05.28.15 by Jeff Johnson
Finding the right home is quite an undertaking, and a real estate purchase is a complex process that can take unexpected twists and turns, so having the right buyer agent by your side makes a huge difference to your success.
Unlike a seller, who signs an agreement with an agent, a buyer rarely has anything in writing that binds them to an agent or requires an agent to perform particular tasks. This makes it important to choose the right agent, instead of just jumping in with the first one who comes along. Above all, you must feel comfortable with them.
Here are some questions to ask a buyer agent before you start working with them.
1. How long does it take typical buyers you’ve worked with to find a home and close?
If an agent tells you that their typical buyers move quickly, within weeks or a month, they are probably used to working with experienced buyers and doing quick sales. If the answer is that it can range from a month to a year or longer, they are likely more patient and let the home-buying process run its course. NewLook Realty Company is committed to providing excellent service to each person based on their individual, unique requirements, when they are ready to start and until they succeed.
2. In which towns or neighborhoods do you do the most business?
Good agents tend to focus on where and what they know. Most have a solid knowledge of a few towns and nearby areas, and then a cursory knowledge of areas farther afield.
Your home search can take you through multiple towns and areas. If you start working with a real estate agent you meet in one town, and he or she mainly works only in that area, someone else for another area may better serve you. Still, it’s better to have one agent throughout the process, so look for an agent who covers the geographic area you are interested in if possible. A great agent will put your interests first and tell you if they cannot adequately help you with the location you’re considering. NewLook Realty Company believes in taking care of clients first and foremost, whether that means helping them directly or referring them to someone else better qualified for their needs.
3. Do you work independently or with a team? Do you have an assistant?
Home buying is incredibly personal, so you want to make sure you know who you’ll be working with. If your agent works with assistants or a team, ask what the arrangement is and make sure you are comfortable with it. You don’t want to be pushed off to someone with less experience; on the other hand, an assistant handling the minutia of a real estate transaction can allow an agent to focus on your priorities. NewLook Realty Company views our agents and staff as a team supportive of one another to foster a high level of service to our clients.
4. How do showings work?
There are multiple ways to see properties, and the most effective approach is different for every buyer and in every market. Some markets rely heavily on open houses, where buyers can see the home on their own. Others require private appointments or the use of a lock box to see homes. Ask an agent how they work. If the agent prefers that you leverage open houses or do drive-bys as much as possible, but you desire a little more hand-holding, they may not be the agent for you. At NewLook Realty Company, we listen to our client’s desires and work to meet their needs in the manner most useful to them.
5. How do you search for properties, and what’s the best way to collaborate or communicate?
Buyers don’t rely only on their agent to find properties anymore. What’s more, many agents encourage buyers to search online independently. Agents leverage their local multiple listing service (MLS), and will send buyers emails and alerts from there.
Good collaboration makes for a seamless process, so ask the agent how they collaborate with their buyers for searches. Ask if they’re a phone, text or email kind of person. Identify an agent who works well with your own communication style. NewLook Realty Company aims to be responsive by returning calls and answering inquiries in a timely manner.
Inspiration: Zillow Blog