Wondering how to find a real estate agent? The process can feel a bit daunting, we know! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Realtors, how do you wade through the ocean of agents to choose the right real estate agent? Whether you are buying a home, selling or renting, here are 8 simple and practical tips to help you with your decision. (Yes, you should utilize a Realtor when renting, as well! Read our post on that topic here: Do you need a Realtor to Rent)Read More
We get it! We really do! There are literally thousands of licensed real estate agents in Loudoun County, Virginia, so how on earth can YOU decide who truly are the best Realtors in Loudoun for you and your individual situation??
Listed alphabetically by team name / brokerage, then by first names, here is our take on the BEST Realtors in Loudoun County, Virginia! Click their photo to visit each Realtor's website! *
------> Please note, there are obviously more Realtors in Loudoun County that are amazing, this short list simply curates those we have either worked with during this past year, individuals whose online presence we admire, or Realtors whose values and ethics match those of our team!
Our favorite clients? Every single one of them! We love the challenge of multi-generational families ... enjoy educating first time homebuyers, and appreciate those ready to make the move from "city living" to being country mice!
Western Loudoun is our sweet spot and boy do we know it inside and out, as well as all that comes with that -- often times, no HOA, space to spread out and room to run! What better location to encompass farm stores, wineries, small businesses owned by locals, country schools and true community!
We also LOVE our heroes! We give back and say thank you with our commission by crediting teachers, military, fire, police, first responders and health care professionals with 25% of our commission -- which comes in handy on closing day!
I was born and raised in Sterling, VA. I’m so blessed with Loudoun County roots! The County thrives because of its diversity, award winning schools, incredible park systems, steady economic growth, and more! I’m starting my 18th year in Real Estate. It is an exciting career path filled with passion and purpose! I have the great pleasure of serving the needs of first time homebuyers, move up homebuyers, down sizers, and relocation clients. I enjoy navigating the process with all!
Kelly Stock Bacon, ERA Teachers | Facebook
I have resided in Loudoun County for over 30 years. Our family loves our small town community, neighborhoods, schools and local businesses. I enjoy working with all clients, but have a special place for the first time homebuyer. Providing them with the education needed, allows them to buy with confidence. This brings such a sense of gratitude and enthusiasm!
I love real estate because it allows me to provide expertise while easing my clients' stress during what is often the most important investment of a lifetime. I love the stability and wealth building home ownership creates!
Kieno Simeon, Keller Williams
With 22 years in the business, what I love about working in real estate is the realization that I have the honor to have a positive impact on the lives of others. First time homebuyers are my absolute favorite as I love to have the opportunity to teach and guide them in buying their future wealth with real estate. I consider myself a relational Realtor, nurturing the relationship through the years to meet my clients' ongoing needs.
I've lived in Loudoun County for almost 17 years and love the diversity of people, landscapes, and towns. Working in Real Estate I've met people from all walks of life and people who have lived or are from all over the world. Can't imagine a better job.
Martha Mason, Long & Foster | Facebook
Part of what makes the Platinum Group Real Estate team so unique is that our team is comprised of all moms! We understand first hand what it means to work hard to fulfill the needs of your family, and we do that not only for our families, but for yours too! Longtime lovers of Loudoun County, not only is one of the team owners is a lifelong resident, but all of our team averages more than 10 years as a Loudoun resident. We live here too, and we love it!
Platinum Group, Pearson Smith | Facebook
I absolutely love working with first time home buyers. There is something so special about seeing their dreams come true! And Loudoun County, it's our very own wine country! What's not to love about living and selling here?
As a realtor in Northern Virginia, I love the fact that I can work with many diverse individuals. When interacting with clients I get to travel from the city to the suburbs to rural farms and everywhere in between. All of this allows me to provide a vast amount of options for all my clients.
Being a Realtor in Loudoun County exposes you to wide diversity of cultural experiences. My military background, where travel was a key aspect of that career, allows me to interact with confidence and understanding of many of the sensitivities we need to respect when working with clients from different parts of the world.
I have had the great pleasure of working all over Northern VA but I am proud to be a homeowner in Loudoun County. I was personally drawn to the neighborhoods with a variety of home styles, the amazing schools for my kids, and the ability to be close to numerous amenities or head west and enjoy the open spaces and great wineries!
