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Here Are Our Tips for Finding and Working with a Buyer’s Agent in Los Angeles, California

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

There’s a lot to love about Los Angeles, California. It’s close to the beach, it has a vibrant food and entertainment scene, and the weather is gorgeous year-round. But those housing prices — whew.

California has a population of over 39 million people and over a quarter of those live in Los Angeles. In fact, if L.A. County was a state, it would be the 11th most populous. The Los Angeles metro area is comprised of five counties and 88 cities including Long Beach, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and the city of Los Angeles itself.

In this sprawling metropolis, homes go fast and for a lot of money. The median home price sat just under $800,000 in May 2022 and homes were on the market for a median of nine days. This means that when you buy a home in L.A., you have to be poised to take action quickly — and having an L.A. buyer’s agent by your side will help you do just that.

Ed Kaminsky, a top Manhattan Beach, California agent says, “If you have a buyer’s agent who’s representing you, they’re going to fight to make sure they can figure out the best opportunity that’s out there and how to get the best value.”

But here’s the thing: There are thousands of L.A. real estate agents to choose from. So how do you choose the best one for you?

We’re here to help you narrow it down, find the best agent for you, and get to work finding a new home.

First, let’s find the agent

There are a few different strategies for finding the right agent and you can mix and match as needed.

Use an agent matching tool

To find the right L.A. buyer’s agent, start with HomeLight’s Agent Match Tool. All you have to do is answer a few questions about where you are in the homebuying process and our tool will match you with three highly qualified agents.

When you get your matches, you can click on the agent’s name to reveal their profile, see their years of experience, and the number of homes they have closed. You can also check out a map of their transactions to see the specific areas of L.A. that they have helped buyers and sellers in. Their HomeLight profile will also include reviews from clients so you can see what others have said about working with them.

Find a Buyer's Agent In Los Angeles

Looking for an agent to help you purchase your L.A. dream home? Look no further.

Ask for a referral

Before the internet, many homebuyers found their agents through word-of-mouth referrals, and while you do have the world at your fingertips, talking to your friends and family is still a reliable way to find a quality agent.

If you know someone who recently purchased a home in Los Angeles, ask them who they worked with and then do some research to see if they’d be a good fit. You can also use local neighborhood platforms like NextDoor or Reddit to ask if anyone has recommendations. Local Facebook groups can also be a good place to start.

One referral source that is often overlooked is your lender. Lenders often have relationships with local agents, so if you’re already in the preapproval process or have chosen a lender, you can ask them for their recommendations.

Start with a local brokerage

If finding an agent seems overwhelming, you can broaden your search to local Los Angeles brokerages. A brokerage is basically the agent’s managing company. Finding a brokerage that you feel comfortable working with can be a great first step to finding an agent. Once you contact the brokerage, you can discuss your needs with them and they can point you to an agent within their brokerage that they think will be a good fit.

Now it’s time to do some research

Finding an agent is just the first step. Now that you have a few names, it’s time to get out your magnifying glass and do some investigation to see which one is best for you.

Pay attention to the agent’s experience and reviews

Looking into an agent’s experience and reviews is a great way to see if they’d be a good fit. Even the best agent may not be the right fit for you if they don’t have the specific expertise that you need.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are their recent sales comparable to your price point? If you’re looking for a house in the $900k range, but the agent has only sold $2M properties, they might not be the best person to guide you through your home search. Home prices in Los Angeles vary greatly depending on where you’re looking, so if you’re looking for something more affordable, you may want to avoid agents who specialize in luxury properties in favor of one who works with a variety of home buyers or vice versa.
  • Do they have experience in your desired neighborhood? Each neighborhood is different, and finding an agent with experience in the neighborhood you want to be in is key to a successful search. They will have insider knowledge into the best places to eat, fun things to do, crime rates, school performance, and more.
  • Have they helped buyers with the type of property you’re looking for? Look at the agent’s history and the types of home they’ve helped buyers purchase — condos, townhomes, single-family homes, multi-family properties, luxury homes, beach condos, and more. If you want to buy a beach condo, but the agent has only worked with single-family homes, they might not be the right fit. Agents sometimes specialize in certain types of property and can expertly guide you through the process.
  • How many active or recent deals do they currently have? The L.A. market moves fast, so choose a real estate agent that is currently working in the market. If they haven’t represented a buyer or seller recently, they may be working with outdated information and might not be able to help you as well as someone who is actively working with clients.
  • Do they have good reviews? Back in the day, word-of-mouth referrals from people who had worked with the agent were really all people had to go on. Today, online reviews can tell you a lot about an agent and the experience of their clients. Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few agents, seeing what their clients are saying about them will give you a good idea of whether or not they’ll be the right fit for you.
There are conversations that happen between a buyer and an agent, and they can just feel it’s a match. The agent’s listening, they’re asking the right questions, they’re paying attention, communication levels match up.
  • Edward Kaminsky
    Edward Kaminsky Real Estate Agent
    Close
    Edward Kaminsky
    Edward Kaminsky Real Estate Agent at The Kaminsky Real Estate Group
    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 35
    • Transactions 1093
    • Average Price Point $2m
    • Single Family Homes 743

