With so many real estate agents eager to help first time home-buyers, it’s hard to know which one to choose. And after you have chosen the right real estate agent, many first time buyers are left with questions — such as how does it work? The simple answer is to just talk to them. But when someone has never purchased a home before, how do they know what to ask or what answers to look for? Rather than just randomly picking an REALTOR® off the internet and blindly doing whatever they say, get familiar with the process first.
Find Real Estate Agents with Experience in the Right Areas
Like most other professions, try working with real estate agents that specialize in neighbourhoods of interest is your best option. Some professionals have taken additional courses to learn more about a particular market. Other agents have joined organizations such as the Canada Real Estate Association (CREA). This means they have become a REALTOR® and follow a set of standards.
A real estate agent’s specialty can sometimes be identified by their marketing or the letters that appear after their name. ABR, for example, stands for Accredited Buyer Representative, while SRS is the designation for a Seller Representative Specialist. GREEN real estate agents specialize in green homes, GAA is a General Accredited Appraiser, and Seniors Real Estate Specialist REALTORS® can be identified by SRES after their name.
Ask about Past Performance
Recommendations from previous clients can reveal a lot about a real estate agent. How long it took to find or sell homes and what the agent was like to work with can reveal a lot about that professional. Awards earned, years of experience in the area and knowledge in the location of interest can give buyers a huge advantage. The more an agent knows about the real estate market in a specific area, the better able he or she will be to find the right property and help secure it for the right price. It can also be helpful to check with the state for any disciplinary actions.
Tips for Working with Real Estate Agents when Buying a House
While it’s important to interview more than one real estate agent and narrow it down to just one as you can never work with more than one REALTOR® at any given time.
It may be tempting to simply work with the agent who has listed a property that’s of interest. But remember that these agents were hired by the seller, and they work for the seller. For the best results, choose an agent not associated with the listing to avoid conflicts of interest.
After choosing a real estate agent when buying a house, be clear about what is expected of him or her. What is the deadline for purchasing a home? When and what times work best for viewings or conversations? The better able buyers are to communicate their needs, the easier the buying process will be.
Work with the agent and be respectful. Sign a buyer’s agent agreement and agency disclosure to formalize the relationship. Then, show up for appointments and ask how the agent would like to work open houses, schedule appointments, and find homes for sale on the market for you. Home buyers should feel comfortable asking questions and be open to advise.
While it’s not necessary to hire a real estate agent when buying a house, having a knowledgeable and experienced expert can be a huge help. However, it means buyers need to choose carefully. They also need to be clear about what their needs are and not be afraid to ask questions. After all, REALTORS® are there to help.