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Finding the Right Agent

posted by Stephen Katz @ 4:15 PM
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Now that you’re ready to start house hunting, you’re probably wondering if you really need a real estate agent or if you can just do all the work yourself. Well, you can look all you want on the internet and go to open houses every weekend but you really don’t know the real estate market like an agent does. Just as you know your job inside and out, a good agent knows the ins and outs of finding a home. Your best bet for finding the right home is finding the right agent.

To clarify, you should know that the agent representing you is called the buyer’s agent and the agent representing the seller is called the selling or listing agent. You’ll be working with your agent during one of the most exciting times in your life, so it’s important to find not only the best agent you can but someone that you connect with and trust. While you can certainly shop for a home and make an offer to a listing agent on your own, understand that the seller’s agent’s loyalty lies with the seller, not with you. The listing agent may be very kind and provide advice as to the condition of the property as well as the sales price, but do you want the seller’s agent giving you advice? No. You want your own agent.

Okay, you’re convinced that you need an agent. But how do you find the best one when all agents claim they’re the best? When you are online you find that not one agent claims, I’m Sam Real Estate and I’m good at what I do and don’t make very many mistakes! Or I really don’t sell that many houses! But most agents will say they provide superior service or are power negotiators that belong to the Million Dollar Club. In other words, it can be a challenge to find an agent that’s right for you simply by finding a website or receiving a postcard in the mail.

Here are the qualities you should look for in an agent:

Experience – The first thing you want to look for is experience. This is not to say that a newly licensed agent wouldn’t do a good job, but because you don’t buy a new home every day, you want someone who knows their job inside and out from years of experience. A real estate agent that has several years of first-hand experience has been there, done that before and understands the industry in a way that no beginner understands it. You want to get the best deal possible so you want someone who will pull out all the stops.

A Full-time Professional – An experienced agent is also a full-time professional. There are many real estate agents who work part-time and can’t truly give real estate their all. A full-time agent focuses on one thing: buying and selling houses. For example, does your father-in-law have his real estate license but works as a full time automobile mechanic? Would you use him as your agent? Don’t even entertain the thought. Not only is he not completely focused on real estate, he’s related to you. Buying a home will not only be a decision with long-term effects, but one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make so keep personal and professional relationships separate, and stick with a full-time professional agent.

Has Good References from People You Know – You’ve searched the internet and found hundreds of so-called perfect agents, but there’s nothing like getting a good referral for a real estate agent from a friend or colleague. Start asking around. You’ll always get an honest answer when someone truly appreciated the job their agent did for them. You also might learn who you don’t want as an agent. Good or bad, get referrals from someone you know and trust. You might even ask your lender because most lenders have experience working with agents on a regular basis.

Responsive to Your Initial Query – Once you have some good referrals, you can call a few agents to let them know you’re on the hunt for an agent to help find you a new home. If you make phone calls to five different agents and two of the agents don’t respond until the day after tomorrow, you have a good indication that they won’t be very responsive agents on your behalf. You want an agent who responds promptly, stays in touch and communicates with you clearly.

Feels Like a Good Fit for You – At this stage, you’ve probably got two or three possible agents that will all do a good job. But now it’s a matter of compatibility. Face it, there are some professionals that you might encounter that are decent enough, but they simply rub you the wrong way. They may not have done anything offensive to you but you just didn’t hit it off. A good buyer’s agent will spend some time with you to understand your needs and your goals. Take some time to visit with more than one agent. You want someone you’re comfortable working with, and who compliments your personality.

Stephen Katz

(770) 309-0939 (direct) or (866) 742-8400 -- For the past 18 years, Stephen Katz has built a successful business almost entirely on referrals. As your mortgage consultant throughout the home loan process, Stephen will explain the pros and cons of all available mortgage programs and help you choose the financing option that is best suited to your needs. Throughout the loan process, he will keep you informed and will respond quickly to your requests with answers and solutions. Consistently a top producer, Stephen is a Mortgage Bankers Association "Diamond" Award winner, a Georgia Mortgage "Top Gun" and has closed almost half a billion dollars in loans. Put his knowledge and experience to work for you!

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