John's Florida Real Estate Blog

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How To Find Local Real Estate Agents on the Internet

What is the best way to find a REALTOR® in the area where you are selling or buying a home? These days many people, up to 75%, begin their searches by looking on the internet. However, when you enter something like "Realtor Zephyrhills Florida" into a search engine like Yahoo or Google, what most often comes up first is a series of services that appear to be local specialists since they pepper their search results with the word "Zephyrhills". In reality, they are referral services that could be located anywhere in the country! I suppose they could even be in a foreign country. Their computers add in the word "Zephyrhills" from your search inquiry so that it appears that you have reached a local site. If you had put in "Holliston" then the results would have that city's name appear several times. If you proceed to give them your contact information they contact an agent that they have recruited over the phone and probably have never met. They then charge a percentage of the commission or a flat fee for each lead referral they send to an agent. I get at least one call a week, sometimes more, from these services promising to send me referral leads if I sign up with them. But, I have never had any of them qualify me based on my expertise, training, experience, or area of service. My willingness to pay them seems to be the main qualification. If you use one of these services investigate it carefully to be sure that you will be getting an agent that works in your target area and can perform the services you need.

If you scroll down a little farther the screen or go to the next page, the actual websites of agents in your target area should begin to appear. You can usually identify these because the name of a specific real estate agent will probably be included in the information. When you speak with them always ask them where they work and what area they cover. If it is in or close to your city of interest, great. If it is farther away, be sure that you are convinced that they can help you efficiently and expertly.

One good way to find an agent is to visit the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) site at: www.realtor.com You can enter the name of the city where you currently live or where you wish to move, and the names of NAR members in that general area will appear. One caveat here though! If you put in Zephyrhills, for example, 500 names will appear. In our town there are no where near 500 agents. Some of the names are those of agents located up to 50+ miles away. Ask any prospective agents how far away from your target city they live and work. It just makes sense that a local agent will be better informed about the local real estate market. Legally I can sell homes in the Miami area and tell the NAR system that I would service a zip code area there. However, I know little about that particular market and could not perform as well in that city. Not to mention that I could not service the listing well due to its distance. My best advice is to deal with a local REALTOR®. An additional benefit of searching through the NAR site is that you will not just find a real estate agent, but a REALTOR® who subscribes to the NAR's Code of Ethics. This ensures that you will get the highest standard of service possible. You can see the Code of Ethics at the NAR site.

In Florida you can search through the Florida Association of REALTORs (FAR) site at: http://fl.living.net/  Again, be aware that some agents will list cities they service that are faraway, sometimes hundreds of miles, from your target area. So if you truly want a local agent, ask the agent how far they are from the city you are interested in and how much business they do there. They may offer to do a referral for you, but you can also find the agents in that city yourself.

If you are looking for a REALTOR® in a city other than the one you live in, you may wish to contact a local agent you know and respect near where you live, and ask him/her to find an agent for you. As a real estate professional, your local agent can help evaluate the abilities of other REALTOR®s and refer you to the best qualified candidates. In this electronic age we often have contacts in other markets and can put our customers in touch with them. This can greatly streamline the search process for you and will  hopefully increase your chances of finding a great agent to work with. Usually the agent in the other town will pay your local agent a referral fee if you buy or sell a property. So he/she will be compensated for helping you find a good REALTOR®.

Of course, another way of finding a good REALTOR® is to call me! I am a full-service real estate professional,and always work very hard for my customers. I invite you to visit my website at:  jelwell.century21bnr.com  to see what CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. and I can do for you. You can also contact me via telephone from 9 AM to Midnight at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail at: jelwell1@tampabay.rr.com  It will be my pleasure to assist you in any way that I can!

John Elwell - REALTOR

CENTURY 21

Bill Nye Realty, Inc.

813-783-4444

Licensed in Florida

 

Comment balloon 0 commentsJohn Elwell • July 09 2007 01:26PM
How To Find Local Real Estate Agents on the Internet
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