Blog

First Time Home Buyers – Choosing a Real Estate Agent

temp-post-image
temp-post-image

First time buyers may have already hit the Internet for their search, but how do they know who should be their real estate agent in what may be the most important financial transaction of their lives thus far?

Whose name is on that card?

THE AGENT YOU KNOW

Many first time, as well as repeat, buyers use the real estate agent in the family, the uncle, the cousin, the neighbor or their friend. Having someone you know and trust is a great place to start. If they can back it up with experience, area knowledge, and expertise, you probably don’t need to look any further.

Even if you know the agent, though, have a professional conversation with them. This is a new relationship. You’re not just swapping travel stories, you’re about to put your future in their hands. Do they understand what you want? What you’ll accept, what your priorities are? Do you have faith in their experience and knowledge? Can they get you into that home in a multiple bid situation? Ask them to tell you about situations they’ve handled that have been similar to yours.

THE AGENT YOU WANT TO KNOW

This is where you turn on your reticular activator. All of a sudden, you will notice real estate agents are everywhere! Not just their face on the notepads they drop off on your porch or the bus bench ads or those banners on the school yard fence. They really are everywhere.

Do some online searches about the neighborhood you want to live in, the city you’re considering and you’ll see agents come up. Click on their ads, their websites. You won’t get email or information from them unless you click a little further and sign up. Who looks like someone you might want to talk to in that Trulia or Zillow sidebar? Does one name keep coming up?

Yelp reviews are marginal in trying to find a Realtor. They really haven’t taken off except for those real estate agents who are pushing their clients to write reviews. It will get there, but don’t depend on them just yet.

How long an agent has been in business can be a criteria, but have they been in business 10 years, only as a part time agent? A full time agent who has been in business less than 5 years might be a better bet if they are fully immersed in the business of the business, actively working transactions, and keeping up with the market. Agents with many years of experience who keep up with the market and the constant changes are invaluable.

THE AGENT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Referrals are the lifeblood of any small business and it is especially true when it comes to trusting your life dreams and investments. ASK your family, friends and colleagues. Who have they used? What was their experience? Was the agent on top of the transaction, receptive to feedback, responsive to requests? Did they listen? Did they communicate?

temp-post-image

Real estate agents thrive on referrals as they want to work with buyers and sellers that their clients know, too. The trust is more quickly established on both sides.

THE AGENT QUESTIONS

Do a search on how to find an agent and you will find a variety of questions to ask a Realtor before you hire them. The questions recommended depend on who wrote the article! This post is no different. Beyond the basics of assuring they are licensed and do not have any licensing violations, beyond asking “How long have you been in business?”,”How many transactions have you closed?”, and “Have you won any awards?” is the personal connection:

  • What geographic area do you cover?
  • What types of properties do you handle?
  • How will you communicate with me and how often?
  • What tools will you put in place to locate a home that fits my criteria?
  • Do you work with a lender who has first time buyer assistance?
  • Why should I work with you?
  • May I have some references?

If you are comfortable with the answers, if they fit your needs, then go with your gut feeling. Which agent is going to be there for you when things go sideways? Who is going to toast with you when the deal goes smoothly? Who is going to be a long term resource for you and someone you’re going to refer to other buyers, as well as to sellers?

I’m happy to answer any questions about the agent search, as well as refer you to qualified agents in your specific geographic area. You may contact me by phone or text at 562.673.5335 or by email at katielarson@kw.com. If you’d like more information or to start a home search, check out my website: http://www.katiekimbelllarson.com/listing/listingsearch.aspx

CONTACT US