Pick your agent

Traditionally, the rule of thumb for choosing an agent was to interview at least three. But according to Kaminsky, that doesn’t always have to be the case. He says, “There are conversations that happen between a buyer and an agent, and they can just feel it’s a match. The agent’s listening, they’re asking the right questions, they’re paying attention, communication levels match up.”

Even if you feel like it’s a good match, there are still some things you should discuss in your initial conversation to confirm your research.

Consider the agent’s availability and communication methods

Make sure that the agent is able to accommodate your schedule — if they only show homes on weekends, but you work Saturdays and Sundays, it’s probably not the best fit. Also, consider their methods of communication and how easily accessible they are. If you’re a texter, but they say that they will only communicate via email, you may need to try another agent.

Ask a few questions

While you don’t necessarily have to do a full-fledged interview, you should still ask some questions. Consider including a few of the following:

  • How do you help buyers compete in this market?
  • How often will you contact me about available properties?
  • How much access do you have to off-market properties and pocket listings?

Read the vibe

If you don’t feel comfortable with the agent, even if you can’t quite put your finger on why, you may need to move on to another one. Your agent will be helping you with what may be the largest purchase you will ever make, so you want to make sure you are comfortable being open and honest about what you want — and don’t want — in your new home.

Our top tips for working with your Los Angeles buyer’s agent

Once you’ve found an agent, it’s time to get to work! Here are some tips for working with an L.A. buyer’s agent.

Sign a buyer-broker agreement

Some agents, like Kaminsky, prefer to have a heart-to-heart with a client and use mutual trust. Other agents prefer to use a buyer-broker agreement that protects both the buyer and the broker and sets up certain expectations. Kaminsky says this “really makes it clear what the two parties are thinking, and these contracts should be cancelable if the agent’s not performing.”

Get specific about your search criteria and your “why”

It’s not only crucial to tell your agent exactly what you’re looking for, but also where you’re looking. Top Los Angeles neighborhoods include:

Discuss your current and future goals with your L.A. buyers agent, so they know exactly what you’re looking for and can work to find it.

Not only is it important to share what you want, it’s also important to share why you want it. Buyer’s agents have a wealth of knowledge about the area, so if they know your “why,” they may be able to search out properties or areas that never occurred to you but are exactly what you’re looking for.

To make it easy on everyone, you can be prepared by making a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” to show your agent which areas are flexible and which are non-negotiable.

Kaminsky says that “a good agent really understands their buyer’s needs and can go preview those properties so they can just select the ones that are worth going to see.” The more specific you are, the better your agent can help you.

Discuss first-time homebuyer and down payment assistance programs

California and the Los Angeles area offer first-time homebuyer and down payment assistance programs. A local L.A. buyer’s agent will likely have knowledge of these programs and can help direct you to ones you may qualify for and offer tips to help you through the process. You can also do some research on your city’s website for the specific city or area you are looking at.

Remember that you’re the boss

It can be easy to defer to your agent’s advice, they’re the expert after all. But it’s important to remember that even though they may have more knowledge and experience in real estate, you are still in charge of the process and should be vocal about what you want and don’t want.

If you aren’t comfortable with their guidance, you aren’t obligated to take it. In some cases, you may realize that the agent you chose isn’t the best fit or they may show red flags or act unethically, and you need to terminate your relationship. Often, this can be done with a simple phone call, text, or email, but in some cases you may need to write a buyer’s agent termination letter to make it official.

Work with a trusted partner

Your Los Angeles buyer’s agent should be your partner throughout your homebuying process. Working with a trusted agent who can dig up properties, give you insights into the different neighborhoods, answer questions about schools, nightlife, and local events, and generally be a sounding board to field all of your questions is a valuable resource when you’re looking for your next home.

When you use our Agent Match Tool, we’ll help you meet agents who go above and beyond, know the area, and can keep tabs on the local market. It only takes two minutes to get matched with a real estate agent in your area!

Header Image Source: (Ariel Blanco / Unsplash)