Real estate is exciting because it is constantly changing, no two days are alike! Most people do not trust the sale or purchase of their largest asset to just anyone. To be a trusted advisor, constant training, experience, great communication skills, problem solving skills, creativity and hard work are necessary. I have been a Northern VA resident for 30+ years, the last 19+ years in Loudoun and am in my 15th year of real estate. Whether first-time buyers, sellers, moving up, changing family status, relocating, downsizing or thriving in place, I enjoy them all!
Tanya Gonda, Weichert | Facebook
You might wonder why we are showcasing other Realtors in the same space where we ourselves work? We believe there is enough business for everyone. We do not believe in the spirit of scarcity or competition, and also firmly believe that each client deserves the very best fit for their real estate journey. We always suggest that you interview several Realtors before settling on the one you'll ultimately go with. You can learn more about our suggested steps by reading How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent or by following these 8 Steps for Choosing a Great Realtor.
If you'd like to speak with us about your real estate needs, feel free to get in touch using the contact form below or give us a call at 571-482-7356!
* Realtors are licensed by State, not segmented by county, however, the Realtors on this round up practice primarily in Loudoun County.
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I receive questions like this frequently, both from friends, and clients as well:
"Hi Naomi, I am looking into getting my Realtor's license and wanted to ask you some questions. Other than showing people houses they are interested in, I know nothing about it! I would love your thoughts. I'd also like to find out the pros/cons of the job? Can it be done part time? How much does it cost to get started?"
My answer to these questions can vary depending on the specific situation, but generally here is how I respond!
How much does it cost to become a Realtor?
This answer depends greatly on your location and where you are going to be licensed. In Northern Virginia, it costs about $3,000 to get up and running. This total includes classes, testing, licensure requirements and mandatory memberships for your first year. An average total for annual requirements is approximately $1,000 per year to keep those memberships running and active after your initial startup. You will be required to take continuing education and that is an additional fee as well.
This total does NOT include business cards, a website, and any other branding / advertisement type expenses that you'll use to promote your new business. It also does NOT include any costs associated with forming a business in the State of Virginia, if you decide to create an LLC or company.
How long does it take to obtain a Realtor's license?
Currently in Virginia, you are required to complete 60 hours of coursework that can either be done online or in person. Many brokerages (the offices where each realtor calls home) have instructors at each of them that are certified to teach your licensure classes. Once you have completed your 60 hours of coursework, you will be required to pass the PRE-exam test. This can be taken at many locations in Virginia.
Finally, once those steps have been completed, you will need to sit for the PSI Test, which is comprised of two exams, one state and one national test. The testing sites require an appointment made in advance and you will need to bring proof of identity, and can take nothing in with you to the testing site. Upon completion of the test, you will be given either a pass or a fail.
How do you choose which brokerage / company to choose?
There are definitely better brokerages than others when it comes to education for newly licensed Realtors, but in my opinion, it's the hands on work from a broker that helps with the learning curve, not sitting in MORE classes. Having said that, every individual is different, and every transaction is completely different so we are always learning. Never assume that real estate is a situation where you need to only "learn the ropes" once.
There are also "splits" -- what its called when the brokerage takes a % of your commission. If you sell a $500,000 home and your broker split is 70/30, your before taxes take home pay would be (assuming the commission is a standard 3%) $10,500.
NOTE: My tax advisor recommends you withhold 25-30% of each commission check for taxes, as you are self-employed as a Realtor.
There are also different office structures -- some have "desk duty" where you have a responsibility to man the main desk, some have monthly fees, some charge a "desk fee" and others charge for printing, etc.
There are also differences when some brokerages allow teams to exist, or separate out whether their agents are showing agents only, or perhaps listing assistants, etc.
If you'd like to speak with me about different brokerages in the Northern Virginia area, please shoot me a text at 571-482-7356.
How many hours per week will I spend being a Realtor?
I put in about 12-14 hours a day working in and on my business. Many of those hours are community based (PTA, the boards I sit on, etc) but I'm up at 5am to get client work done before the kids school prep time ... then I work solid until 3pm and again after dinner - late into the night.
