I'm a Real Estate Agent. Choosing a buyer's agent when you're purchasing your home ultimately makes your real estate experience seemless and fun. I want to pass on some tips for finding the right agent to help you when you're getting ready to purchase a home and need a good Realtor - btw it's pronounced RealtOr, not RealAtOr! :)
Obviously, we all know that buying a home is an important investment. Choosing a realtor to work with shouldn't be that difficult after considering a few things. Since there are many real estate agents today, it can be difficult to spot a qualified/competent realtor because you don't know what to look for. I'm going to make it easier.
Getting a referral, looking on-line, or meeting an agent at an open house are all options. Ask them a few questions, see if there's a rapport, and listen. Here are some things to consider:
- Is the agent affiliated with a reputable company? This can be important because it speaks of the company's reputation in the area. The company may also offer services and terms that would benefit you such as relationships with affiliated lenders, escrow, title, and home warranty companies. My company offers free E&O insurance to sellers for six months after the transaction closes. I don't know any other company that does that.
- Does the agent have access to supporting management and a legal team if problems arise?
- Does the agent seem honest, straightforward and up to date on the market? Do they seem trustworthy?
- Will you be working directly with the agent or someone else on their team?
- Is the agent enthusiastic about real estate and willing to work for your business?
- If you choose a friend or relative, ask yourself if this twist in your relationship can weather a business transaction that may have to work through some wrinkles. You might trust them, but things might come up that make it uncomfortable and could possibly have an effect on the relationship.
Just a note: We cover a wide geographical area, so it's more important to choose the right person rather than being concerned about choosing someone who works in the area where you want to purchase.
Good character, affiliation, and competency go a long way in this business. After you've made your choice, the realtor should insist on an initial meeting to discuss your needs, your financing, and the process. Be honest about your objective. If you are simply getting a feel for the market, then tell them that and use the meeting as an opportunity to interview each other. Giving the agent a good time frame is also very important. Tell them everything. When you make your objectives clear you both know how to move forward. Notice if the agent is focusing on YOU and your needs. That's what's most important.
You should know after your first meeting, or perhaps after your first outing to visit homes, whether or not you want to work with your realtor. Be honest and discuss this. Should you choose to go forward, agree to sign a Buyer Broker Agreement. This is a professional agreement outlining the agent's fiduciary responsibility to help you in exchange for your loyalty in using them. Some people object to this, but it's so important. Read on.....
I recently ran into a friend who told me her real estate story in purchasing property in San Diego. SHE insisted on signing a Buyer Broker Agreement for several reasons: she wanted the agent to know she was serious about purchasing so that the agent would work harder for her; she wanted to show good faith in following through; she wanted a definitive professional relationship between them that was understood so that both would understand their roles and responsibilities; and she said she wanted to do the right thing and put that out into the Universe! I gave her a hug! How could she have been so intuitively correct in her reasons! True story!!
Think about it....do you work for free? How would you feel if you spent hours taking a client to look at homes and then they didn't follow through to work with you? We understand that the first time is a freebee to see if there's rapport, but after that there should be an agreement of mutual loyalty. It makes the experience much more predictable and your agent will be more committed to helping you and working hard for you.
After you choose your buyer's agent, do not work with anyone else. Also, ask as many questions as you like but please don't go to your friends to compare experiences. I guarantee you that whatever real estate stories are out there, it's very likely that major facts are missing that render the story inaccurate. This can interfere with the agent's ability to help you because you start second guessing them over something that isn't property understood. Ask questions and listen to the answers. The agent is working for you with your best interest in mind. Everything they do should be with that objective in mind. A good agent enjoys questions. I look at my job as an opportunity to educate my clients and help them make good real estate decisions. I love that! Learn from your agent!
So choosing a good buyer's agent is important, but don't overthink it and make it too difficult. I've seen people belabor it too much and all that does is predict a difficult process all the way through. The clients who trust me to do my job ALWAYS have a smoother transaction.
In short....assuming that you are considering licensed individuals, the most important considerations when choosing a buyer's agent is finding one who is affiliated with a reputable company, someone who you can trust, someone who knows the market and is competent, and someone you feel comfortable with. After that, let your buyer's agent take you through the process and enjoy it. It should be exciting!
Next up - How to Choose a Listing Agent. Stay tuned....
If I can help you, give me a call!
Opening Doors - Building Relationships