Moving is one of life’s major big deals, made more daunting by the fact that it’s not something you do every day. You’re facing a deluge of decisions, each more crucial than the last: choosing a neighborhood, finding the right home and the nerve-wracking process of making an offer.
A real estate agent can serve as your guide, helping you wade through unfamiliar waters. Agents can counsel you on basics such as price and neighborhood. They can spot a cracked foundation and sift through the reams of paperwork that go with buying a place.
When you’re in the market, it’s tempting to call the first agent you see – someone representing a property you like, or a name you’ve seen in ads – but by doing a little agent shopping up front, you’ll save yourself time and potential heartache.
Do you want a specialist in one neighborhood, or someone who will go across town? Do you prefer the attention of a small agency, or the heft of a big group? And then there are intangibles, such as personality and style of communication. Do you need to talk things through on the phone, or are you all about the text?
Consider those factors and more as you review my list of the 10 best real estate agents in Dallas. I generated this list by starting with Philip Walker, who received glowing reviews from a friend. I asked him and others on this list to suggest worthy competitors, and these ten rose to the top based on recommendations from peers.
Well-regarded veteran real estate agent Philip Walker has sold hundreds of homes across Preston Hollow, Bluffview, and North Dallas. A staple on every best-agent list, he brings an encyclopedic knowledge of the field, while his background in banking and commercial real estate offers clients an extra bang for the buck.
“I make an effort to sell only those properties to my clients in which I would invest my own money,” he says.
Crisp and discreet, he has a sly sense of humor that makes house-hunting fun. He’s living proof that there’s no substitute for experience.
“The more seasoned agents know the business and the market, and that adds value for the buyer,” he says.
A top agent for Ebby Halliday, Kay Weeks specializes in central Dallas including Preston Hollow and the Park Cities. She’s responsive yet efficient, and a big believer in the value of continuing education.
“When an agent seeks additional training, that shows they’re committed to improving their knowledge,” she says.
Intown expert Sue Krider of Allie Beth Allman counts young, hip areas such as Uptown Dallas and Turtle Creek as her prime turf, including condos and high-rise buildings.
“That kind of living is best for buyers who don’t want to do their home maintenance themselves,” she says.
Previously employed in the hospitality industry, Krider has a service-oriented perspective, as well as an appreciation of the value of relationships and community. She’s an active member of neighborhood groups such Friends of the Katy Trail.
“I love being involved in the community and learning as much as I can about neighborhoods,” she says.
Steve Habgood is a partner in Hewitt & Habgood Group, one of Dallas’ most successful real estate teams that specialize in the distinctive urban neighborhoods that surround downtown Dallas, including North Oak Cliff, Uptown, Oak Lawn, M Streets and Lakewood.
As long-time resident of Kessler Park, he knows first-hand how dynamic a market Oak Cliff is. He and his team sell about 25% of all the homes sold in Kessler and North Oak Cliff.
A former marketing communications executive, Habgood says the best Realtors are able to understand their clients’ needs, even when they may not be fully sure themselves, and have the depth of market knowledge to guide them through the competitive process.
“If you find an agent you can easily communicate your wants and needs, it makes a huge difference in finding the right home and neighborhood,” he says.
Previously employed in the corporate marketing world, Susan Blackburn brings a warm personal touch to her role as agent.
Her territory is centered around University Park, but with a wide range of affordable homes in North Dallas, East Dallas, and Lake Highlands. She uses social media tools including Facebook to showcase properties for sale. She sees her role as a kind of matchmaker.
“I had a client and I found a house I knew would be perfect for them,” she says. “They were not from the area so it was all new to them. We looked at a bunch of houses before they ended up at that house, which they loved.”
A resident of East Dallas, Elizabeth Mast of Sotheby’s focuses almost exclusively on her own neighborhood, her turf extending from old homes just east of downtown all the way to the charming waterfront houses in Lakewood.
Her passion for preservation has made her the go-to agent for properties in the Swiss Avenue Historic District, many of them million-dollar mansions.
And in a convenient stroke for buyers in need of furniture for their new homes, Mast also owns home boutique Talulah & HESS, featuring many items that are locally made.
Tammy McLaine of Keller Williams cultivates a niche in the world of high-rise condos, from Uptown to North Dallas – one that grew from her own first-hand experience.
“I first moved into a high-rise in 1993, and have lived in that situation ever since,” she says. “It helps when you know your market and love the lifestyle yourself.”
Many of her clients are from out of town. Steering them to the right building is only part of her job; it’s also making sure they know what they’re in for.
A former advertising exec, Seychelle Engelhard of Van Poole Properties works the northern zones including North Dallas, Plano, and Frisco – among the most popular areas right now for relocations.
Having a team in place can help the agent move more quickly for the client.
“With some of these relocations, you only have a few days, and the market in Dallas is so hot right now that you can be showing properties and half the houses you’ve seen are under contract by the end of the day,” she says. “It helps when you have people who can be drawing up an offer before other agents get back to their computers.”
One of the biggest names in Dallas real estate, David Griffin is a Dallas native who founded his own company in 1982.
If you’re browsing townhomes or condominiums anywhere in the heart of Dallas – from Uptown to East Dallas to downtown to Victory Park – they’ll inevitably sport one of his company signs, recognizable by their signature black-and-teal color scheme.
Griffin is also noted for its representation of architecturally distinctive historic and contemporary homes. His company employs dozens of agents and in 2015, merged with parent company Virginia Cook Realtors.
Entrepreneurial agent Belinda Epps of Epps Realty has a lock on far east Dallas, where she represents many affordable properties from White Rock Lake all the way to Mesquite.
“If a house is priced correctly, it’ll get multiple offers,” she says. “Smart buyers will be ready with a pre-approval letter for a loan.”
Her team of 20 agents provide services that includes brokering property for sale as well as for rent, property management, relocation and staging.