Real Estate is known to be a heavy weekend/evenings gig because that's when most of your clients are available. you will need to find a balance for providing your clients with great customer service, while balancing your personal needs / schedule, as well as that of your friends and family.
Having said that -- there ARE opportunities to be in real estate and work part time where you are on a team doing either admin work or helping with buyers during the days, etc. Depending on the way an arrangement is situated, that can potentially offer more steady income as it would likely be salaried.
How much money will I make?
Most transactions are 45-60 days long with about 2-3 weeks (minimum) for the showings before the transaction timeline begins (some clients look for 6-9 months) so if you break down your "hourly rate", it can vary widely from transaction to transaction.
Your commission will depend on the market that you will be working in. In most markets, between 2-3% of the sales price is considered a standard commission for the agents involved. Keep in mind that you will need to deduct your brokerage split, and other miscellaneous fees from that commission. We recently wrote this article on how a buyer's agent "gets paid."
A commission is only payable when the transaction goes to closing. Often times, you will work for quite some time with clients and in the end, the transaction does not go to closing (whether because one party changed their mind, financing was not obtained, or for many other reasons). Be aware ahead of time that the risk involved comes into play when you have dedicated many hours, miles on your vehicle. When you work with sellers, often times you have invested money into that property, whether that is the cost of the sign installation, the professional photographs, marketing materials, items for open house events, etc.. You will not be compensated for your work when the closing does not come to fruition, so make your decisions in a smart way when deciding how much cushion to keep for yourself.
Remember to always remember that a Realtor's income is not consistent and not promised!
What do you love most about being a Realtor?
Oh, there are SO many things! I love the opportunity to step alongside an individual or family to assist in making the transaction enjoyable, stress free and exciting for a family. I love the opportunity to inject more kindness and ethics into the industry with the agents and other industry professionals I work with. I love the opportunity to be a part of creating a community during each transaction! I also love the challenge of getting from Point A to Point B in a satisfactory manner, with all of the moving parts coming together like a well-oiled machine.
What do you not like about being a Realtor?
The things I don't love so much include the work it takes to consistently stay 100% on top of my customer service game with existing clients at the SAME time I am providing that same level of service to brand new clients. I also don't like that working with clients is seasonal (generally, you are only working with a client for 3-4 months). Just when you've gotten to know them so well and really enjoy spending time with them and assisting with their real estate dreams, the transaction ends!
What are some of the things you have to do as a Realtor?
The job of a Realtor is much different than most people think. Because of the popularity of many shows on HGTV, there is misunderstanding that Realtors simply open doors, show people homes and then deliver the good news that the client's offer has been accepted.
Marketing / Leads: Your business (clients) have to come from somewhere, so you will need to spend a bulk of your time marketing yourself, meeting new people and establishing relationships with future clients. Not everyone you meet will need the services of a real estate agent, so it's important to not treat your networking and relationship building opportunities as salesy.
Branding: If you truly want to excel at your job of being a Realtor, you will need to brand yourself! Brand doesn't simply mean creating a logo, however. It's deeper than that and will take time and effort to find your brand. For more on that topic, check out Seth Price's Personal Branding content (don't miss this article and this one too!) ... as well as Kara Macdonald's content (Who Is Your Customer? Increase Visibility for Your Brand are a few of my favorites), for what they have to say on the matter.
Continuing Education: Your state association will mandate your continuing education requirements, and it is important that you stay on top of your game for new codes and legislation affecting the real estate market, as well as stay informed and up to date on the neighborhoods and locations you sell.
Beginning Stages of Work with a Client: Whether you represent buyers or sellers, there is work to be done before an offer is accepted by the other party. When working with buyers, plan on spending some time with them to determine what is important to them when finding their new home. Each time you go out to show properties, you should plan on at least 45 minutes for each home, including drive time to the next showing. It takes a few hours to set up appointments and logically plan out your showings so they make geographical sense, and you will also need to coordinate showings with the sellers' schedule and availability.
