How to find a great real estate agent

Is selling your home on your to-do list in the upcoming year? Do you feel like you missed the "Spring Market" ?? Have you waffled between putting your home on the market as For Sale By Owner? Does the paperwork involved in selling your home give you a headache? Do the words "due diligence" confuse you?

It can be completely overwhelming to look at all of the moving pieces involved with the real estate puzzle. Yet, when you consider hiring a professional real estate agent, a Realtor, the stress can almost immediately start to fade away!

SO ... how do you find an GREAT real estate agent? How To Find a Great Real Estate Agent

First, let's talk about what to look for when searching for a great real estate agent:

A great Realtor helps you be realistic about pricing.

First and foremost, your Realtor absolutely needs to be truthful about the current market when discussing the pricing of your home.

There are quite a few real estate agents who will accept a listing ... no matter how far off the mark the seller wants to be with the price. This is NOT good practice. Not only does it affect that real estate agent's "production numbers" when they end up with listings that sit on the market for too long, it also greatly impacts your end goal - selling your home.

When a home is not priced correctly at the beginning, it will most likely absorb extra days "on the market" and you will run the risk of potential buyers wondering what's wrong with the house after too many days on. Be smart and savvy and choose a Realtor who is being forthright with the realistic and true market price and list at the very beginning with an appropriate sales price.

A great Realtor will truly understand and LISTEN to the timing of your family's situation.

Regardless of where you are moving your family, it's going to be stressful. New jobs, schools, friends, perhaps even new climates will need to be adjusted to. When you choose a great real estate agent who has experience (even better if it's their OWN personal experience) of relocating, the sharp edges of this process start to fade away.

It is very important that your Realtor not only have compassion, but also empathy. Look for a Realtor who has a great understanding of the timelines your family will need to meet and the stressors you are likely to encounter.

A great Realtor assists in every way possible to eliminate challenges.

This is also a BIG one! Listen when your Realtor speaks. Are they not only knowledgeable about the market, about the process of selling/buying real estate, but also "on point" when it comes to your local area? Do they have a good rapport with other Realtors in the area? How tough of a negotiator are they? Do relationships matter to them and do they operate with ethics and values that match yours? Do they look ahead of the transaction and help minimize challenges based on their innate knowledge of the situation?

A great Realtor has resources and assets in place to help with the literal moving parts of your relocation.

The timing of your real estate experience is extremely important. More often than not, the sale of your home or the purchase of your next home is not the only transaction happening simultaneously. If you are selling your home, it's possible the buyer for your home has to sell their current home. If you are buying your next home, chances are, the seller has to now find another home ... the domino effect of this situation can be difficult unless your Realtor is right there by your side to make sure all of the moving parts work together in tandem.

A great Realtor can guide you along the process, including top tips for preparing your home and showing to potential buyers so you can SELL your house!!!

Even if the current housing market isn't leaning in your favor at the moment, you should absolutely *lean* on your Realtor to drive the sale of your home. Ask yourself what your Realtor is doing to get the job done. What is your Realtor doing to inject calm and anxiety-free moments during the process for your family? Is your Realtor savvy with all aspects of the transaction, including how to correctly stage your home? Do they know how to offer suggestions about purging and packing away personal items?

Finding a great real estate agent is easier than you might think!

This article on finding a great Realtor talks about eight main things to keep in mind when interviewing for a real estate agent.  It is important to choose several real estate agents and then interview them. This is a big financial decision you are making and finding someone with the right expertise who also is the right fit for your situation is very important.

The 8th & Home Team has established an amazing network of fabulous real estate agents, almost literally the world over. No matter where you are moving to or moving from, we have a recommendation for you! The Realtors in our network have been personally vetted by us, and interviewed to learn about not only their expertise, but their values and ethics, as well as their marketing prowess and their ability to find the right homes for buyers.

If we can be of assistance to you as you look for a great real estate agent, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch!

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VHDA 3% Down Payment Assistance Grant

Do you know the definition of first-time homebuyer? Did you know you can qualify to be a first time homebuyer even if you've purchased before? Simply moving to a new state can qualify you as a first time homebuyer! 19195 Sweig Terrace Leesburg

VHDA’s First Time Home Buying programs are truly a breath of fresh air!

