from doing the job.  Doctors usually take 12 years before they can practice medicine as a full doctor.  They have 4 years of college, followed by 4 years of medical school, followed by 2 years under a qualified doctor, not just filling out prescriptions and taking pulses, but increasing their experience.  The consequences of their making a mistake could be considerably higher than buying or selling a house, but your house could be the biggest financial transaction of your life, and there can be legal ramifications for mistakes.  So what should you expect Agents to know at least something about, or have an expert in their extended team:

Current Laws
Marketing of the home
Neighborhood Statistics
People skills
Something about Lending
Wood Destroying Pests (Termites, Wood Rot, Fungus)

Speaking of Teams, you may feel that with a team, you don’t get the services of the person you chose, but rather someone less qualified, who frees up your Agent to go get more business.   A contractor has a whole team of people working with her, electrical, plumbing, finishing, roofing, but she is responsible for the workmanship, safety, and your satisfaction.

An Agent who works alone has a less visible team of reputable Title, Escrow, Lending, Termite Inspection, Home Inspection, Appraisal companies, to work or consult with.  As with the contractor, these individuals have expertise that are often licensed and regulated, and have years of experience.

What about the Company the Agent works for?  Depends.  A small company with a sterling reputation is at least as valuable as a large company that gets a lot of criticism for being too lax.  Why I chose Windermere Homes & Estates is because their standards are strict about ethics and legalities, but also because they provide extensive training almost daily, to help ensure agents don’t make errors, or provide slipshod work.  The SD Business Journal publishes an annual Directory of Real Estate Agencies, and is a great resource for your selection.

Lastly, you should also ask for a list of references of people whom the agent you are considering has helped buy or sell a home recently, say, in the last year.   You want to know that the Agent did a good job.  Ask the reference to give an example of how the agent handled an unordinary circumstance in one of the categories above.  Satisfy yourself that you have made the right choice.

Naturally, there are many more aspects to buying or selling a home, but I believe the above will certainly get you headed in the right direction, and on sound footing.

If I can answer any questions for you please email me at [email protected]
Call or txt 619-871-9333, or visit my web site at  You will find there a mortgage calculator, and you can browse 20,000 homes in the MLS system.  Also, visit my blog there for interesting articles that may be of help to you.  #CaBRE628323