When working with sellers, quite a bit of work goes into the preparation of a home before it can be placed on the market. You can read more about the timeline for getting a home ready for the market by reading our Timeline for Selling a Home article. Once your clients are ready to either make an offer or accept an offer, you can plan on 2-3 hours of paperwork while writing the contract and preparing all disclosures and addenda
Transaction Duties: Once a client has "ratified" (both parties accept the terms of the contract), the work of managing the transaction begins. Often times, a transaction can have up to 20 individuals to keep on the same page, working towards the same outcome (two Realtors, 2-4 clients (buyers and purchasers), a lender/underwriter and their team, a home inspector, appraiser, the title company, and in rural settings, well inspector, septic company, water test representatives, etc.
It will be imperative that you monitor the very important deadlines and paperwork that your clients are contractually obligated to complete in a timely manner. The manner in which you process the transaction can mean a big difference in the outcome of the transaction. We use a combination of platforms to assist with our organization: Pipedrive, and this "old school" client file management system as well!
Post-Transaction Care: Once the transaction has closed, you might think your work is done, but it is important that you continue to keep your relationship with your client vibrant and consistent. It is likely they will (assuming you've done a fantastic job!) either refer you to a friend or family member, or will request to use your services again in the future. It's going to now be your job to stay in touch and continue to be a Realtor that brings value to their lives!
Can I work in the industry of Real Estate but NOT have a license?
In most locations, you would need to be licensed to show homes -- as you would have to have access to various tools/apps (such as Sentrilock in Virginia) and belong to a local association (i.e. DAAR, NVAR, etc). Depending on the brokerage you align yourself with, it is possible they could have tasks and positions available for non-licensed individuals.
The real estate industry is a satisfying one to be a part of, but it shouldn't be entered into lightly. It may seem - on the surface - that it's an easy gig, with access to fast cash, easy closings and little to no work, but the reality is much different. I am happy to answer additional questions you might have, text me at 571-482-7356 or shoot me an email at email@example.com and we can talk more about your specific questions, as I'm happy to provide support!
One of the most common questions we hear -- when working with first time home buyers -- is “How does a real estate agent get paid?” It's not a discussion that is very typical to be heard out in the open, but we thought we'd bring a little light to the subject!
According to the National Association of Realtors, 88% of home buyers used a real estate agent when buying a home and approximately 91% of homeowners used a Realtor to sell their house. Those are numbers we like to see, because when a buyer or seller is represented by a really great Realtor, it means their rights are represented and the very stressful process of buying or selling becomes much easier to manage for YOU, the client!
In our market (Northern Virginia), the seller most typically pays all real estate commissions. That means if you are a buyer, you get to choose a Realtor to represent your interests at ... virtually no cost to you!
Realtors do not get paid until settlement / closing.
When a Realtor works with you - - as a buyer - - to find you a home, they know that they will not make a dime unless you purchase a house and use their services to do so. It’s not enough to simply get a contract signed. Real estate agents have to stick with the transaction and make sure that it makes it to the closing table, or they will not get paid. The seller will pay the Realtor fees out of the proceeds from the sale of their home (if there is enough equity). If the deal falls apart before making it to closing, the Realtors will typically never get paid for their work.
Buyer Representation Document.
It is Virginia law that buyers sign a representation document when working with a Realtor. This agreement protects all parties involved and is called an Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer document. You can work out the details regarding the length of the time for the agreement, and you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the terms (how the broker will release you from the agreement, should you choose to), etc.
A standard percentage for a real estate transaction in Northern Virginia is between 5-6% for both sides of the deal. This is usually split equally between the buyer's Realtor and the seller's Realtor. The percentage is figured on the total sales price of the home (or the base price on a new construction home, not including any options or upgrades) and is disbursed by the settlement company (title company / attorney's office) after all parties have signed the appropriate paperwork.
Something that varies from brokers office to brokers office is the "split", the percentage that the Realtor receives, after any agreement that Realtor has with their broker. The question "how does a real estate agent get paid" is not necessarily an easy one to answer, as it depends on what that split is. A Realtor who has a higher split with their brokerage will earn more, however they may have fees to pay in exchange for that split.
The bottom line is, as a buyer, most often, you do not pay for that commission! Be sure to confirm this with your Realtor.
