Top 5 Sites to Help you Choose a Real Estate Agent in 2021

Real estate concept. Houses on schema diagram. Person search, compare and select proper rent apartment in laptop.

In many ways the internet is like the Wild Wild West. A land of opportunity, but one that’s so unregulated it’s hard to know which way is up. You can glean a ton from online reviews of real estate agents, but a lot can be misleading too. Fake reviews still run rampant in 2021, meaning you either have to sift through the slush pile and judge for yourself or find a trusted real estate agent review site.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide, which will steer you towards the most reliable resources while providing some insider insight into how different review sites operate. Spoiler alert: a lot of them are dubious. But there are sources of information that can provide you with security and confidence as you search for the perfect real estate agent for you.

How to Choose a Portland Real Estate Agent

The process of buying or selling a home, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, can feel overwhelming. You might, then, feel the instinct to just go with the first agent that comes along. Get the ball rolling, cut out some of the hassle, right?

Well, not necessarily. Cutting a corner early on in your buying or selling process could cost you big time. That’s why we recommend interviewing a few candidates before making a decision. It’s a little extra work to start, but will pay off when you find the right person who has the experience needed to get you what you want. (And potentially save you a lot of hassle in the long run.)

How do you find those candidates to interview though? You may use any of the sites we’ll discuss below. But as you’ll see from what we outline, the best way to find an agent is to visit local Realtor and Realty websites directly. That doesn’t mean the sites we’ll discuss here are useless – rather, they can play a role in your interview process. Their greatest value is that you can use the best of them to verify the credentials of your prospective agents. And that’s a powerful tool.

What are the top real estate agent sites to help you choose a Realtor in 2021?

1. Realtor.com

When picking a real estate agent you want someone who is properly licensed, well-reviewed, and has a lot of closed sales in your area. Realtor.com’s Find a Realtor section can help you with two out of three items.

A. Licensing. Realtor.com does a decent job of only allowing licensed Realtors show up on their Find a Realtor section. They require real estate agents include their NAR assigned Realtor number to show up on their Realtor finder. Not all sites have any verification process in place to ensure the real estate agent showing there is properly licensed.

B. Reviews. Realtor.com, unfortunately, does not verify Realtor reviews and anyone can leave a review for any reason. This is why we do not put the majority of our client reviews on their site.

C. Sales Record. This is why we recommend Realtor.com’s site to help you choose a real estate agent. The site will actually show you all of the Realtors’ active listings and closed sales in the area you select.

HOWEVER – please immediately change the default filter. The default filter on Realtor.com’s agent finder is inexplicably “Most Recent Activity.” We say inexplicably because this is the most useless of the filters, as anyone who’s just sold a home can make the top of the list. It might be the only home they have ever sold in their career so far, but if they sold it one minute ago, they jump to the very top of the finder. Instead, change the filters to show most sold and most listings for sale. Whether you’re buying or selling, this information will give you a much better idea of who in the game has real experience on your side.

2. Oregon Real Estate Agency’s License Look Up

This official government website won’t help you to choose a Portland real estate agent. But it will allow you to verify any real estate agent your considering, exam their credentials in a very serious way. By looking up the agent’s license number, you can view past complaints on record. Again, this isn’t so much a way to search through the vast pool of real estate agents out there. What it will do, though, is give you peace of mind once you’ve settled on a few candidates.

3. Zillow’s Agent Finder

In the past, we’ve touted Zillow as one of the best places to search for an agent. This year, though, we have some bad news. Zillow’s Agent Finder has changed the way its agent finder’s rankings work, and not in favor of the consumer. Whereas it used to rank real estate agents based on sales, now Zillow ranks agents on the sheer number of reviews they’ve collected alone. It is now basically impossible to search for a successful real estate agent based on their sales record, as every filter will default to show you who (or what company) has massed the largest number of reviews. Truth be told, I’ve seen agents with a huge number of positive reviews (thanks friends and family) but with virtually no sales at all. And as we noted above, reviews that go unverified can come from anywhere. These spurious reviews can very well lead you astray. On top of that, they now allow agencies to list all of their agents under one Zillow profile. This means it’s much harder for you to find and assess an individual agent. You could still use Zillow to sift through comments in order to assess your prospective agent, but even then you’ll have to take into account potentially fraudulent reviews.

4. ThreeBestRated.com

Did you just get exhausted thinking about sorting through reviews, figuring out which ones are real, or which ones are written by reasonable people? That’s where ThreeBestRated comes in. Designed to simplify this process for consumers, they use a 50 point inspection system to narrow down the playing field and give you the three best options locally for a number of services. If you check out their Portland real estate assessment, you’ll see I’ve won recently and in years past. I don’t expect to win every year, but it is nice to know there is an independent third party checking up on things.

5. What about Sites like Homelight, Upnest, and MyAgentFinder?

If you’ve done any kind of basic internet searching on how to find and choose a real estate agent, you’ve likely come across these websites, which pay big money to show up as ads in Google. Simply put: avoid them. These companies charge the real estate agents who show up on their platform extraordinary fees or take massive chunks out of their commission. The agents on these platforms will have less funds available to market your home for sale or to support their client’s best interests. These platforms’ (and others like them) immense costs inevitably are pass down to you, the consumer, in the form of drastically reduced client services and support.

And of course, Yelp and Google have Real Estate Agent Reviews

You can spend all the time you like checking out reviews on Yelp and Google. Just know that they are not verified, there is no serious verification process and they can be written at will by family, friends, and direct competitors. There’s no way to know for sure (other than that we know for sure that people abuse these systems).

The Bottom Line: Look Up Local Real Estate Agents Directly

After researching all the options out there, we’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to find a real estate agent is to look them up directly. Visit local Realtor and Realty websites to compare what they are offering and to view their service records. Afterwards, you can use some of these websites listed above to verify your top choices, though you’ll have to sift through potentially fraudulent reviews. Your best bet to verify sales records is Realtor.com and your best bet to verify their license and check for complaint history is to look them up through the Oregon Real Estate Agency’s site.

If you’re interested in checking out how our real estate agent reviews, well, check out, know that we employ an independent and impartial party to verify our reviews, so you know that you’re getting the real deal. You can also view our numerous awards and honors here. Our sales record is here. When you’re ready, contact one of our top 1% buyers agents or top 1% sellers agents, who are ready to assist you today.

March 24, 2021
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call him direct: 503-714-1111 for Oregon or 360-470-7777 for Washington.

We sell homes for 4.5% max. commission (it is often less, call for details) and pay more to market our clients’ homes so they sell faster and for more. We top it off with cancel anytime contracts for no charge. Our top 1% buyer’s team prioritizes customer service and is full of top-ranked, local industry veterans ready to help you find the home of your dreams.

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