If you are a home buyer who is considering wading into the real estate market you should make sure you are doing so with a trusted, experienced ally. Today's home market is ever changing, can be confusing, and often takes advantage of the inexperienced. There are many parties involved in the typical transaction and it is wise to be represented and guided by an experienced REALTOR(R) who is looking out for your best interest.
If you don't have a strong recommendation from someone who has dealt with the person they are recommending then you should interview real estate agents prior to making your selection. Here are some things you should be looking for and asking:
1) Will this person be representing you exclusively? That means that they will not be representing both you and the seller in the transaction! I work with buyers only as a designated buyers' agent so that I can represent them exclusively.
2) Does this person take time to meet with you personally and face to face to determine what your desires and needs might be? Do they really listen to you? Do they use that meeting to help you understand the process of buying a home and explaining how they typically will work with you? Do they share with you the forms that you will see throughout the transaction, giving you time to read and understand them?
3) Are they familiar with the community and/or area in which you wish to purchase? If you are relocating to the area, do they have experience working with relocating buyers. Are they willing to cooperate with your company's relocation company if you have that benefit with your transfer? It is important that you share that information up-front with the real estate agent since many of these companies will take a "referral fee" thereby reducing the agent's commission at closing.
4) Will they provide you with area comparable properties that have recently sold once you locate a property of interest? In order to determine that you are paying an appropriate amount for any given property you need to be aware of what has sold nearby that are similar to the property in which you have interest. If financing is going to be involved in your transaction an appraisal of the property will be required by the mortgage company. That appraiser will determine value based on recent sales in the area so you want to know that the property you ultimately select has an excellent chance of appraising at full price.
5) Does the real estate agent have a network of lenders, inspectors, licensed repair people, title companies, etc to recommend as they are needed in the transaction?
6) Is this person willing to work with your timeline. Sometimes folks may desire a slow introduction to the market, others need to proceed at full steam. How does the agent feel about your intended pace and timing?
I tell buyers and sellers that the best litmus test for establishing a contracted relationship with a real estate agent is to ask yourself whether "I feel this person is going to act on my behalf and do I trust him/her to do that". If there is no trust in what I am advising or doing on your behalf then there is little value to you because you will be second guessing everything I do and say.
At the end of the transaction you will be the owner of a property that will likely be your "home". When all is said and done I want my clients to remember the transaction as a positive experience every time they write the mortgage check and/or pay their property taxes. I want the relationship to continue well past closing so that I can be a resource for housing/real estate questions in the future, a trusted partner in one of the biggest transactions in your life.
Copyright 2012 Sondra TenClay