Buying a home can be a complicated process, so having a professional real estate agent can be a real help in locating the right property at the right price. But how do you choose the right agent to work with? Here are some steps to help you choose the right person to work with.
Interview agents from several different agencies. See how long they have been working and see how successful they are. Find out if there have been complaints filed with the State Board of Realtors. Find someone you can work well with. Remember that an agent is a salesperson. If you are buying, their job is to sell to YOU. Just keep that in mind as you work with him/her, and don’t let on if you are in desperate circumstances or that you are in a big rush to buy.
Find an agent familiar with the neighborhood and the housing market where you are looking. They should know what’s available and what houses are going for in that area. Find an agent who is successful selling home in that neighborhood. Successful agents often have many homes listed, where part-time or unsuccessful agents will have only a few. Successful agents make it their business to focus on your needs and work to make it happen.
Find out what kind of customer service you will receive from an agent. Talk to people you know to find out who they have used and get references from them. Find an agent they have had a good experience with. You will want an agent who is always willing and available. Be sure phone calls are returned quickly. The agent should stay in contact with you regularly. You want an agent who is professional and assertive.
Real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which keeps an inventory of all properties for sale by region. A good agent should be able to use the MLS to help find a home for you and should be able to match your desires such as schools, shopping areas, etc., to the property. Make sure your agent knows what you are looking for.
Be sure to read all working contracts, including the fine print, before signing with an agent. Know what is expected of you and what they will agree to do. Ask the agent to show you all the required disclosure forms so you know your rights.