Real estate agents can guide you through this process with specialized knowledge of locating your perfect home, negotiating the best price and terms, disclosure laws and local market conditions. With the right real estate agent by your side, the home buying process can be an exciting and rewarding experience.
What Features Are Important to You?
Deciding on important features can be helpful before you start actually looking at homes. Make a list of important features and neighborhoods you are interested in. In your list include items you "need to have" and are "nice to have".
As with any job, being an expert in the field is crucial. The most important areas a real estate professional should have exceptional knowledge in are:
- Area Expert
Find an agent that specializes in your neighborhood and has extensive knowledge of local market conditions.
- Pricing Expert
Pricing is a collaborative process based on information about recent sales, current listings, and recently expired listings in your area. Your real estate agent should show you research to support any recommendations.
- Negotiating Expert
Your agent should have specialized knowledge of legal contracts, disclosure laws and the negotiation process.
- Expert at Maximizing Profits
Your agent can help you negotiate contract terms in your favor.
When looking for a real estate agent, find someone you are comfortable with and someone who is compatible with your personality. If you don't feel you can ask questions or can openly discuss the home buying process, you have the wrong person! Many agents have desirable qualities but your expectations can set how they work with you.
- Will you mesh well together as business partners?
- What personality suits you best? (Structured, detail-oriented, friendly, persuasive, sensitive, analytical and persistent.)
- Make a list of the most important traits you want in your real estate agent. (Assertive, loyal, methodical, organized, networked, good communicator, good judgment, enthusiastic, ambitious, trustworthy, committed, experienced)
Agents should have referrals from past clients. You can ask for referrals or check their website for client testimonials.
- Newer agents may only have a few referrals but don't be deterred, the quality of work that an agent produces is most important. Any agent should show you how their expertise and services match your needs.
- Experienced agents often emphasize the number of years in the business or transactions they have closed. They should have plenty of referrals and a track record of outstanding service. In addition, they should show you their quality of work and how their services match your needs.
Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent
It is your duty to make sure you are comfortable with your agent and they are qualified! Have questions prepared ahead of time. Here are some good questions to get you started:
- Do they belong to the local Multiple Listing Service so they have access to all the homes available in your area? (MLS's are cooperative information databases that provide homes for sale in the area, as well as the market history of homes, and in depth property descriptions.)
- Do they have extensive market knowledge of the local area?
- Can they point out important features or potential possibilities of properties to create solutions for your needs?
- Do they have superb listening and problem-solving skills and a good business sense?
- Do they embrace technology in order to serve you better?
- Do they offer personalized services that cater to your needs?
- Can they improve your bottom line through their negotiating skills?
- Do they have a good network in the real estate community to further locate homes for you?
- Are they enthusiastic, honest and trusted consultants?
- Are they willing to go the extra mile to insure you receive the best home buying experience possible?