Find a Realtor: Big Search or Local Brokerage?

by | May 12, 2018 | Buyers, Sellers

Ways to Find a Realtor

There are a number of way to find a realtor today that didn’t exist before.  You used to have to open the Yellow Pages, remember the guy on Main Street, or go to your family friend.  When you search for real estate today you are immediately hit by ads telling you that this site or that site will get you a top 5% producer.  It’s just advertising. So, what is the background on these and how do you pick?

Realtor Search Engine

Over the past few years a lot of new companies have popped up that offer to connect you to a Realtor. They have built large and comprehensive real estate search engines. We can get into the quality of the data in another post (we are talking to you, Zestimate).  Basically, what they are doing is creating a Google style engine where agents pay to play.  In Zillow’s case an agent can pay over $1000 a month to be show first in the area code you are searching.  That doesn’t sound like the best way to go about finding a Realtor.

Choosing a Realtor requires some work.

Behind the Scenes

Other companies, like Homelight, allow old data and sometimes unchecked data to be uploaded to their sites to create the illusion of quality.  For example, is a part time agent who has sold 100 homes over past 20 years better than the full time agent who has sold 50 in 3 years?  They don’t differentiate.  Other ways that the data can be made confusing is when there are teams involved.  Sales are funneled though a single Realtor even though behind the scenes there are upwards of 10+ agents actually doing the work.  It creates the illusion of a high quality and massive throughput person.  The reality is that you may never meet him or her, but just a team member.  Once again, they don’t differentiate.  It’s basically a brokerage within a brokerage. Either way, the numbers are easily skewed and you’ll be the one left holding the bag.


Lately, there are companies like Redfin.  The lines here can get very blurry.  Sometimes the Realtors work for Redfin, but sometimes they are just getting leads through Redfin.  How the agents gets paid is still an area of confusion and you may never really know, but the point of Redfin is this: Gather Marketshare by Commoditizing Real Estate at a massive loss.

Without a question, there are plenty of quality real estate agents working at Redfin, but many times you get what you pay for.  For example, we advertise your house on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, mailers, and other mediums to sell as fast as possible.  These things cost money to do.  Sure, we can do a 1% listing fee as well and sit back to wait for the offers to come in (by the way, it is never 1% if you look at the fine print).  You’ll even have your house on the their website (they pull from the same resources we do).  It’s very impersonal and very transactional (don’t call after 5pm either).  What happens when things go wrong or trouble arises? Jim Wang at had this to say:

“In the end, you get what you pay for. I’ve never used Redfin to buy or sell a home but folks who have tell me it’s very transactional. If you’re a DIY type, it’s perfect for you. If you need guidance or you’d like someone to search for you, then it’s not as hands on as a good full service agent might be.”

Our Thoughts

We think that finding an agent is a personal experience that requires us to mesh together.  Agents that are local to you can most likely provide the little insights into a neighborhood that others may not see or know.  They can discuss how neighborhoods have transitioned and the new exciting projects ahead.  Even better they have personal interest in the area.  We think that you should interview a number of agents, ask what they do different, and then decide for yourself.  Picking the “Top 5%” or the cheapest doesn’t always align with your goal.  Also, that kind of information is very hard to verify its accuracy as we mentioned above.  The lowest bidder isn’t always the cheapest and most cost effective either.  Just ask our mayor about this lowest bidder at our airports for pavement work.

Working with Us

What we offer is a very personalized and full service approach to your real estate buying and selling needs.  We are invested in your success because it’s also our success.  Our Realtors are paid their full commission each and every time.  We work as a part of the community and with that comes the responsibility to do our best for you, because we are here with you.  Jim also had this to say:

“The number one advantage of Redfin is in cost savings.”

We understand that saving money is a big draw which is why for a limited time out brokerage is offering similar cost savings today. These savings come from us, the broker, and not our Realtors. You can rest easy knowinfg that the are still working as hard as they can for you as a full service agent. 

To read more about Jim’s journey through the home buying process go here:

Contact us today and get started!