Working With Realtors
If you are like many people, chances are good you looked around different neighborhoods, saw a few homes that were for sale, maybe visited an open house or two, and then felt stuck. What is the next step? Approach the home owner? Visit a realtor?
Finding the right realtor when buying a home depends on what you are looking for in a home. You may have to visit several realtors before finding one that listens to your wants and needs. After all, you will probably be paying them a commission once you have found a home, so you should be comfortable working with them during the house hunting process.
Choosing A Realtor
There are a few ways to find a reliable realtor. For example, you can:
- Ask friends and family
- Ask other realtors
- Attend a few open houses and meet realtors
- Find ads online or in the newspaper
- Walk into a local office, or
- Look for local realtors in your neighborhood by paying attention to for sale signs in the neighborhood
Asking plenty of questions before looking at houses may seem like a lot of work, but when you visit a realtor for the first time, you should think about questions that will help you get to know this person who is going to help you find your dream home. The five best questions to ask are:
- Are you a certified realtor? (While all agents need to be licensed in the states they are selling properties in, not all realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors.)
- How long have you been in the real estate business?
- Which neighborhoods are you the most familiar with?
- How many homes do you have that will fit my needs?
- What is your typical commission on a home in my price range?
Once you have asked these questions, you should be looking for honest and complete answers, good communication, and eye contact. These are questions that the realtor should have practice in answering and should not have to give you a standard ‘salesperson’ answer.
If you feel uncomfortable, then you are under no obligation to continue with this realtor unless they have some good property matches to show you. Normally, if a realtor does not have properties that fit what you are looking for, they will recommend you to another realtor in the group. This is also a good sign because it shows that the group is looking out for your interests and the interests of its employees.
You should also pay attention to:
- How well your realtor listens to what you are looking for
- How well they understand current real estate law
- How many other clients they seem to have
- How they speak to their co workers
- How often they communicate with you on the phone or email
In the end, you will have to be the judge of the real estate agent. If they know what they are talking about, can find out the information you need quickly, and are willing to take the time to listen to what you need, then you should work very well with them.
In some cases, you may be asked to sign an agreement that states you will only be working with a specific real estate agency or agent when looking for a home. You are under no obligation to sign this paperwork and you should only do so if you feel very comfortable.
While these agreements are not totally binding, it could make buying a home more difficult down the road. Only sign agreements if you feel comfortable.
During your search for a real estate agent, you will find a variety of agents that will want to work with you. These include:
- Experienced agents
- New agents
- Pushy agents
- Absentee agents, and
- Hard working agents
While all real estate agents have different personalities, you will have to decide which ones you will want to work with when looking for your new home.