Los Altos Real Estate Blog


How do I chose the best agent to refer a client?

As a REALTOR, I am sometimes tasked with how to choose another agent who can help a client.  The reasons for referring a client to someone include relocation out of the area, buying or selling too far away, a specialist need I can't do (buying a business, etc), and even being too busy.  Whatever the reason, it's important to select an agent who can serve my clients needs to the same level I would.  So, what do I look for in another agent?

First and most important, personality.  That embodies a whole list of traits and the combination helps me to know if I'm working with the best person.  Some of the factors I include in personality are:

  • Integrity (I want someone who holds ethics high on their list)
  • Professionalism (I want someone who conducts themselves in a business-like manner but is also a bit casual)
  • Attitude (I want someone who is confident but not arrogant)
  • Respect (I want someone who respects others and themselves as well as being respected by their peers)
  • Nice (I want someone who is nice.  Sounds simply enough.  However, they need to know when to play hardball)

Second, experience and knowledge.  This varies based on the client.  If I'm working with a first-time buyer then I'm more apt to refer them to someone who is relatively new in the business.  If I'm working with a high-end buyer or sophisticated investor, I'll choose someone who has experience in those areas.  My choice of who to refer to is based on the needs of the client.

Lastly, client preference.  Whoever I refer my client to has to be able to get along with the person I've referred them to.  Otherwise, it's not a good fit because buying real estate is a team effort.  Choosing a referral agent solely on their geography isn't going to work out for my clients.  I like to know the agent and get to know how they work either in person, by phone, or by reading their blogs.  When they meet the agent, hopefully it's a fit.  If not, we go through the process again.  It all comes down to customer service and providing a quality experience.

I certainly hope I'm worthy of your referrals.  If you have someone looking in the Silicon Valley area, please take a look at my blog, give me a call, and hopefully I can be of service.

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 11 commentsBryan Robertson • October 07 2011 01:03PM


I agree, choosing an agent to refer a client to is a very difficult job.  One time I researched an agent very thoroughly through the internet; her specialties, designations and her personal website.  I was fully confident of the decision and everything pointed in the direction that she would be perfect a fit for my client. UNTIL I actually spoke with her!  WOW-what a personality disorder, very cold and rude.  Just goes to show you that on paper anyone can look good, but we are in a people business and personality counts!!! 

Posted by Krista Abshure (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago


We are aften asked to refer people in various parts of the country.  We usually vet them personally after getting suggestions from some our business and media partners.  Even then some of thse folks do not return phone calls, (even though I have lef the message, I have a referral for you)  That alone indicates that they are not the person for the job. 

Recently, someone in Active Rain contacted me and asked if I would send them referrals...Yikes, I have had a less than happy referral to someone on AR who took the listing (sounded real good after i had several chats), and then disappeared.  She was also recommended by a friend in the upper echelons of NAR.   The person I referred is a valued friend and legal advisor, so I ended up with egg on my face. 

I have met several people on AR face to face, and I would recommend both.  I have talked to several people and corresponded with them on AR, and over a period of the last 3 years have understood their values and who they are, and yes I would recommend them.  I also love recommending everyone we have worked with, 


Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 7 years ago

Bryan, these are all great tips for referring people to agents, thanks for sharing, I will use your tips.

Posted by Michael L. Brownstead, ABR, GRI, MRP, SRS, 1SG US Army (Ret.) (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

This is a question I've had most recently and I like your answers. I guess we can never really be sure, just give it our best shot with the information we have available. And yes I would refer you! Suggested

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 7 years ago

A very good list Bryan. I like your writing and would hesitate to refer business to you. I, also, like to actually talk to someone as well. Interesting how much you can learn by talking to someone.


Posted by Cal Yoder, Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744 (Keller Williams Elite) over 7 years ago


This certainly makes a lot of sense. And, I like the part about the "nice" business. It's good to work with someone you like. But, naturally you don't want someone who is a pushover.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 7 years ago
Bryan, this is an excellent list, I think clients preferences high on our list.
Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago
Dear Bryan-
Quite a comprehensive list!
Just finished a successful referral with an agent in another state - TOTALLY AR-wonderful!!
Enjoyed your blog - I took EVERY ONE OF YOUR POINTS into consideration in choosing the other agent for my out-of-state Client.
Have a happy day -
Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 7 years ago

I get lots and lots of referrals through the RE/MAX system, but it amazes me how many people don't do other internet research on people to see if that agent has an internet presence. I don't care what your bio says on one online profile, I want to be able to see you plastered everywhere if I Google you!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 7 years ago

An online presence is very important and you want to make sure they've been in the business at least a couple of years. But I want to know who is going to handle that lead. Is the agent I am sending the lead to, will they be with this client from showings to closing.  Too many times I have referred an agent just to find out that the interviewed my client, and passed the actual work off to another agent.  Now, I always ask the question, "will you exclusively work with client or will you be passing them off to another agent in your office".

Posted by Greg Gillespie, CRS / Broker Owner (GumTree Realty / Genesis Realty Services,Inc) about 7 years ago

As a Realtor with Keller Williams for over 6 years now, I have had to give some agents from other states referrals for friends, family or clients relocating.  It is always a challenge to find an agent who you trust enough to refer your loved ones or clients who trust you.  

I have had luck calling a Keller Williams Realty in the area my client was relocating to and asking for the best buyers agent the office has.  After that, I have a lengthy phone conversation with this Realtor.  I myself have also received several referrals this way as well.

I will keep you in mind and hope that you will also keep me in mind if you know of anyone relocating to Metro Detroit.


Thank you,

Benjamin Lang



Posted by Lang Premier Properties, Metro Detroit Real Estate Group (Lang Premier Properties) about 7 years ago

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