Advice From a Master Buyers Agent: 3 Tests of Confidence Smart Buyers Use When Assessing Agents

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Anna Coles - (pictured left) is a top producing buyer specialist in San Francisco, arguably the country’s most competitive real estate market. Her unique background has helped her guide countless buyers through the complex process of purchasing a home from just-looking to the signing table.

Having worked with so many different types of home buyers, Anna knows how important it is to have the right agent represent you. But, Anna has a deeper yet simple insight to share: your agent is just one individual of a team of should-be experts. As a buyer, you need to be aware of all the moving parts, the legal and tax implications, and everything that comes along with signing on that dotted line.

According to Anna (and we certainly agree), there are 3 tests of confidence and ability that smart buyers should use when assessing agents.

1) Attention to Detail: Don’t ask for it. Demand it.

Before she was an agent, Anna was on the operational side of building manageable processes for high-volume customer success departments. Which means when it comes to breaking down the buying process, she’s got it mapped inside and out. Not every buyer that she works with wants to know each and every detail, but they all appreciate her mastery of the subject.

“No one is born knowing how to buy real estate, that’s why you hire a Realtor.” - Anna

Realtors know what is required by law to disclose and transact, and what to look out for. The slip of one detail can mean the difference between a successful transaction and finding yourself in the home that wasn’t what you expected.

Some verbiage to listen for from your would-be realtor:

Here is an example of Anna’s process and her attention to detail. When Anna works with Buyers, she spends time walking them through the lengthy disclosure process. She begins by providing an executive summary detailing what to expect in the disclosure package and how to get more information. Her buyers receive the property information packet digitally, through, which can range from 60 to 600 pages.

After her clients have reviewed the property information, Anna sets a meeting to guide them through the most critical points.

A good agent should know their way around each disclosure - be it about tenants rights, an underground storage tank or a damaged sewer lateral - as well as what resources to seek out for further understanding. At each phase, knowing what to look out for and how to navigate through each challenge is the wisdom that the best agents bring to the table for their clients.


  • Look for an agent that prioritizes your understanding.

  • Your agent should be eager to walk you through the disclosures of each home you are interested in.

  • There can be hundreds of pages. A good agent should know their way around common issues that can arise.

2) Team: Get Acquainted

It takes a village to make a real estate transaction look effortless.

Anna emphasizes, “Look for a Realtor that’s backed by an equally strong team. You should be confident in everyone involved: the loan officers, showing agents, inspectors and escrow officers. Ask your agent about the network of specialists that they will pull in to aid with the transaction.”

There is another professional who is integral to each real estate transaction whom you may not be familiar with - the Transaction Coordinator (or TC). The unsung heroes of Real Estate. They make sure every document is accounted for, signed and dated by the right people, at the right time. TC’s ensure the escrow moves along swiftly and smoothly, without surprises; they keep everyone on track. When one missed signature or deadline can break a transaction, you want to make sure that your agent is using an expert Transaction Coordinator.

Anna’s advice, “When interviewing agents, ask them about their support team. Don’t be afraid to request testimonials from past clients. Talking to previous clients is the best way to predict future performance.”


  • Your realtor needs a strong team; you should know who they are.

  • Do your research on this team. The internet is a beautiful thing.

  • Request testimonials from past clients.

3) Sense of Connection: You can’t buy vibe.

As a buyer, you shouldn’t ignore your instincts. “This is true for any relationship and there is no one right way to assess connection other than to trust your gut.” - Anna

Once a buyer begins working with an agent, the trust needs to go in both directions. The client needs to trust that the agent will dutifully guide them through the high-stakes process of purchasing a home. The agent needs to be certain of a buyer’s true motivations and purchasing power. There is a lot at stake here.

It’s hard to make a blanket statement about picking the right realtor when each and every buyer's situation is unique. Anna suggests taking time before meeting realtors to define your motivations and identify the qualities that you want to see in the realtor who will represent you.

Have you ever heard of the Airport Test? It’s very simple really: Would you enjoy the time you spent with this person, were you stuck in a plane, waiting on a runway, for a possibly long period of time?

Your New Home Awaits

If you can check these three boxes you may have just found your Agent.

  • This person is a professional. They will fully support and advise me each step of the way.

  • I am certain and aware of who the team is that I am hiring to help me purchase a home.

  • I connect with this person and feel comfortable executing a major business transaction with them.

And there you have it. You’re on your way to a successful real estate transaction.

- Mahalo

About Anna Coles:
With over a decade of program management experience in customer service, Anna Coles applies a high level of customer advocacy and negotiation to home-buying.
“I am known for my strong communication skills and work ethic, and I understand how precious home-ownership is. Buying is more than just statistics, it is about envisioning how your life may unfold in that home. I enjoy sharing my experience and professional insights with clients so they are able to make well-informed decisions with confidence.” - Anna Coles

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