Did you know that:

  •  a First Time Homebuyer by definition is someone who hasn’t had a mortgage in 36 months!
  • in “Targeted VHDA Areas” you don’t have to be a first time homebuyer at all!
  • the VHDA offers 100% loan options for buyers!
  • the VHDA offers a 3% grant to help with the down payment of a loan!
  • the VHDA program works with all eligible buyers to make sure they understand how to balance their finances.

19195 Sweig Terrace Leesburg


Qualified buyers may receive up to 3 percent of the purchase price, to help with the down payment on their first home.

Buyers must have household incomes at or below program limits. Down Payment Assistance Grant may be used with only the following VHDA purchase programs: Conventional, FHA and Fannie Mae. Additionally, grant funds may not be used in combination with other down payment assistance resources (including FHA Plus). Finally, the down payment assistance grant has no repayment (with no note or deed of trust).

19195 Sweig Terrace Leesburg

VHDA's first mortgage must be locked on or after March 12, 2015 and the funds (available on a first-come, first-served basis) must be allocated by September 30, 2015.

As a Certified Licensed VHDA Instructor and Originator, Joe Sable's knowledge can unlock the door to your new home! Contact him directly for more information about this program and more!

Joe Sable SWBC Mortgage


Joseph Sable         

Senior Loan Officer, NMLS# 1090019

8521 Leesburg Pike, Suite 275, Vienna, VA  22182


Apply Online:


And ... if you're in the market for a new home to purchase with your VHDA program loan, take a look at this beauty:


To learn more about this listing, visit I Saw A Sign

Do you need a Real Estate Agent to RENT?

  "Do I need a real estate agent to rent a home or apartment?"

We get asked this question quite frequently and while the answer depends on who you ask, the 8th & Home team says YES!

Rental Search 8th and Home

1. Why spend YOUR precious time trolling the internet, Craigslist and FB groups to find the perfect home for you and your family, when a Realtor© can do that work for you!

2. When you engage the services of a Realtor©, you receive a trusted advocate who is on your side to negotiate the monthly lease price, as well as ensure that the home is in a great condition upon move-in.

3. Whether you are moving from out-of-state, or out-of-country, having a Realtor© on your side when renting can come in handy for many purposes, including providing video showings if you are unavailable to tour personally. Additionally, your Realtor© can ease the stresses of moving day by providing trusted vendors and assisting with the key handover and walkthrough.

4. Not all landlords are telling the truth about their own financial situation, whether their property is in distress or they plan to sell in the near future. Utilizing a Realtor© can assist you in learning as much information as possible before you sign on the dotted line.

5. When it comes time to fill out your application, often a Realtor© can save you time and effort because of their understanding of various application systems (as more and landlords utilize online processes) as well as potentially save you in application fees when the landlord is reviewing more than one application.

8th & Home Team

The 8th & Home team is ready to assist with your rental needs! Not every real estate agent is willing to work with rental clients, but we happen to love that process! We assist our rental clients in the same way we work with buyers and welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family. 

Ready to begin YOUR search for your new home?  Click here to view all rentals currently on the market!

8 questions to ask before selling your house

8 questions to ask your real estate agent when selling your house There are thousands and thousands of agents available to you when selling your house. Ask these 8 questions to discover which one is right for you.

1. Can I speak with your past clients?

You want to know whether a particular agent will be the right fit for you. Ask the potential agent for several past clients so that you can get a good understanding of whether this will be the correct choice.

2. Are you a full-time real estate agent? What professional designations do you have?

While professional designations are often viewed as simply unnecessary coursework and meaningless acronyms, an agent who has obtained specific designations is showing a dedication to a special niche or affinity towards a specific type of client. This doesn't mean any one designation solidifies the agent is right for you, but it does speak to their commitment to knowledge, learning and being the best agent he/she can be.

Understanding whether your agent is full time or part time will set forth the expectations for their availability to you. Asking what other commitments do they have (i.e. committees they sit on, whether they volunteer within their community, etc.) is another great question to understand where you'll fit in when scheduling issues arise.

