Top Five Tips For Finding A Great Buyer's Agent
Guest Blogger: Emily Khan
When you set out to start your new home search, it's likely you're going to enlist the help of a skillful buyer's agent. Your agent will be able to assist you in finding a lender, identifying homes that fit your budget and desires, lead you through the home buying process, and answer any questions you may have along the way. You want to think of your buyer's agent as your coach to lead you to a good home purchase. Here are some of our best tips for finding a great buyer's agent for your next purchase.
One of the best ways to find a great buyer's agent is to simply ask those around you who they've used for their home purchases in the past. Friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers can all be a great source of recommendations. If people you know have enjoyed working with the agent in the past, they'll likely be more than happy to share their experience with you. If you don't know anyone who has used an agent to purchase a home, it's a good idea to check online review sites to see who is highly recommended in your area.
Check Their History
Sites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com will showcase buyer's agents in your area. These agents will typically have ratings on these sites and you can see how many homes they've helped to buy in the last month, two months, or six months. Identifying an agent that have assisted many buyers in the past few months is a must. This will ensure they're active in the local real estate market and will go out of their way to help you find a reasonable deal. Those highly active are the proactive sort of agents that will be good at negotiations and working with clients.
Verify Their License
At this point, you should have a narrowed down list of potential buyer's agents to talk with. You should do your preliminary research of checking to ensure each potential agent has their license to practice real estate transactions. This can be accomplished by looking at the state database for realtors in your area. In addition, you'll be able to see if there have been any disciplinary actions against any of the realtors on your list. Think of this step as just insurance to make sure you're going to hire an agent that is legal in their practices.
It's time to talk to the real estate agent's that you still have on your list. Whether that's two or five, it doesn't matter. You just want to get a feel for how the agent acts and treats their customers. You'll be able to tell within the first few minutes of meeting a potential agent whether or not you'll feel comfortable working with them. Ideally, you want an agent that is able to take your desires into consideration and provide you with potential listings that match what you're looking for. If you sit down with an agent and feel uncomfortable or they try to change your desires of what you're looking for in a home, then simply don't proceed any further with them.
Don't Be Afraid To Switch
Depending on the local practices in your area, real estate agents may ask you to sign a buyer's agent agreement. This will lock you in with them for a specific amount of time. This means that you can't use another real estate agent to purchase a home in the area stated in the contract for the duration of the contract or the buyer's agent is entitled to the commission from the sale. This can be stressful for any new home buyer as you don't want to be locked in with an agent that you've never worked with before. It's okay to decline signing the agent agreement. If the agent refuses to work with you after you tell them you're declining to sign, simply find another agent.
Don't be afraid to switch agents in the home buying process if you find that your agent isn't performing to the standard you believe they should be. It's not uncommon for buyer's agents to lose interest in a client after a couple months of not finding them the right home. It's okay to look at multiple homes and not offer on them if you're truly not interested in the home. A good buyer's agent knows that a home purchase is a big decision and there's no reason you should settle for anything less than you want to have.
As you follow the five tips above, you'll find out that identifying the right buyer's agent for your needs takes a little bit of time. It pays to invest your own time in finding the right buyer's agent that makes you feel comfortable during the home buying process. You want an agent that will give you the freedom to picture your future in a home you love. As you walk around a potential purchase, you want to be comfortable enough to walk through each room and freely think about how you would design it without being pestered by your agent about when the roof was just replaced. A good buyer's agent knows when it's time to talk about the down and dirty of the property, like when the last water heater was replaced, and when it's time to let you take in the view of each room in a home.
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Jeff Cook Real Estate
Charleston | Columbia | Greenville