Buying a home will be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Choosing the right buyer’s agent is a big deal, as they will be your go-to person for all questions, concerns, and advice throughout the process.
Naturally, you’ll want to go with an exclusive buyer’s agent, an agent that only ever works with buyers. But with so many real estate agents to choose from, how do you know who to hire?
You can start off by getting referrals from friends and family in your target area. After that, check the classifieds of local newspapers and do some digging online. Once you’ve gathered a few names to make your short list, it’s time to makes some calls, set up some meetings, and find out which one is right for you. There will be a lot of questions to ask in every interview, but here are eight key discussion items.
How long have you been selling real estate?
Real estate is a commission-based business, so it’s unlikely you’ll see anyone last a long time if their service has been awful.
Experienced agents are also less likely to allow any bumps in the road to derail the deal. That said, don’t totally dismiss agents just because they have less experience. If they came well recommended and tick off every other box, they are still worth considering.
What is your experience in the neighborhoods I’m interested in?
You’ve probably already considered what neighborhoods and communities you’re interested in. A good agent will know these areas well and be able to tell you such things as changing trends, the quality of nearby schools, what building types are on offer, and where you can find local services.
An even better agent will ask you questions about your lifestyle and future plans, so they can recommend other neighborhoods you might not have considered.
Tell me about your negotiation style?
Negotiation is a huge part of real estate. But you don’t just need your agent to be good at negotiation, but you will want their style to match yours.
Do you want someone who’s more aggressive or easygoing? You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person, so it’s important that you both have a similar attitude regarding negotiations.
What makes you different from other real estate agents?
You’ll want someone that you can like and trust. How they answer this question can tell you a lot about their personality.
Some agents will do nothing but rattle on about the number of homes they’ve helped people buy. That speaks of experience, but it doesn’t tell you what sets them apart from other agents.
What you’re looking for here is a sense of their personality, not their sales figures. You need to like your agent; if you don’t, chances are, a future seller may not either.
What kinds of partnerships do you have with home service professionals?
The home buying process will involve a number of industry professionals.
You’ll need a lender if you require financing. Depending on your state, you may need a real estate attorney. Then there’s the home inspector, handyman, electrician, and many more that you may need the service of.
Good agents will have a contact list of people they can recommend to you so you’re never short of expertise. But be wary of any agent that tries to push a certain contact on you. Their list of recommended contacts should be just that, recommendations. There should be no obligation for you to use those they suggest.
Do you have contact information from previous clients?
No one can provide better information on an agent’s customer service than previous customers. Ask for the contact information of at least three previous clients and follow up with them to hear what they have to say.
Do you have the expertise to handle my specific situation?
Choose an agent that has handled a situation similar to yours before. Different reasons for buying present different scenarios.
Are you making a long-term investment, flipping a house, or a first-time buyer? Research your specific situation before the interview so you can ask detailed questions to gauge their knowledge.
Do you have any questions for me?
Save this one for last. This will be a very close working relationship. As such, you need to be sure the agent understands your needs and what you’re aiming for.
It doesn’t take a genius to ask about the number of bathrooms you want in a home or your budget. What you really want to hear from them is questions that show they’re taking the time to understand your motives and goals. This will show that they aim to provide a client-centered service, for which there is no substitute.
When you’re ready to start looking for your perfect real estate agent, review the list of certified NAEBA exclusive buyer agents in your area.