Ask yourself this question: if you weren’t buying a house, would your real estate agent STILL be concerned about your well being? Would they be happy and friendly and buy you coffee? Probably not. Why do I say this? Because at the end of the day, your real estate agent is a sales person. That is not a bad thing. The world needs sales people, and this particular sales person is trying to sell you something. Now there are good and bad real estate agents, just like there are good and bad plumbers, and good and bad car mechanics. Your mission — should you choose to accept it — is to find the good ones and stay away from the bad ones.
Housebuyingtips.com points out that The better agents have success selling homes in the neighborhood you are looking in. Often you’ll find the same 2 or 3 agents closing deals like crazy in a neighborhood. Successful agents have lots of houses listed. Part timers and unsuccessful agents may have few if any homes listed, so stay away from them.
So now, the hunt begins. Where do you look for a real estate agent? Probably the best source is people you know. They will tell you if they liked or hated their real estate agent. You want a real estate agent who is professional and aggressive. Certainly the large well funded real estate companies have certain minimum standards for business practices, ethics, and customer satisfaction. www.mortgagenewsdaily.com recommends you ask the real estate agent to show you all the state required disclosure forms so you know ahead of time all your rights. You don’t want any surprises later on.
Once you narrow the field, it’s time to communicate. Time is a precious commodity, so make sure the real estate agent has an accurate list of the house criteria you are looking for. Make sure your real estate agent knows every last detail of what type of house you are looking for. Otherwise you’re both wasting each others time.
According to RealestateABC.com, once you feel convinced the agent can do a good job representing you, you need to decide what kind of contractual relationship you will have:
Buyer’s Agent: This is clearly the best choice if you are buying a house. The buyer’s agent works only for the buyer and is bound to represent you above all other interests.
Seller’s Agent: The seller’s agent works only for the seller of the home. This means that they essentially look out for the seller’s interest – and not yours. Disclosed Dual Agent: In this type of arrangement, the agent works for both the buyer AND the seller. Sounds like a conflict-of-interests to me. Best advice: stay away from this agent.
An interesting side note: according to www.housebuyingtips.com, If your real estate agent’s commission is based on the selling price of a house you are about to buy, you cannot guarantee that the agent has your best interest at heart. To play it safe, never tell anyone but yourself how high you are willing to go. By law the seller’s real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller, and they WILL tell the seller everything you say, so pretend you are under police interrogation. The first thing the agent may do is ask you how high you are willing to go on the house. Don’t fall for this trick. Just give them the price you want to pay for the house and if they ask how high you are willing to go, tell them that’s it. If the seller does not agree there is no deal and you’re taking your money elsewhere.
There are some good resources out there to help you in your search for a good real estate agent. A good starting point is HomeGain (www.homegain.com) This is a free site with over 1.7 million consumers and 42,000 registered real estate agents. You can search by area. You remain anonymous as agents submit detailed marketing proposals online. You can compare real estate agent qualifications and marketing plans before choosing the agent you want to work with. Other features give you the facts on prospective agents’ backgrounds, experience, local sales, commission rates, and more. You can use these reports to find agents who will list your house at a lower rate.
Finding a good real estate agent is a crucial step in both buying and selling. So choose wisely and do your research!