Choosing a Real Estate Agent
There are probably hundreds of real estate agents working in your city. Before you choose one to help you with your home search, it’s best to do some research.
- Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers to recommend realtors they have worked with.
- Drive through the neighborhoods where you are interested in buying. Look for “for sale” signs to identifying which agents are listing the most homes in the area.
- Check out real estate agents that list a number of homes in your desired price range. An agent who typically sells $150,000 condos may not be as familiar with $365,000 homes.
Some people look for agents who are doing the most listing and selling business, but there is a downside to this approach. While this is often a sign of a successful agent, it may indicate that he or she is overworked and cannot provide the amount of time and attention that a first-time homebuyer needs when searching for a home.
If you are moving to a new town, an agent in your current neighborhood may be able to recommend an agent familiar with the prospective location. In addition, some national real estate firms now have sophisticated referral programs that offer a list of agents and houses available in the new community.
Once you’ve narrowed the playing field of potential agents, two or three should be chosen as finalists. You should meet with each finalist in person and be candid about the degree of expected service in the search for your new house. Keep these criteria in mind as you interview prospective agents:
- Do you feel that you can trust this person?
- Do you have a good rapport with the agent?
- Does the agent have a good track record?
- Will the agent be committed to meeting your housing needs?
Once you’ve selected an agent, it’s best to work exclusively with that person. Of course, if you experience personality conflicts with an agent or feel that he/she is pushing you toward a house you can’t afford, you should move on. But be sure to make a clean break with your first agent before working with someone else in order to avoid hard feelings.