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2007-03-16 14:26:00

Are You Relocating and Need to Find a Great Agent? (Part 1 of 2)


Are you relocating and need to find a great agent to help you? It is well worth the effort to spend time finding someone to help you find a new home in an area you do not know.

I have some thoughts on how to find that person AND what to look for, based on some significant personal moving experience, and having helped a few folks relocate around the country. Let's talk about how to find the right REALTOR®.

How to Find an Agent

Tip # 1 --  I think it makes sense to use an agent who is a REALTOR® (a real estate professional who is a member in good standing of the National Assn. of REALTORS® and adheres to a specific Code of Ethics). Not ALL agents are REALTORS®. NAR maintains a database of agents. We're not here to debate whether being a REALTOR® makes a difference or not, so if you find an agent who is not a REALTOR® that you like, go with it.

Tip # 2 -- I would use a referral from a trusted source, if you can. This is someone who has been tried and tested, so to speak. If the referring person is someone you know well, or another agent that you know (perhaps the one helping you to sell your current home), chances are this referral will work out for you. Referrals are often the best sources.

Tip # 3 -- If you don't have a referral you can look in the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) database for someone in the area you are moving to. A CRS has had significant training in a range of real estate coursework and has had substantial experience, handling at least 25 transactions in a 2-year period. Agents who have a GRI designation are also strong professionals. There are other designations to consider as well.

Tip # 4 -- If you are a senior and would like to work with someone who focuses on that demographic, you can search their database for someone with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation.

Tip # 5 -- I recommend that you not make your decision based solely on the certification or on the brokerage name without doing some due diligence (yep, I can hear some of the big brokerages cringing when I say that). But there are great agents at brokerages that are not well known, and not-so-good agents at the big name firms. That alone should not be your criterion.

Tip # 6 -- If you do prefer to use a particular brokerage (e.g., RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Realty Executives, Keller Williams, Weichert, Century 21, Prudential, ERA to name only a few of the national ones), you can find a list of names in your new location by consulting their respective national databases. Or use Google or some other search engine to look for local offices in the city you are moving to.

Tip # 7 -- You can also locate an agent here on RealTown (see my comments about blogging in the next part of the series) who is based in your new location. Simply click on the map on the main page and go from there.

Tip # 8 -- Another option is to find an agent through the state and regional real estate associations (e.g., California Assn. of REALTORS® (CAR), Massachusetts Assn. of REALTORS® (MAR) at the state level). Each state will have more localized associations that cover your area as well.

Tip # 9 -- Be aware that if you are working with a relocation firm because your company requires you to do so, you may not have much or any choice as to who to use.

The next part of this series will focus on what to look for in the agent you need to hire.


 (Jeff Dowler spent 15 years in corporate business in a variety of Human Resources management positions and got his real estate license in 2002. "I worked for RE/MAX in Cambridge, MA. We relocated to Southern California (Carlsbad) in the spring of 2005 where I continue with RE/MAX. I have owned 9 primary homes (in 4 states), 2 vacation homes, and a business condo. With 4 significant relocations under my belt,  I understand the issues that consumers face in buying, selling and relocating." Jeff has four blogs: Fans of Coastal San Diego, First Time Buyer Central, Relocation A to Z, and What's Up Doc?)


Are you relocating and need to find a great agent to help you? It is well worth the effort to spend time finding someone to help you find a new home in an area you do not know.

I have some thoughts on how to find that person AND what to look for, based on some significant personal moving experience, and having helped a few folks relocate around the country. Let's talk about how to find the right REALTOR®.

How to Find an Agent

Tip # 1 --  I think it makes sense to use an agent who is a REALTOR® (a real estate professional who is a member in good standing of the National Assn. of REALTORS® and adheres to a specific Code of Ethics). Not ALL agents are REALTORS®. NAR maintains a database of agents. We're not here to debate whether being a REALTOR® makes a difference or not, so if you find an agent who is not a REALTOR® that you like, go with it.

Tip # 2 -- I would use a referral from a trusted source, if you can. This is someone who has been tried and tested, so to speak. If the referring person is someone you know well, or another agent that you know (perhaps the one helping you to sell your current home), chances are this referral will work out for you. Referrals are often the best sources.

Tip # 3 -- If you don't have a referral you can look in the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) database for someone in the area you are moving to. A CRS has had significant training in a range of real estate coursework and has had substantial experience, handling at least 25 transactions in a 2-year period. Agents who have a GRI designation are also strong professionals. There are other designations to consider as well.

Tip # 4 -- If you are a senior and would like to work with someone who focuses on that demographic, you can search their database for someone with the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation.

Tip # 5 -- I recommend that you not make your decision based solely on the certification or on the brokerage name without doing some due diligence (yep, I can hear some of the big brokerages cringing when I say that). But there are great agents at brokerages that are not well known, and not-so-good agents at the big name firms. That alone should not be your criterion.

Tip # 6 -- If you do prefer to use a particular brokerage (e.g., RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Realty Executives, Keller Williams, Weichert, Century 21, Prudential, ERA to name only a few of the national ones), you can find a list of names in your new location by consulting their respective national databases. Or use Google or some other search engine to look for local offices in the city you are moving to.

Tip # 7 -- You can also locate an agent here on RealTown (see my comments about blogging in the next part of the series) who is based in your new location. Simply click on the map on the main page and go from there.

Tip # 8 -- Another option is to find an agent through the state and regional real estate associations (e.g., California Assn. of REALTORS® (CAR), Massachusetts Assn. of REALTORS® (MAR) at the state level). Each state will have more localized associations that cover your area as well.

Tip # 9 -- Be aware that if you are working with a relocation firm because your company requires you to do so, you may not have much or any choice as to who to use.

The next part of this series will focus on what to look for in the agent you need to hire.


 (Jeff Dowler spent 15 years in corporate business in a variety of Human Resources management positions and got his real estate license in 2002. "I worked for RE/MAX in Cambridge, MA. We relocated to Southern California (Carlsbad) in the spring of 2005 where I continue with RE/MAX. I have owned 9 primary homes (in 4 states), 2 vacation homes, and a business condo. With 4 significant relocations under my belt,  I understand the issues that consumers face in buying, selling and relocating." Jeff has four blogs: Fans of Coastal San Diego, First Time Buyer Central, Relocation A to Z, and What's Up Doc?)

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