Buying a home should be a joyful journey and the buyer’s agent that represents you in the exciting adventure will help determine how happy and successful you are when you arrive at your final destination. Take your time, research your options, and truly understand agency and how it affects every aspect of a real estate transaction. Make a thoughtful, educated decision. Don’t be crazy and look the other way. Ask the tough questions. Find the right Realtor.
1. Do you or your broker take real estate listings or work for sellers? Do you represent buyers and sellers on the same house?
This simple question will determine if your real estate agent is an exclusive buyer’s agent (Member of NAEBA) or a buyer’s agent that works for a traditional real estate company. A buyer’s agent and a broker that also works for sellers can wear many different hats. One day they’re working for sellers, another day they may be a designated buyer’s agent or a dual agent. Depending on the size of the real estate company, homebuyers may be left high and dry at the altar. In the middle of the process, buyers may be asked to sign a new contract agreeing to lose the “undivided loyalty” of their buyer’s agent in order to purchase an in-house listing of their dreams. Exclusive buyer’s agents and their brokers never take listings, so they never have this conflict of interest.
2. Do I need to interview at least three buyer’s agents?
Yes, you’re busy, but this step is so important. After all you’re not buying just another expensive dress or suit. You’re going to have to be spending a lot of time with this real estate agent. You better have a really good gut feeling about them. You can start to trust that feeling only after you have met them in their office, checked out the company and agent website, Facebook page and read numerous testimonials. Also, ask to speak to past clients to get their honest feedback.
3. How much experience do you have as a buyer’s agent?
Here are some of the important qualifications you should look for!!
- They have a pulse on the current real estate market – not just few neighborhoods
- Hard-nosed negotiator (Ask for examples.)
- Ability to honestly evaluate the value of a property
- In multiple bidding wars, advise their buyer on how to prepare the best offer to win
- Conversely, in multiple bidding wars when to advise their buyer that escalating the price of a property is no longer in their best interest.
- Connected with a reputable real estate company
- Full-time Realtor
- Easily accessible and good communication skills
- Who else in the office will you work with
- Are they members of NAEBA?
4. Do I have to sign a contract with you? What is your fee? How do I get out of the contract if I’m not satisfied with your services?
A good buyers agent will not rush you into signing any contract. There should be a guarantee or an ability to get out of the contract if you are not satisfied with the home buying services that you are receiving. You should never be asked to sign a buyer’s brokerage agreement the same day that you are writing a contract on your dream home. I can’t stress it enough that buyers should never sign anything until you have had a chance to thoroughly review the document. Be sure that you completely understand what the fee is, how your buyer’s agent will be compensated and who they represent. Ask to modify the contract if you want to. Any bonus from the seller’s side should go to the buyer, not the buyer’s agent!
5. Do I have to work with an inspector, lender, title attorney or any other service providers that you recommend?
If the answer is “Yes”, or “Real estate transactions are so much easier and smoother if you work with the real estate services companies that are large, traditional, national real estate company owns.” Run for the hills! Buyers should never feel pressured to use in-house service providers. (PS It’s also illegal.) Remember you need unbiased representation throughout the entire process. A good buyer’s agent will be able to recommend a number of qualified, competent and independent professionals.
6. What career did you have in your past life? What sets you apart from other buyer’s agent in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia?
Personally, I love these two! No right or wrong answers here! It’s a joyful journey, so please find the best buyer’s agent for you.
SEARCH CURRENT Homes for SALE in DC, MD, VA