How to Find a Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Real Estate Agent
Finding a good real estate agent can make all the difference in your homebuying or selling experience. Recent data shows 86% of sellers worked with a listing agent to market and sell their homes. Of those sellers, 36% found their real estate agent through a referral via friends or family. Are you curious about what goes into the search for the ideal real estate agent? Read on for insight and advice on how to find the perfect real estate agent for your needs.

Distinguishing between an agent and a broker

Real estate agents and brokers each participate in real estate transactions but have different roles and responsibilities. A real estate agent is a professional who has earned a license to sell property, working on behalf of the seller or the buyer. On the other hand, a real estate broker is a step up from an agent. They have pursued additional education and are licensed to manage their real estate businesses or offices. Some brokers may choose to work alone, while others hire other agents to work for them.

Realtor and agent: What's the difference?

A realtor and a real estate agent are not interchangeable terms, even though they often perform similar roles. A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and abides by its strict code of ethics. All realtors are real estate agents or brokers, but not all agents or brokers are realtors.

The role of a real estate agent

A real estate agent's job is to help clients navigate the complexities of buying or selling a property. For buyers, an agent, also known as a buyer's agent, will help find properties within the client's price range, assist in negotiations, and guide them through the legalities of the buying process. For sellers, an agent, typically a listing agent, will help set a fair price for the property, market it to potential buyers, and handle the selling process.

Essential questions to ask real estate agents

Interviews are critical to your search for the best real estate agent. Remember to ask candidates the following questions.


When you ask about a real estate agent's experience, you’re looking for someone with proven results and a reliable process. Look for agents with years of successful experience in locations relevant to your home search. Ask follow-up questions about the types of properties they specialize in and what they’ve accomplished recently.

Point of contact

Before hiring a real estate agent, it's essential to establish who you'll be working with throughout the process. Some agents might delegate tasks to an assistant or a team, while others handle all responsibilities. Understanding your workflow will help ensure clear communication throughout the real estate transaction.


Understanding how much money the real estate agent will make from the transaction can help you assess whether their services are worth the cost. Most real estate agents earn a commission based on the property's sale price. It's usually paid by the seller and then split between the seller's and buyer's agents.

Testimonials from past clients

Learning about other people's experiences with the agent can provide insight into their professionalism, competence, and reliability. Ask the agent for references or look for reviews and testimonials online.

How an expert buyer’s agent can help

Your first impression of an agent can give you critical insight into what it’s like to work with them. However, the best agents offer more than outstanding customer service — they do what it takes to get the deal done on a house you love.

Secure a home within your budget

An excellent real estate agent will have the resources and strategies to help you find a house in your price range. They can provide you with a list of properties that match your criteria and help you make an informed decision.

Negotiate a favorable deal

An experienced real estate agent can leverage their knowledge and skills to negotiate a better price for you. They can advise you on making an attractive offer or counteroffer and handle negotiations with the seller or the seller's agent on your behalf.

Navigate the current market

Every real estate market has its unique challenges. An agent well-versed in your local market can guide you through potential obstacles, from competitive bidding wars to issues arising from property inspections.

What makes a listing agent indispensable

In a competitive market like San Jose, working with the best local seller’s agent can make all the difference.

Set the right price

Your real estate agent should provide a realistic estimate of your property's market value based on comparative market analysis. This information can help you set a competitive yet profitable asking price.

Identify worthwhile home improvements

Your real estate agent can recommend home improvement projects to enhance your property's appeal and increase its market value. These suggestions are typically based on current trends and buyer preferences in your local real estate market.

Market your property effectively

A crucial role of a real estate agent is marketing your property to attract potential buyers. This could include professional photography, virtual tours, staging, open houses, and listing your property online.

About Sheila Santwani

Sheila Santwani is a Realtor known for her professional integrity, dedication, and enthusiasm for the real estate industry. As a resident of the Bay Area for over two decades, Sheila possesses comprehensive knowledge of the region's lifestyle, culture, neighborhoods, schools, and communities. Sheila’s experience working in the tech industry makes her a natural fit for tech employees moving to the San Jose area. Today, as a full-time Realtor and independent developer, Sheila builds custom luxury homes in Silicon Valley, primarily in Willow Glen.

If you want to buy or sell a home or have questions about the San Jose real estate market, contact Sheila Santwani today.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels


Work With Sheila

She brings to you her passion for real estate, exceptional attention to detail in her work, and her utmost desire to help you fulfill your real estate dreams.