This blog post continues a three-part series designed to answer common questions and concerns from first-time home buyers.
First Time Home Buyer Series
Part Two: Finding a Real Estate Agent
Many of us have said those words after going on a (usually reluctantly agreed upon) blind date. While there are certainly tales of blind dates with happy endings, those stories are few in comparison to the number of horror stories you will hear about when you bring up this subject. Clearly, establishing a relationship with someone we’ve never met before is a tricky task. Even when our interests are professional and not personal, we can sometimes find ourselves in situations that make us think, “Never again!”
The process of choosing a real estate agent need not be so painful. How can you make sure that you get connected with a real estate agent that is a good fit for you?
Look Before You Leap
Many people, antsy to get the ball rolling on a home purchase, will contact the first real estate agent they see advertised in the paper or on a bus stop bench. But if at all possible, take the time to find out a little more about an agent before you pick up the phone. Visit their website, read their profile, seek out reviews from their satisfied customers. When a friend recommends a real estate agent, ask them questions about why they enjoyed working with the agent. Were they prompt, reliable, readily available to answer questions, honest, friendly? What’s important to one person may not be important to another. While there are some people that may like an agent that has a more “taking care of business” demeanor, most of us want to work with someone that is relaxed, friendly and has a real personal interest in us. Whatever qualities are important to you, seek out an agent that is the right fit.
Trust Your Instincts
Regardless of how well you do your homework, you may find that once you meet a real estate agent in person you feel unsettled. Does the agent make you feel genuinely listened to? Are they willing to answer all of your questions, even in great detail at times? If you get the impression that your potential agent is annoyed by your questions or in a rush to move on, your impression is probably accurate. Shopping for and purchasing a home will involve a lot of communication with your agent. Do you really want to go through that process with someone who leaves you feeling cold? Trust your instincts – if an agent doesn’t seem right for you, move on in your search.
Even the best real estate agents do not come equipped with the ability to read your mind! If you have questions, concerns or problems at any point in the home buying process, don’t hesitate to communicate your thoughts to your agent. If you are a first-time home buyer, one of the greatest comforts of working with a real estate agent is having an expert on your side to guide you through uncharted territory. So don’t hold back; take advantage of your agent’s expertise!
Choosing the right agent does take some effort, but the result will be a real estate story with a happy ending!
Next week we’ll tackle the last subject in our First-Time Home Buyer series: Shopping for a Home.