You may be required to pay a minimal admin fee at the time of settlement, often less than $500. Be sure to request that your Realtor identify any fees that you are responsible to pay, at the time you sign your agreement.
How Hard Does Your Agent Work?
Just because you are not paying your Realtor's commission, doesn't mean they shouldn't work extra hard for you! They have only YOUR interests at heart, and they should work to the best of their ability in order to ensure that you are protected, and have all of the education you need to make an informed decision along the way. Your Realtor will work hand in hand with the agent for the seller to ensure that all paperwork is completed on time, deadlines are met and that both parties amicably reach the settlement table.
Any questions on how a real estate agent gets paid? Reach out and let us know! We're happy to help!
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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?
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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No matter what time of year you are planning to put your home on the market, it is important to understand the timeline that should be applied to the process. Many times, you may not be in a position to utilize the entire timeline as we are going to share with you, but in a perfect world, the following is an ideal plan for your timeline for selling a house.Read More
Even if you are not in the market to buy a new home, odds are you have still spent a fair amount of time on the popular real estate search sites, Trulia and Zillow. I am asked often why Realtors are insistent that our clients obtain their real estate data and information from our own sites, when those like Trulia and Zillow are so "pretty" and "easy to use." Let's dive in to some of the things I don't like about Trulia and Zillow.
Accuracy of Listing Data
I experience this phenomenon so many times: One of our wonderful buyer clients emails to excitedly say "I FOUND it! I found the HOUSE! It's perfect for us!"
I have the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach as I flip my computer tab over to the MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Service) and look up the address our client has provided.
Sure enough, the home is not active and available on the market. Even though it showed as such on the popular websites Trulia and Zillow, often times those homes are either no longer on the market, have been placed under contract already, or has (yes, this happens) been an intentional and fraudulent entry where the home hasn't even been ON the market in recent days, weeks or even years!
While you may love the look of the popular home search websites, they cannot replace the actual and real live time data of your local Multiple Listing Service. While you do not have direct access to this list, by utilizing the services of a professional Realtor, you can search on their personal websites such as this one: Find Northern Virginia Homes or request your Realtor to set up a "listing alert" which means you will provide parameters and at your request, you will receive up to date information on homes that fit your criteria.
Advertising for Realtors
The other common thing we talk with clients about is the assumed popularity or talent of a particular real estate agent on Trulia and Zillow. We hear things like "Agent Joe Smith MUST be the best around, I see his photo EVERYWHERE!" Contrary to popular belief, the frequent presence of a specific agent on multiple sites and in various locations is likely simply the culmination of many advertising dollars being paid out so that you are given the illusion that the agent's presence equals his ability to serve you and your family in the best way possible.
For example, take a look at one of my listings, 1511 Barksdale Drive SW, Leesburg. I am no where to be found on that listing information, yet those who have paid to be "premium members" (advertising dollars!) show on the left column as though they are associated with the listing somehow.
Looking at that same listing of mine on Zillow (at least Zillow shares that I am the listing agent, however, it's in such light gray type that there is little differentiation). This also showcases one of my dislikes about the way Trulia and Zillow highlight the presumed like-ability of an agent's branding/photo selection.
Oh the Zestimate. Ask any Realtor what they think about the Zestimate and you will likely hear many groans! From Zillow's website:
“The Zestimate is not an appraisal and you won’t be able to use it in place of an appraisal, though you can certainly share it with real estate professionals. It is a computer-generated estimate of the worth of a house today, given the available data. Zillow does not offer the Zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate related financial transaction. Our data sources may be incomplete or incorrect; also, we have not physically inspected a specific home. Remember, the Zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for.”
Gee thanks Zillow. The piece "you can certainly share it with real estate professionals" is a bit of slap in the face because research has proven that on average the Zestimate numbers are consistently NOT providing the actual value of the home (they are too high about half as often as they are too low). Studies actually show that the Zestimates are within 5% of the actual value of a home only 50% of the time! Can you imagine if I missed the mark on pricing a home that often?
This latest ad from Realtor.com is pretty clever:
If you are in the market for real time, up to date information about the housing market you are interested in, contact a professional Realtor directly and utilize their time, talent and ability to guide you in your search!