Home Buying in Duluth>Question Details

Matt And Tra…, Home Buyer in Duluth, MN

Choosing an agent?

Asked by Matt And Tracie, Duluth, MN Wed Sep 29, 2010

We are looking at purchasing our first house. We are in the process of getting pre-approved and it looks like that will be no problem for the amount we would like to spend. How do we go about finding a good agent to help us through the process? Are there websites available with good and bad ratings? Or what other suggestions do you have. This is our first time doing this, and we are relatively new to town.

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I would look for an experienced agent with a small real estate company. This should help you eliminate the risk of DUAL AGENCY. http://www.BewareTheImpostor.com

As an Exclusive Buyers Agent, one of my services is to help my clients evaluate loan programs to determine what is best for them and to SAVE them money.

Ron Jensrud
100% for Home Buyers - 100% of the Time!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
Interview as many agents from different realty companies as needed--choose the one you like best as you will be spending some time together--don’t be too concerned as to their locations; sometimes a local broker is no more skilled than one outside your area. Ask about scheduling around your needs, who will choose the properties to be seen, can you expect updates on new listings and recently sold properties, and how often will communication occur, etc. Ask about current sales in your areas of interest, negotiating strategies, etc. Choose your agent with care.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Interview 3 agents, and see who you are comfortable with. If someone you know has a referral, make sure that you include that Realtor in your interviews. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Hi Matt and Tracie, Trulia is a good place to begin. Visit the find a Pro section and put in the community/area of interest. From there, visit the agents' websites, read their testimonials, check out their resumes. Ask for referrals as well from friends - if you like your mortgage rep, that is a great source right there, he/she has experience working with agents, ask for his recommendations.

Once you've identified a short list, contact them and interview them. Look for an agent that works the way you do. As an example, here you are on Trulia, I suspect you - like the majority of buyers - like to work online. So would recommend you work with an agent that embraces the internet as well. Think about the qualities in a resource that matter - I'd put full time, commitment, responsiveness, service focus, knowledge, experience, analytic skills at the top of the list. Ask for references - and call them.

A great agent will be so beneficiail to you - hope this is helpful guidance in finding yours!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Matt and Tracie,

Congratulations on being ready to make your first home purchase. First let me say that you are correct in beginning with the financial piece. Once this is accomplished you will have a better understanding of your price range and the general locations you may be able to target.

In terms of identifying an agent, we often recommend that porential buyers visit open houses not for the purpose of identifying a home but finding an agent.

The open house environment will give you the opportunity to see how the agent operates and interacts with people. A few general well thought out questions may help break the ice. You want to know if this is someone you could work with and if they really know the local RE market well enough to support your interest.

This is a most exciting time and one that can be very rewarding with the selection of the right agent.....our best advice, is to take your time making your choice....you'lll know when you have the right person.

Best wishes,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010

I used to live in the Duluth area, and although I'm not going to point you to a specific agent, I can tell you what to look for. Duluth is a beautiful area, and congratulations on your choice! Realtors in Duluth will claim they can show you the entire city, and sell you a home anywhere. While this is true, the level of knowledge varies quite a bit with the Realtors there, and in Duluth this can mean a big difference in where you end up.

Do not go by online rating systems. Example: I haven't connected my profile to any of our team's listings on Trulia and yet if you search Pros in Colorado Springs I show up #2 out of hundreds of agents. Why? Because I blog and answer questions.

There are a couple of things you can do to verify your agent's experience and knowlege. First, MN has the license lookup tool online so you can see how long they have been licensed. Second, if a Realtor claims to be a specialist in the area, name off a few addresses and ask what the prices are in addition to how long they have been on the market. If they are truely specialists, they will know this in Duluth because it is easy. You might hear, well let me look that up. That means they don't know.

A few people I went to school with (Hibbing) live in Duluth and used realtors who "specialized" in an area and now they are in a crime ridden community never to see the Realtor in the area again. I myself am a realtor, and knowing what I do of Duluth I wouldn't have the guts to sell homes in some areas because I know what people would be getting into.

Good luck in your search. The experienced and knowing Realtor is the safe one. Go Bulldogs!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Boy. If you are checklist and scorecard people, then, sure, maybe a rating service would help.

Myself, I would ask the loan rep for a handful of referrals, and I'd interview them. I'd have a short list of questions - are you a full-time agent, how well do you know the area, how many buyers like me have you helped, what kind of clients are you working with now, how well do you like the company you're working for. You may have other questions.

The thing is, the agent-client relationship is like most other relationships; the way it works best depends on the people involved.

Some things are not scorable. I've worked with agents who are disorganized, sloppy with their paperwork, total space cadets - but they advise their clients well and negotiate well on their behalf. And I've worked with very "professional" agents who you could push around with a gentle breeze.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Great first step, get pre-approved. You are now armed with the knowledge of what your purchasing power is. Next step is to find a good agent for you to work with. If you have any family, friends or co-workers that you can ask for a referral, that would be a good place to start. I would also recommend visiting some open houses to meet a few local agent to see if you click with any of them. You can then pick your favorite two/three and interview them to see if they would be a good fit for you. I wouldn't trust any Realtor ratings sites--- there aren't any big ones that would be conclusive enough anyway. You can also go through Trulia to get an agent referral from someone or search agent profiles in your area of choice.

Hope this is helpful. Best of luck in your homebuying search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Recommendations from friends and family are always helpful. Sometimes Realtors will hold periodic buyer seminars too. Feel free to interview a few Realtors to understand how they can help meet your ownership objectives, their experience, their knowledge of the area and the like. It works best as a team effort and you'll be spending a fair amount of time with your Realtor, so find someone whose personality and communication/service style fit well with yours. They are going to help you navigate the buying process, so make sure they are detail oriented and easy to reach too. Good luck with your search!
Web Reference: http://www.Realtor-Amy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Well, you're off to a good start by knowing that you need to get pre-approved! Needless to say, friends may have had agents that they think were great to work with, but that doesn't mean that they will be a fit with the ways you do things. So the best thing is to have several different agents in your area show you a few homes or go to some open houses and see who you relate to. I would be up front with agents if you have asked them to show you houses, that you are meeting agents to see who you would like to work with. This is their chance to shine and let you know how they work and what they think the benefit of you working with them is. A good agent should be steering you in the direction of ways to get to know their town and be willing to take you on extensive tours to understand their options for homebuying in this community! Best,
Terry Bell, Realtor,CPS RE, Santa Rosa, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Matt & Tracie,
Referrals from others who had positive experiences with their agents is always a good source, but don't stop there. I encourage people to interview agents, ask for documentation of whatever claims they make. Discuss how they like to work with clients and find an agent who you believe will be looking out for your best interests, do a great job of negotiating on your behalf and that you both trust.
There are good agents and like all fields, not so good. Don't settle for less than the best you can find. You are spending a lot of money and years of your life in wherever you choose to buy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
There are some websites out there where clients can rate their agent, however there is no one source. You can look through agents that are part of Trulia which would give you the opportunity to read through their answers and help you get a feel for each agent. You can also ask friends or family on who they used and if they were happy with their experience. Keep in mind no two agents are the same.
Web Reference: http://www.lennyfrolov.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
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