I work at an Internet startup and can recognize people who know how to get s*** done. Mario is one of those people. He knows his work. He is attentive, fast as hell, and he anticipates, recognizes, and solves problems.
Before finding Mario, I was convinced agents are worthless and I could buy a place on my own. I had tried to work with two different agents. The first was incredibly slow (took weeks to arrange showings) and knew nothing about Chicago (lost in Pilsen, had never been to Chinatown). The second tried to sell me condos when I said from the beginning that I was looking for a multiunit. Neither agent knew anything about the loan process or could cogently explain what I should be doing or looking for. Neither helped me find properties I was actually interested in.
Then I met Mario. All those problems vanished. Here is a brief list of things that Mario did:
â€¢ Got showings for places the day they went on the market, so we could put contracts in immediately (many of these places we saw were only on the market for one or two days)
â€¢ Knew how to judge the quality of a house! Sounds simple, but I saw many agents (listing agents and buying agents) inspecting kitchen cabinets when there was water actively trickling from upper corners of the drywall. Mario, on the other hand, checked the age of everything: windows, roof, heaters, etc., and looked at fuse boxes, drywall, etc.
â€¢ Actually looked at MLS postings to see if they were what I wanted, and if they were in a good part of town, before sending them to me, so the MLS postings weren't just infinite spam lists I had to glumly page through. He had listened to me, so he knew what I wanted; and he knew Chicago neighborhoods, so he could help me figure out where.
â€¢ Always available on text, gchat, by phone, email, etc.
â€¢ Knew everything about mortgage/loan processes, from FHA to conventional to rehab loans, and was able to clearly explain things and answer all my questions.
â€¢ Constantly in touch with mortgage officer, listing agent, attorney, etc. to make each step of the process go smoothly for everyone. He was the glue that held everyone together.
â€¢ Never tried to influence my decision-making, even when I was ostensibly being foolish (putting an offer in on a place on a short lot, putting an offer in on a totally decrepit building in order to rehab it, etc.) But he always voiced his concerns and other factors to think about. And he always encouraged me not to give up or settle for a compromise. He felt like a trusted advisor rather than somebody trying to influence or manipulate me.
Even after closing, working with the bank, lawyer, etc., Mario remains the most competent, intelligent, hard-working person I met during the entire home-buying process.