Picking a real estate agent is one of the most important things you can do when buying a home. The agent will find you homes to look at, negotiate with the other party and eventually close the deal. They will help guide you through the process with their years of experience. Because they are so essential to a successful search, it’s worth your time and effort to pick someone you can really work with who has the expertise to shepherd you successfully through the process.
What do you look for? The right real estate agent is not necessarily someone you would want to spend time with. What you are doing is establishing a business relationship, not a friendship. As such, open communication is essential. You should be comfortable asking questions, and the agent should be willing to accommodate your requests. Remember, it’s your money, so picking someone who is going to get you the best deal is always your best option. Nothing beats experience and knowledge of the market, so try to find someone that is an expert in the area where you are looking and has been in the field for some time. Some agents specialize in buying houses and some specialize in selling houses, so choose the right one for your needs.
Your best option is to get a referral from a friend or family member who has had recent experience with an agent. They can give you the positive and the negative aspects of the agent. If you can’t get a referral or you’ve exhausted those options, one great way to meet several different agents is to attend open houses. You can briefly interact with an agent and get some idea about their personality without any commitment at all. If you time things right, you can meet with several different agents in the same day. You can also get a feel for how they will treat prospective customers for your home.
Be wary of anyone who tries to rush you into paperwork. Before selecting a real estate agent—and definitely before signing any kind of paperwork—try to sit down with several and interview them. You can learn a lot about someone by the way that they interact on the phone and treat you from the start. Agents will take a percentage of your final sale, so be wary of anyone that is trying to encourage you to spend more money than you are interested in.
There are many agents in the market today with varying skills and abilities, and the home buying process can often be a long one. If your agent isn’t working out, you may choose someone else to represent you. An agent is exactly that—someone acting on your behalf—so you have to find someone you believe in to represent you on your search for the perfect home.