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How to Find a Real Estate Agent

How to Find a Real Estate Agent
Centennial. Cherry Hills Village. Greenwood Village.

Individually, they represent some of Colorado's finest, most sought-after communities. Collectively, they form the western core of celebrated Arapahoe County—Colorado's First County—which also includes the high-end neighborhoods of Englewood and Littleton.

Each area has unique experiences, a broad offering of amenities, and an extensive, unparalleled collection of luxury homes. If you're relocating from out of state, it can prove overwhelming to select the perfect home.

Even when relocating from neighboring Denver or Lakewood, the unique high-end lifestyle lends itself to hyper-local insight helping to pinpoint the right home and neighborhood.

Likewise, current owners need to sell one of those aforementioned luxury properties. You're undoubtedly grateful for the region's popularity. Still, you also want to capitalize on your home's value and quickly connect with the ideal buyer.

For both buyers and sellers, there's a lot of opportunity in the Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, and Greenwood Village real estate markets. Maximizing that opportunity requires partnering with a local real estate professional well-versed in the unique qualities of each locale.

Below, we explore how to find a real estate agent that will ensure you achieve your real estate goals.

The different roles in Colorado residential real estate

When searching for the right professional to assist with your home buying or selling needs, it helps to know who you're looking for. In Colorado, all real estate agents are considered brokers. All brokers undergo at least 168 hours of relicensing study and training before earning their real estate license.

The hierarchy of brokers/agents that can facilitate your search for a home or buyer include:

Associate Broker

This role is considered the baseline real estate agent within the State of Colorado. They can practice real estate, assisting clients to buy and sell property under the supervision of an Employing Broker. An associate is compensated via commission once a deal closes.

Independent Broker

Agents can apply for Independent Broker status after two years of practicing as an Associate Broker. Upon passing Colorado's broker exam, the distinction allows them to facilitate real estate transactions as an independent, self-employed agent. They cannot, however, supervise Associate Brokers. Independent agents receive a commission from the successful closing of a purchase or sale.

Employing Broker

Upon passing the state's broker exam and completing an additional 24-hour administration course, Employing Brokers can supervise associate and independent brokers within a brokerage firm. Employing brokers are compensated by commission from successful deals and a portion of the commission from agents that work for them.

For clarity of this post, we'll refer to Associate and Independent Brokers as agents. In addition, the following roles can further help you identify the right agent to assist with your real estate needs:


A Realtor is a real estate professional—agent or broker—and member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). While the professional's specific role and responsibilities do not change with the Realtor® title, they adhere to the NAR's strict Code of Ethics.

Buyer's agent

The buyer's agent is any of the above roles representing the buyer in a real estate transaction.

Listing Agent

The listing agent is any of the above roles representing the seller in a real estate transaction. Rest assured that any of the above individuals is more than qualified to support your efforts in navigating Denver's luxury home market.

Identifying potential real estate agents

The simplest way to begin your search for a real estate agent is via location. Not in the broad sense, but instead, hyperlocal—the handful of neighborhoods where you want to buy or the specific community in which you plan to sell. The purpose is twofold:

Local agents provide a more personalized experience

Denver and its surrounding communities have outstanding Realtors® and real estate agents. But if you're seeking a home in Centennial or Greenwood Village, you may not get a truly hands-on experience from an agent who lives in and closes most of their deals in Boulder. Regardless of how highly they might come recommended.

Start with a narrow, focused agent search

Choosing a real estate agent is almost as challenging as choosing a house. So relieve some stress and narrow your search before it even begins. This proves especially important if you have a small window of time to buy or sell. Keeping your agent search to the areas that interest you most will make your entire real estate journey efficient and focused.

Personal referrals

Once you've pinpointed the locations best suited to your real estate needs, seek out referrals for the top agents in those communities. If you're already local, utilize your network of family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, associates, or acquaintances to identify any positive real estate experiences from the previous year.

While no two real estate experiences are alike, a trusted source can give you the inside scoop on agent pros and cons, how they manage certain situations, and how well they communicate with their clients. At the very least, you gain initial insight into whether the agent is someone you could easily connect with.

Referral agent

If you're relocating to the Denver area from elsewhere in Colorado or out of state, using a referral agent can potentially find you a well-regarding local agent. The practice works precisely as it sounds with an agent you're already familiar with in your current location—the listing agent handling the home you're selling—tapping into their extensive network of real estate professionals and connecting you with one based in western Arapahoe County.

Should the pairing result in a successful home purchase in your new destination, the referring agent receives a portion of the commission.

Pound the pavement

If the first few options are unsuccessful, you can find an agent the old-fashioned way—doing it yourself. Of course, that means using resources already available, including Compass' find a realtor tool, cold calling brokers and realtors based in your current area (for sellers) or eventual destination (for buyers), or performing your own in-community recon.

For that home seller, that on-the-ground recon may include attending open houses to witness firsthand how an agent goes about marketing, staging, and selling a home. Or drive nearby neighborhoods observing for sale signs (or look online) and see if specific agents stand out or specialize in properties similar to yours.

For buyers, the Compass Find a Realtor tool will also prove helpful, as well as researching online reviews for agents operating in your target areas. Even when skimming just a handful of reviews for an agent, common plaudits or criticisms emerge.

You'll cultivate a list of five to seven viable agents worth reaching much faster than you realize.

Narrowing to your final candidates

Your initial search may yield as many as ten viable real estate agents, each with the potential to guide you to a successful transaction. You'll want to narrow that list to the final three agents to conduct detailed interviews with.

Up to this point, your focus was finding agents with great reputations.

Now, it's about defining your criteria for a successful home purchase or sale and the agent qualifications necessary for reaching those goals. The qualities that most often separate good agents from great ones include:

  • Experience and local knowledge: you want an agent with a consistent track record of successful deals, with each one yielding greater knowledge of the local market; discuss prevailing trends, property values, top neighborhoods, available homes (for buyers) and comparable comps (for sellers) to gauge agents perspective on your specific situation
  • Outstanding communication skills: look for agents that understand and take positive actions based on client needs and are honest and transparent about fulfilling those expectations
  • Professionalism: a highly underrated quality, identify agents that are prompt, well-prepared, respectful towards your time, and prioritize your best interests
  • Excellent negotiation skills: great negotiators are easy to identify based on a lengthy track record of success and satisfied clients
  • Well respected; backed by a strong network: the most successful agents can call upon a bevy of professional resources to aid in your search, purchase and ownership of a home or the positioning, marketing, and sale of your current property
  • Specialized expertise / personal approach: if your situation requires niche expertise—first-time buyer, ultra-luxe residences, second or third home, golf course communities, investment properties—quiz agents on their specific knowledge and preference for certain buying or selling scenarios
Finally, sellers may also want to dig deeper into an agent's marketing expertise, social media and market analytics proficiency, and network of listing-related service providers, including stagers, photographers, and web developers.

When interviewing your final three candidates, focus on whose strengths align with your individual goals and with whom you most effectively communicate, who you believe to be the best advocate for your situation, and who has your best interests in mind.

If you're looking for a real estate professional to help you buy or sell a home in Centennial, Cherry Hills or surrounding communities, contact Realtor® Lisa Snyder today and allow her passion and expertise to help you navigate Denver's luxury real estate market.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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