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Finding The Right Agent Or Broker

Right At Home Daily: Finding It: House-Hunting
By Lisa Skolnik for Right at Home Daily

Buying a home is a major milestone and the real estate and mortgage professionals you use will have an integral role in helping you achieve this dream.

Which real estate agent should you choose to work with? Once you announce your intention to buy a home, you'll be courted by every real Finding The Right Agent or Brokerestate professional you know or meet.

But it's critical to find someone who knows the neighborhood in which you're interested and who understands your wants and needs. A broker who's easy to be with will make the time spent house-hunting much more enjoyable.

Here's how to find the right agent for you:

1. Start by asking your friends, family, and colleagues about the details of their experiences with real estate agents. Ask if they had a good experience. Ask about any strengths and weaknesses they thought the agent had.

2. If you're moving to a new community, consider hiring a relocation company that may have a relationship with real estate firms in the area and can refer you to an agent in your new neighborhood.

3. You might also want to scan the local real estate ads, looking for agents whose names come up again and again in various advertisements. Call these agents and interview them over the telephone.

4. You might also want to interview the experts themselves. When you visit an open house, talk to the listing agent or broker and see what they have to say about the neighborhood and other agents who work there. You can also call the managing broker of a local firm and ask to be referred to the agent who does the most business in your neighborhood of choice.

5. Once you've got names, check out each agent's background. Consider the agent's number of years in the business, number of properties listed and sold (especially in recent months) and areas of expertise (ask for a resume, which may list this). Also call the local real estate board to check the agent's history.

6. An agent doesn't work alone. He or she comes as part of a package. Consider the firm and it's reputation. Does it have a lot of agents? Is the staff friendly? Does the office seem organized? Does it use new technology to help you hunt for and finance a home?

7. Don't get thrown if you like the agent with the least amount of experience. While experience counts, a new agent can also be excellent if they have had the right training and support.

8. Discuss contract and fees: Is an exclusivity contract necessary and what are all the fees involved?

9. Make sure the agent is accessible by email and phone, is quick to return calls, and is a good listener. You'll also want someone who can explain concepts and strategies to you in a way you can easily understand.

10. The agent should be familiar with your preferred neighborhood and forthcoming with information. Be sure to ask if you will be working directly with the agent or will you be handed off to another agent or an assistant.

The real estate professional you use to find your home will have a huge impact on the process, so make the right match. To do this, compile candidates systematically and assess their strengths and weaknesses carefully.

Ask friends, family and colleagues for referrals, scan the real estate section of local papers and ask other brokers or agents who they would use and why.

To assess a candidate, check their employment history and sales figures. Consider the size, strength and reputation of each agent's firm. Make sure you discuss all contracts and fees up-front.


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