3. How will my home be marketed?

Will your home be listed only on the MLS in your area, or does the agent go above and beyond to create an individual website for your property? How will this agent stand out in the marketing of your home? Will there be print marketing as well as online? Ask questions about their open house strategy, as well as any other important marketing strategies to be aware of.

4. How often will we be in communication during this process?

Will you talk daily? Only when there is information to share? Will you be notified after each showing with feedback?

5. What is your commission and how much do I have to pay you? What expenses do you cover for me to sell my house?

Most often the commission is a standard percentage of the sales price. Make sure to understand whether there are any administrative fees that you will be expected to pay. Also important to know is whether your agent will pay for any items such as the photography of your home, staging assistance, pre-appraisal, etc.

6. What is your pricing strategy? 

It is no secret that three things impact the sale of a home, location, condition and current market, pricing is the key piece of the puzzle. Pricing a property too high can often mean a long time on the market. As your agent what their thoughts are on pricing and inquire whether they have a pricing plan for future price reductions.

7. What process is used to provide a set of comparables (CMAs) when pricing my home?

Many key pieces of information are available to your agent, including data on foreclosures, homes that have sold, home not yet on the market, as well as zoning and tax related information. Ask your agent what types of information they use when creating the comparable properties used when pricing your home.

8. What do you expect from me as a client?

Don't forget that in an agent/client relationship, there is bound to be expectations on both sides. Find out early on what your agent expects from you for the best clarity moving forward.


8 tips - how to choose a real estate agent

How to choose a real estate agent Keller Williams Reston

Is purchasing a home on your to-do list in the near future? Perhaps you are preparing to list your home for the Spring Market of 2017. It can be completely overwhelming to look at all of the moving pieces involved with the real estate puzzle. Yet, when you choose and hire a professional real estate agent, the stress can almost immediately start to fade away! So, how do you choose a great real estate agent?

Loudoun Times Mirror

Published originally in the Loudoun Times Mirror, we wanted to also share our tips here on the blog.

  1. Have an interview with several potential agents.Too many buyers and sellers fail to spend the time interviewing agents, yet buying or selling a home is one of the largest financial event in their lives. Even if you receive a glowing recommendation for a real estate agent from someone you know well and trust, that agent may not be the right fit for you.
  2. Ask during your interview about their communication style and discover what their turnaround time is on phone calls, texts and emails. Ask them questions to discover if they are knowledgeable about the market, about the various stages of a transaction, and learn how much they know about your local area. How tough of a negotiator are they? Do relationships matter to them and do they operate with ethics and values that match yours?
  3. Discover whether you will be working with a team during your transaction or if they a solo agent(neither is better than another, it simply depends on your preferences). It is best to know upfront who you will be working with during the real estate process.
  4. Ask them to share with you, once you’ve divulged your needs, their understanding of what you are looking for in a home, or what your purchasing parameters are. Ensure that your agent is focused on not just their presentation or pitch, but on what you’re saying between the lines. If you are selling, request that your agent is truthful and realistic about the current market when discussing the pricing of your home. Pricing your home correctly at the beginning can often help you avoid extra days "on the market" (which eliminates potential buyers from wondering what's wrong with the house).
  5. What is important to your agent? What core values do they work from? Do they have experience and empathy? Regardless of how far away you are moving, it is bound to be stressful. New jobs, schools, friends, perhaps even new climates will need to be adjusted to. Choosing a real estate agent who can look ahead of the transaction and help minimize challenges based on their innate knowledge of the situation will come in handy.
  6. Ask your agent what they will do to get the job done. How will they help to inject calm and anxiety-free moments during the process? Is your Agent savvy with all aspects of the transaction, including how to correctly stage your home or if you are buying, how will they go above and beyond to find potential homes for you that are not currently.
  7. Finally, go with your gut. If you’ve met an agent and it doesn’t feel like a great fit, move on.
  8. Buying and selling a home can be a large undertaking, but with the right real estate agent on your side, the process can be a lot smoother, and perhaps even enjoyable!