If you’re looking for a great buyer’s agent, be prepared to do a lot of interviewing. Unless you’re lucky enough to have met someone with whom you ‘click’ right off the bat, finding a good fit for your home search is going to take some deliberate evaluation.
You can find buyer’s agents everywhere – in the phone book, online, at open houses, at home shows and sometimes in hobbies that you share. Finding a buyer’s agent is easy. Finding an awesome buyer’s agent takes some time and effort.
This may well be the most expensive purchase you make in your life. You need to be comfortable with the agent you choose. This requires a face-to-face interview. You are interviewing the agent, but a good agent is also interviewing you. You need to come to a mutual decision to work together. It is not impossible that an agent will refer you to someone they feel has more expertise than they do, or that you decide that you are not comfortable with the agent’s attitude.
You want to know what experience the agent has in the local market. How many years have they been in the business? How many successful purchases have they assisted with in the past year? How about homes they’ve sold? Where in your community do they specialize?
Another issue is communication. A good agent will be clear about how and when they will contact you. You want to know how the agent prefers to communicate and when they will get back to you with answers to your questions. You should also inquire when the best time to contact the agent is; many agents have ‘working hours’ when they are available for a phone call.
Your agent should be interested in your unique housing needs. They should encourage you to discuss the ideal home you want and categorize your wants and needs. Ask what price range they normally sell in; a realtor dealing in $500,000 homes may not be as experienced with the needs of people who can only afford a $200,000 home.
What does the buyer’s agent do for you? Will they find homes for you to look at or will you be doing your own search? Or both? Will they handle things like appraisals, inspections and insurance? Will they be there at the closing?
The best testimonials to a good buyer’s agent are satisfied previous buyers. Ask for three references and call them to talk about the agent. Listen carefully to what the references say and take notes to review at a later time.
Once you have all the information, it’s time to make a decision about what agent you’re going to choose. Confirm that the agent will work with you and start looking for your home. You might want to send a polite note to the other agents that you have gone with a different agent and thanking them for their time; if the agent you choose doesn’t work out, you might be giving one of them a call.