Being a good partner to the agent you pick will make you both happier house hunters.
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:
“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.
Article Courtesy of houselogic by Realtors®
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6/17/2020 06:08:45 pm
Communication is key!
6/17/2020 08:36:54 pm
That is absolutely true!!
2/15/2022 04:21:28 am
6/17/2020 09:46:08 pm
I can't believe people cheat on their agents, how rude! They should just be honest if they find someone else so they're not wasting the agent's valuable time.
10/4/2020 11:01:13 am
Hiring a real estate agent can really help you in finding a new home, you just have to be careful in trusting one.
2/21/2022 02:50:11 am
I completely agree; communication is always the first step toward gaining the client's trust.
5/25/2021 10:47:34 am
Thanks for the tip to meet with agents in person. People might assume that real estate can be done all online. But that human interaction will make the whole process go by more smoothly.
9/29/2021 04:06:29 pm
Agreed! So many people opt to hire their friend or family member instead of looking for the best realtor to fit their needs. Interviewing several is critical
1/21/2022 02:31:49 pm
There are great real estate agents who have been in real estate only a couple years, and others that have been in it a lifetime with dissatisfied customers. However, reviewing their years of experience and comparing that to your unique situation is still important. Thank you for making this such an awesome post!
4/28/2022 04:18:22 am
Amazing tips. Thanks for sharing it.
5/12/2022 08:09:19 am
I completely agree; this is very cool and sound advice. Communication is always the first step toward gaining the client's trust.
5/24/2022 06:46:52 pm
My brother needs to hire a real estate agent to help him buy a house. It makes sense to ask possible agents about how long they have been working. I'll pass this tip along to my brother so he can find a good one.
11/3/2022 11:24:12 am
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It really helped when you said that we should know what we are actually looking for in a house before we even start searching to succeed in the process. It would be better as well if we work with real estate buyer consultants, especially when it will be our first time having a huge purchase like this. We have been waiting for years to have enough funds to do this, so we are looking forward to making the right decisions and getting the right deals for our money.
7/13/2022 02:57:08 am
Admitting what I don't know about the home buying process is definitely the most important step. If I pretend I know what makes a good listing, I might end up buying something I'm not satisfied with and shortchange myself. I'll hire a real estate agent from the area for sure so I can have some assistance with this.
7/22/2022 12:10:05 pm
This is good advice. Agents appreciate building a relationship of trust and communication.
8/10/2022 10:48:45 am
It really helped when you elaborated on meeting your real estate agent in person before hiring one. My fiance and I want to start touring houses for sale next month, so we're looking for a real estate agent to help us out, and your tips will definitely help us find one. Thanks for the insight on interviewing a real estate agent and asking about their past experience first.
8/31/2022 12:40:53 am
Great point about meeting in person. That can make all the difference in the world in determining if it is a good fit.
8/31/2022 12:44:51 am
Many people don't realize all that goes into a real estate transaction unless they have bought or sold a home before. Getting it right with a good agent can make all the difference. In addition to setting clear expectations for communication, as you mentioned here, it's a good idea to also communicate in advance what to do if those expectations are not being met. Additionally, good communication needs to flow both ways from the agent to the client but also from the client to the agent. Great post!
11/30/2022 05:10:55 pm
Great advice! Real estate agents understand the importance of building a relationship of trust and communication.
1/5/2023 06:51:51 pm
I appreciate what you said about neighborhood specialization. My wife and I want to move to the suburbs of Atlanta. We'll have to hire a real estate agent who knows that area really well.
2/6/2023 02:30:24 pm
It makes sense that you should consider your budget. My brother was at my house yesterday afternoon, and he talked about how he and his fiancé need to hire a real estate agent that can help them with finding a home to move into before they get married. I'll pass these tips along to him so he can know how to find a good real estate agent.
2/23/2023 02:48:25 am
It sounds like interviewing a real estate agent before hiring them is essential. It gives me an idea of whether they're a good fit for me and helps ensure that they have the experience needed to help me find the right home. Thanks for sharing this article and providing useful tips. I'll be sure to keep this in mind when I start looking for real estate agent.
3/8/2023 03:48:52 pm
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. Thank you for taking the time to write a great post!
3/10/2023 05:29:27 am
When it comes to cooperating with your real estate agent, the advice in this article is invaluable. The writer stresses the significance of open lines of communication, trusting one another, and treating one another with respect, and she urges the reader to be specific in their goals and expectations. Everyone who is dealing with a real estate agent will benefit from reading this post because of how well written and informative it is.
3/11/2023 12:10:15 pm
The 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. Thank you for the beautiful post!
3/20/2023 11:10:11 am
I appreciate your advice to meet your prospective real estate agent in person before employing them. A face-to-face interview makes sense because they will be in charge of managing your property. I'll be sure to pass this along to my friend, as she's thinking about selling her home and would benefit from working with a real estate agent. I appreciate you sharing!
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