Our friend Chris Bibey in his recent blog, How I Negotiated a Great Deal on My New Home says the first thing he did was “hired the right agent”.
Ask Kate also states that the first decision in buying a home is to find the right agent.
So how do you find and hire the right agent? First of all consider that this is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. Once you realize this you will want an agent equal to task of advising you on this monumental investment.
In other words, don’t hire your Cousin Freddy who just got his real estate license after he got fired from his tenth job in the last two years. Or anyone else closely or distantly related to you or your daddy’s best friend’s brother’s, nephew twice removed. Unless of course they have a successful track record of selling houses.
Experience makes a difference. Here are some important things to consider before you sign any agreement:
Do you like the agent? You will be spending a lot of time with this person. They might have lots of expertise but irritate you to pieces. Find someone you can spend at least a few hours with and still feel sane.
Is the agent full time? You want someone who has made a career selling homes not someone who wants to make a little extra income.
Where does the agent live? It’s very helpful if the agent lives somewhat near the neighborhood you want to purchase in. An agent in East Ridge isn’t likely to be as knowledgeable about Cleveland as an agent who lives in Cleveland. An agent who grew up here in the 70′s might feel differently about a particular area than someone who moved here in the last 15 years or so.
Wikihow recommends that you pick an agent who can guide through the entire purchase process including lender info that you will need to provide.
In her list of things you never want to hear your realtor say, Elizabeth Weintrob says you never want to hear your realtor say “Let’s not tell your lender about the seller kickback.” Believe it or not if a buyer takes money under the table from a seller, it’s considered mortgage fraud. If an agent asks you to sign an agreement that is not given to the lender, the agent is participating in lender fraud. But don’t worry, there are lots of honest, reputable agents.
Avoid conflict of interest and hire an agent who specializes in being an agent. Do not allow your real estate agent to package yor mortgage or vise versa.
Finding the right agent might take a little more effort than you had originally thought but it will be time well spent. And could add a significant amount to the return on your investment.