Knowing how to choose the right agent who will not only meet your needs but who will also be compatible with you is one of the first big decisions many buyers and especially first-time buyers must make. Don't be afraid to take your time and do your research because in the end it will payoff and be what will ensure that you have a great experience with your agent.
Interview Your Real Estate Agent
One of the first things that you should do is interview your agent and get a feel for their philosophy on working with buyers. Ask them about their background, their experience, and be sure to ask for a résumé. Be leery of any agent who wants you to jump in their car immediately after meeting you to start showing you homes. Good brokers and agents will want to interview you and make sure that you know what your options are and that you are ready and educated for all of the steps of the purchasing process.
How Does Experience Come Into Play?
Having an experienced agent is highly recommended but sometimes brand-new agents will also offer excellent service. If a new agent has had extensive training and support, they will probably work just fine for you. In the end though, the more experienced the agent, the more transactions they handle in a year, the more situations they're confronted with, and the more insight they will have into the closing process.
Make Sure You're Compatible
In addition to finding an experienced agent, look for one that suits your personality. If you're an early bird, someone who is habitually late will irk you. If you're allergic to smoking, don't choose someone who smokes. If you need someone on the weekends, make sure the agent you choose is willing to work on the weekends. If you overlook these personality quirks, they may drive you crazy in the end. It's equally important to find someone who isn't going to push you into making a deal before you are ready. You want a broker who will tell you all of the facts and who will help you compare the differences between properties; you don't want someone who will scare you or pressure you into buying a home.
How Do You Find an Agent?
Now that you know what to look for, how do you find an agent? Just like choosing a doctor or a lawyer, most people are referred to someone by a friend or family member - perhaps someone who recently bought or sold a home and had a good experience. If you are transferring with your company to a new state, the human resources department may have an ongoing relationship with a broker or brokerage in your new location. Of course, make sure to interview the person who is referred to you just to make sure that you choose the most effective person for your situation. Aunt Martha's suburban agent may not be the best choice if you're looking for a loft in the city.
If you can't find someone through a referral, there are other ways to find the right broker for you. Use the Internet to search for agents working in the area you're interested in. Open the local newspaper to the real estate section and look at the ads. See who runs big ads, week in and week out. Visit open houses and spend some time talking to the real estate agents. Ask them besides themselves, who they would suggest to use. Call your local board of Realtors and ask for the names of agents who a lot of properties last year.
The vast majority of buyers have good, and often great experiences with their agents. Just make sure that you take the time to find the right person for you before making your final selection. Simply taking a friend or family member's advice may leave you working with the wrong agent, looking at the wrong houses, and touring homes that are too expensive or simply not what you're looking for.