Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Choosing the Right Agent to Help You! – Part 2

Posted in Choosing a Realtor by Jeff Dowler on October 29, 2006

Here are some more things to think about when choosing a REALTOR to assist you.

1. It is important to feel a level of comfort in speaking with the person you are interviewing, and a personal chemistry, but that’s not all. Do you feel that they are truly interested in helping you? How do you know? What are the specific services they provide first time home buyers? How well do they know the community (ies) you are interested in? What can they tell you about the community as well as the state of the market there – is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market? Are they willing to screen properties for you, based on YOUR criteria, not just set you up on a website (while it is important that you have access to on-line properties in the area you are moving to, YOU don’t know the area and the Realtor should help you screen properties as s/he learns more about what you want and need). Can the Realtor provide you with resources for you to do your OWN research (e.g., schools, crime).

2. Understand their responsiveness (see note above in #4) and their ability and willingness to help you late at night, on the weekend, etc. You will likely have lots of questions and it’s nice to not get frustrated because you can’t talk to the person you are working with. Find out how the agent likes to communicate (email, phone, face to face) but also discuss what works well for you. Do they get emails forwarded to their cell phone? Can they provide you with all the numbers to reach them quickly if you need to (believe it or not, some agents do not give out their cell phone numbers and expect you to leave voice mail in their office – how often do they check?). What about email – just because they HAVE an address does NOT mean they use it, and I know this from personal experience. You both need to agree on the most effective means to communicate and what works best for you.

3. You will want to look at houses, of course, and at times will want to schedule a tour of a number of properties, especially when you are getting started, so you will quickly gain a feel for the market and what is available to you in your price range. Find out how your Realtor will handle that. Will they set up an effective and substantial tour of homes and neighborhoods for you? Will they show you properties YOU want to see (as well as those that they feel, based on their knowledge, are important for you to see as well)? Do they provide an itinerary in advance? Do they keep you posted on any changes (e.g., the home you fell in love with on-line and planned to see now has an accepted offer)? Are they comfortable and willing to make last minute changes based on your schedule, change in the housing that is available, ruling out areas you find you don’t like, etc. so you don’t waste time?

4. You should also take time to visit open houses in your own – the more you see the better you will understand the market. Find out if your agent would like to accompany you and how to stay in touch about the properties you see (especially those you like). Once you are committed to working with someone, ask them how they should handle open houses, since the agent at the open house will almost always ask you if you are working with someone. Having a stack of your agent’s business cards is a good idea.

5. Make sure you and the agent you decide on discuss Buyer Agency. Will the agent represent you as a buyer client (like having an attorney) or not? What does this mean to you (ask about confidentiality and assistance with developing an offer strategy).

Are you going to be relocating and buying your first home? Check out Relocation A to Z for lots of information about the entire process.

Need help figuring out what to buy? You can visit my website and download a form entitled “What’s Important to You.”  This form will help you focus on the things that really matter.


2 Responses to 'Choosing the Right Agent to Help You! – Part 2'

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  1. […] Select a real estate agent to help you – Looking for a house on your own, or working with multiple agents simultaneously is a waste of your time and will not help you be an effective consumer. A REALTOR can save you TIME and MONEY, avoid problems, answer questions, and keep you informed on market conditions. Plus a REALTOR can represent YOUR INTERESTS in the transaction. […]

  2. […] attempt to buy on your own! Select a real estate agent to help you. If you look for a home by yourself as a first timer, or work with multiple agents, you are […]

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