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Make sure he or she is willing to look for places that are in your price range. Some of them want to look for more expensive places because they expect to be paid more that way, or they want to show off places being sold by another agent whom they know. So discuss your price range up front and see how an agent reacts.
Todd Schoonover This image is not naughty or offensive, so don't flag me WatchTrolls
Interview the agent as though you were hiring them as an employee, because you are in a way. See what their philosophy is, and whether or not they are listening to you in regards to area, price, size, etc. Ask for references and actually call former clients and find out how the realtor performed for them.
MoreThanSalt is writing letters
DON’T. My advice is to NOT use one agent. If you are near your destination area, drive around by yourself, and call for each home that you find individually. If it is long distance, avail yourself of realtor.com, trulia and the local newspaper classifieds online, and look up real estate magazines in those areas online and subscribe to them. I found our home via realtor.com. If you are looking for really cheap, realtors don’t want to spend a long time on that, and you may need to in order to get the best place for you. A realtor associate will change the dynamic of your search- they do not show you everything and they weary of assisting a low end client. Their advice is not for your best interest- they are in RE to make a living, after all. Also, a realtor gets a cut of each sale, if you have a realtor and the bank or sales co has a realtor- the commission is halved for everyone, making the realtors less willing to help you negotiate.
ALSO, don’t forget- the realtor is working for the seller unless you pay them- not a good thing no matter what they tell you.
dlchick *What I desire desires me as well*
Find an agent willing to show you as many places as possible in order to help you find the place you’ll be happy in. They are getting paid for their work when it’s all said and done, so they should put forth the effort to make sure they’re keeping your best interests in mind. They should not only try to SELL you a place, but also help you realize the pros and cons of the home, neighborhood, etc. as well as any repairs and upgrades and the approximate costs. Unless you are on a strict timeline, do not rush into buying something, and if you are on a timeline, really try to compare the properties to your list of wants/must-haves. Good luck!
tikini tikiniland ~ where it is always summertime
Several considerations. If you are buying a foreclosure or short sale you will want an agent with a great track record for closing such sales. Ask to see sales closing history. Equally important is the relationship between lender and agent. Often they work in teams and that works to your advantage. Establish rapport early and only move forward with an agent you genuinely like.
If you know someone else who has bought a home (coworker, friend, etc), especially in your price range, ask them. Some agents focus on having houses to sell, and if you get one of them, they may “push” one of their houses.
The most important thing is that they listen to you. If you have a budget and they show you houses outside of that budget, you’ll both be frustrated. If you really want a fireplace and the agent ignores that but keeps showing you houses with pools, that’s no good.
You will feel like you see about 1000 houses. TAKE PICTURES! You will not remember all the details. You swear you will, then you get home and can’t even remember which one had that crazy kitchen and how many bedrooms. Digital pictures are free. Trust me: you need the pictures just to jog your memory (Take a picture of the front so you separate the houses.)
Also, be realistic about what you can afford. You will have unexpected bills. The agent makes money based on the price of the house. Stick to what you can afford.
We e-mailed a bunch of agents and asked them what to look for in an agent. We went with the one who responded the best.
There are great answers here about getting an agent, so I’m moving onto the next step, the home inspection.
No matter how much you trust the agent, make sure who ever inspects the house is hired separately. If work is needed from contractors, get an estimate. Even if it seems small, it might be costly or stressful.
I haven’t read others’ responses, but I’ll say what I think: trust your gut. Some people aren’t tuned in to their intuition, but if you have a bad feeling or just don’t really like your agent, you won’t communicate well and they will probably turn out to be more of a pain in the butt than an ally in your biggest financial decision thus far. In my case, my agent was SOOO not in line with my stereotypical view of what an agent is like-
upper-class, busy all the time, snotty, and self-interested. (Hate to say it, but it’s true-my budget was less than $100K, and not many realtors are willing to work with that!) Tanya was the first person I called—I don’t even remember how I found her, but right when I first met her I knew she was the right person to hold my hand through the process. Trust your gut!
Stereogrl in need of project
Don’t use agents, do the work yourself, you’re the best person to know what you want to get for a house.
I had bad experiences with agents. The first house I bought, the agent saling it barely knew answers to crucial questions, like how old is the roof? He answered about 5 years old and during inspection, we found evidences of that number that was between 10 and 15 years. He did not know the exact size of the pool, etc… the other agents I dealt weith were either arrogant, absent and/or useless.
I bought my 3rd house this summer without an agent and I sold my 2 other houses without agents. All the profit went to my pockets (for the house that I sold it is around 10k) and I sold it fast because I could put a reasonnable price on it (no agents to pay).
It’s better to get to know ALL about the market, so you know what you do, what is the involvement.
I sold my properties with this company http://duproprio.com/ . They offer support, you can ask them any question at all, they provide all the advices, tools and documentation needed for saling or buying a house.
Good luck, have fun!
morethansalt has a point, there are real estate professionals out there just trying to make as much money as they can and will do anything to do it, but they will eventually get caught and pay for their misdeeds. as for who the sales person works for morethansalt is misinformed, if you drive around and you see that a house is for sale and the sign is with remax and you call them and work with them then the sales person works in one of two ways 1) transaction brokerage, where they owe certian duties to both buyer and seller. in this kind of transaction they owe you honesty, care, diligence, and they must disclose all know facts about the property that will materially affect the value ( i.e. needs new roof, a/c doesn’t work, sink holes, etc.) and they must pass on your offer to the seller in a timely manner regardless of the offer with limited confidentiality. OR 2) they work with you in a no brokerage relationship where they must treat you honestly and fairly disclose all known facts that materially affect the value of the home, and account for all funds.
Now don’t rely on the sales person to find all the houses, you do want to keep your eyes open and drive around. the reasoning behind this is you will give them certian criteria to put in their search say for example mine (2006 or newer, 1450 sq ft living, centrial heat and air, 1/4 acre or more, 3 bed 2 bath 2 car garage) but you may drive buy a place that is 1400 sq ft living and 1 car garage and love the way it looks, but you would never see it if you told the sales person the previous cradentials were a must, so you would have to let them know you want to see it.
as for picking an agent personally i would say go off your gut feeling of your first encounter, go into the agency sit down and talk to someone and see if they make you feel comfortable, if not move on to the next. i didn’t have that problem because i was in the process of getting my license and i worked in a real estate office with my mother who was my agent. though i did most of the searching because working the front desk gave me a lot of free time.
As a few have stated above there are some good sites you can go to to search for a new home as well.
do not rush, be patient ( it took me till the 5th house until i finally had a seller willing to work with me, almost a year of denial from sellers) it does get frustrating but you will find something. You and your agent should make sure it is something that you can afford without breaking the bank.
I hope this helped, if you have any questions at all please feel free to contact me.
If this is your first house purchase then you won’t be able to tell straight away, so my advice is to meet as many agents as possible in your area. Have them all show you some properties and ask them questions like “why are they selling, what tax bracket is the property in, what work has been done on the house, will the buyers take a cash offer”.
The idea of these questions is for you to evaluate how well the agent answers them, some agents will just say “I don’t know, i’ll check”, well, do they check? And how quickly? And how accurately are their “checked” answers.
After some time you’ll develop a sense for how much you can trust the agent, and if you have no trust, don’t use that agent.
_joy_ “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” -Diana Hunt
Enthusiasm & willingness to help you find what you are looking for. Ask your [local] network (friends/co-workers/family). If the agent was good enough to be referred… he or she will likely go out of their way to make sure you get what you are looking for as well. Good luck! :)
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