Categories
Apartments Living

How to Hire a Real Estate Agent — and Be Their Best Client Ever

How to Hire a Real Estate Agent — and Be Their Best Client Ever

When you buy a home, your agent is effectively a business partner. You’re both working toward the same goal: Closing a real estate deal. That’s why it’s in your best interest to to know both how to hire a real estate agent and how to build a good relationship with them.

Because the better an ally you are, the better an ally your agent will be. Here’s how to pick a real estate agent and work well with them.

1. Know What You Want

A lot of home buyers dive into the house hunt with no idea what
they want, so the first and best way to be a good client is to know exactly
what you’re looking for in a house.

Ask yourself a couple of basic questions. What’s my budget? What type of house do I want, single family or town home? Is there a design style I must have? A neighborhood I need to be in?  

Knowing these specifics – and telling them to your agent – will help him find homes that match your criteria. Because neither you nor your agent wants to waste time looking at dozens of houses that aren’t even close to what you have in mind.

“Over-communicating your intentions and goals is a really good
idea,” says Ashton Gustafson, an agent with the Bishop Group in Wichita Falls,
Texas. 

Knowing exactly what you want can help you know how to pick a real estate agent, too. Some agents specialize in certain neighborhoods, and some specialize in old houses or particular architectural styles.

2. Meet Agents In Person

It’s fine to start off your relationship with an agent via email, text, and phone, but before you hire him to work with you, set up a meeting. Yep, do a face-to-face interview.

It’s a good idea to interview three agents before picking one. Here
are some questions you should ask:

  • How long have
    they been an agent?
  • What
    neighborhoods do they specialize in?
  • How many
    homes they’ve helped people buy in the last year?
  • How many clients are they’re currently working with?

Meeting in person can help both sides determine compatibility and establish
trust. To the agent, meeting them IRL is a sign you’re serious about buying.

“When I ask a question of a buyer, if I can’t see their face
(then) I can’t see their reaction, and I have no idea if I’m really getting the
emotions that are behind their answers,” says Jackie Leavenworth, an agent and
real estate industry coach in Cleveland, Ohio.

3. Set Up Expectations for Communication

Tell your agent how you’d like to stay in touch during the buying process.  Do you do prefer texts? Facebook messenger? Or do you like old-fashioned phone calls (Telephone calls: Still a thing!)

Tell them how often you expect to hear from them, too. Daily? Weekly?
And tell them the best times of day to reach you, too.

“My successful buyers ask what kind of communication they’ll have
with me,” says Thai Hung Nguyen, an agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real
Estate Premier in Washington, D.C. “My answer to them is always, ‘It’s totally
up to you.’” 

4. Be Respectful

Be mindful of an agent’s time. Don’t flake on showings. Be
prompt.

If you disagree with your agent, respectfully tell them why. 

Resist the urge to freak out if the agent doesn’t immediately respond to a text or phone call. “People hire me because I jump through hoops, but I also need buyers to know that I have a life, too,” says Leavenworth, the Cleveland agent.

5. Get Organized

We told you communicating your wants to your agent was key. Here’s a good way to do it: Write them down. We recommend filling out our first-time buyer’s worksheet.

Give a copy to the agent. He’ll be better able to find homes that match your criteria. 

You should also have your financial records in order. This means getting pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval for a mortgage says you’re serious about buying a house and not just window shopping.

“Anything we do without a loan approval letter is pure
speculation,” says Marki Lemons-Ryhal, an agent and social media strategist for
real estate in Chicago. 

6. Admit What You Don’t Know

Real estate transactions are complicated. Don’t be embarrassed if
you don’t know what all the terms mean, or what to expect from each step of the
process.

If you don’t know what escrow means, ask. If you’re confused about
the terms of an offer, say so. It’s totally normal to ask an agent for a little
hand-holding — that’s what they’re there for. 

Part of knowing how to hire a real estate agent is finding one you trust enough to tell you things you don’t know.

7. Don’t Play The Field With Other Agents

If you’re working with an agent who is hustling for you, don’t dally around with another agent. In real estate, just as in romance, that’s cheating. It can backfire by damaging your relationship with your agent.

If your agent finds out you’ve got other agents showing you houses, he may prioritize other clients. So a big part of knowing how to pick a real estate agent is knowing that you need to stand by your agent once you hire him.

In fact, it’s in both your interest and the agent’s to sign a buyer’s broker agreement for a set period of time. The agreements spell out the rights and duties of both parties, including exclusivity.

Related: Here’s How You’ll Know You Found the Right Agent

Published at Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:47:42 +0000