CHOOSING AN AGENT
Important things to know before choosing a real estate agent
A real estate agent can make or break a deal, mainly if the buyer does not have experience with the real estate market.
According to a new report by the National Association of Realtors, “90 percent of adults 34 years old and younger who bought a home in the 12-month period ending June 2014 used an agent.”
Buyers want someone that they can trust and can give them quality options instead of searching for on-line fake ads and photoshopped pictures of properties that are misleading and a waste of time.
Most buyers prefer to use referrals from family and friends to find a good agent, but before you choose the right professional, here are some questions that you should ask.
Who are you representing?
Find a realtor who will work for your best interest. Many states authorize the use of dual agency, meaning that an agent can represent both a buyer and a seller in the same transaction. By working with the buyer and the seller the agent can only give limited advice in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
Exclusive buyer agents represent only homebuyers, therefore the chance of a conflict of interest is very little. A Real Estate broker that both list homes and represent buyers can also create disagreements throughout the deal by favoring either the buyer or the seller.
You can find exclusive buyer agents at the National Association of Realtors or just make sure that your agent has a good reputation and does not represent both sides of the same deal.
When should I sign an agreement?
After choosing your agent, he will prepare a buyer agreement, meaning that you will work exclusively with them for a specific period of time, most commonly 90 days. But some states even allow a contract that lasts 24 hours, Virginia is one of them. That gives you more flexibility to change the agent if he is not performing well.
States have different rules when it comes to singing a buyer agreement. Some of them do not need to be singed until the buyer is ready to make an offer. Other states require the signed agreement even before the showing of any property.
It is best to know your agent better, ask for referrals and check what approaches he uses before signing a contract. Try to spend one or two days talking about deals and see a couple of properties without a formal contract.
What type of services do you offer?
It is crucial that your agent has experience and works on you best interest. Check if he offers any on-line tools, what companies does he work with, what approaches he uses to submit an offer on a property, and who are the members of his team. It is important that there is a mutual agreement and that the terms of the contract is clear and understood. Also, ask how often your agent will be communicating with you and by what means (email, text or phone).
Ask how the agent will be paid.
Most of the time, it is the seller who pays for the agent commission. There might be some extra fees that it is of the responsibility of the buyer, but they are all negotiable. Make sure you understand how the agent will be paid so there are no surprises at the closing date. Have the agent explain the agreement and point out any extra cost that might come from out of your pocket.