Home Buying in 55082>Question Details

Mary Jo Kipp…, Home Buyer in Saint Paul, MN

How to find a good agent?

Asked by Mary Jo Kippes, Saint Paul, MN Fri Jun 8, 2012

I am looking for an experienced agent to find an investment property or small home in the Stillwater, MN area. What should I look for in a good agent?

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Mary Jo,

There is no magic pill here.

Some agents will tell you that experience is everything - likely because they have a lot of it. Some will tell you that you have to work with an agent who only sells in the neighborhood where you are buying or selling - likely because that is where they work. There are also agents that will recommend working with only one specific type of agent - typically because they are that agent.

In the end, the best advice you will get is to interview a number of agents and pick the one that you are most comfortable with. You don't have to meet with all of them (phone typically works) but talk to a couple and come up with some questions that you can ask each. Pick the things that are important to you and ask an agent about it. Lean more toward open ended "what do you think about..." type questions rather than "how many..." type questions. You will get a better feel for how the agent thinks.

You might even read through the advice given by some agents on Trulia to see if you think like they do.

Good Luck.

Cameron Piper
licensed MN Broker
Coldwell Banker Burnet
Web Reference: http://www.CamPiper.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
Finding a good agent its very important, however, equally important is to understand that Minnesota has 2 types of Buyer Agents.

1) Exclusive Buyers Agent works for home buyers 100% of the time.

2) Non-Exclusive Buyers Agent can only be in your corner on homes that are NOT listed by their brokerage.

So you should decide first what is most important to you: an agent that will be able to protect you on any home you want to purchase or one that will only be in your corner some of time.

Let me know if you have any additional questions and Happy House Hunting!

Ron Jensrud
Exclusive Buyers Agent
100% for Home Buyers - 100% of the Time!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
Hello Mary Jo and all Home Buyers! Please click on this link for some valuable information for HOME BUYING.

In addition, here are 8 important questions to ask your agent.

Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective. Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:
How many years have you been a full time real estate agent?
Why should I work with you?
What do you do better than other real estate agents?
What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?

Please do contact us if you need top notch representation as a Buyer! Elisa@BAGLIO-EESLEY.com 612-963-5459
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 25, 2013
Hi Mary Jo,
You are shopping for an agent and you are very smart in asking how to pick one. My recommendation is call several brokerages, talk to the broker, and ask him/her for their top agent who specializes in what you are looking for. In your case, their may be two agents, i.e. one for residential and one for investment. Interview several agents. Some of the questions you should ask are: how many deals like mine have you closed in the past year? what can I expect from you in ongoing communication? Do you Mr Agent own investment property (do you want investment advice from a Realtor who is not an investor?), and ask for references then check the references. You should feel comfortable with the agent you are going to work with.

We have two agents in our offices who specialize in investment property and have been investors for many years. Good luck with your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
What you just said Ron makes no sense. Dual Agency is something different than Exclusive Buyer Rep Agreements versus Non-Exclusive rep agreements, and for example in this buyers case a Non-Exclusive Rep agreement would actually be prudent.

For investors you want to get the best investment property, and to depend on one agent only to find the best deal in town is ludicrous. Ideally you sign a Non-Exclusive Rep Agreement with multiple agents and let them earn their commission.

And just once again you can have a Exclusive Rep agreement that allows Dual agency or No dual agency. However I would try wording what you said a little differently Ron, because I do Non- Exclusive Rep agreements with my investors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
You want my honest opinion? Here it is...

I hear Realtors always talk about "experience" like the number of years in the business means something. When I first came into real estate in 2010 I did not know all about the shady business practices that happened during the housing boom or really anything at all. I was as green as they come.

It just so happened that the broker I started my career with specialized in "short sales". He built his whole business model around this transaction. At the time I thought nothing of it, because " you don't know what you don't know" as the saying goes. However, my broker always said, "Chris you can be the best realtor you want to be because you have no pre-conceived notions on how real estate should be, and I don't have to re-teach you how to do real estate."

Well, then I actually started doing short sales and completing some. I would run into other realtors that had been in the business 20 years that had zero clue on what a short sale is! The reason? They had never done one before. Didn't care to know either, because I have realized that the majority of realtors only like doing traditional real estate.

I could talk about the same thing with how I became a buyer specialist, but at 27 years old and most of my friends buying homes (and qualifying for Down Payment assistance) it just came naturally to me, and honestly I just love working with buyers.

For investment properties that was something I also was very interested in, so I found a full time investor and just started learning from him. A year later I know more about flipping homes than a lot of Realtors.

So for me personally I don't put much stock into years of experience or how many designations a person has. That does not necessarily make you a good realtor or even a right fit for a buyer like you Mary. I don't pretend to know everything about real estate, but I promise you this: what I don't know I will find out, and that has served me very well in my business. I may be a little biased because I am making a case for myself, but none of my clients have ever cared how many transactions I have done, sales volume, or years of experience.

What my clients care about is that I know my stuff. They want to know that I will give them a very high level of service, and can answer any and all of their questions whether it is a buyer, seller, short sales, or investment properties. My clients also want someone that communicates with them, follows up, and does what I say I will do and not flake out on them. Honesty and truthfully always, and by the end my clients always know I had their best interests at heart from the beginning.

And lastly having a good fun experience. Seems trivial, but we like working with people and personalities that matches ours. Real estate IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN BY GOLLY! I am working with another close friend for an investment property in the North Metro and we spend a lot of time together. If you are mainly going to find one of the MLS there will be a whole lot of offers and showings unless you get lucky. Right now I see a lot of idiots overbidding on properties and willing to practically make nothing just because they are either ignorant (which is no excuse) or desperate (never smart idea for investing).

Stillwater is just a little too far East for my business, so Ryan does make a good point that Realtors can not be great at everything. I work my areas and that is it, but I can always refer you to a Realtor if that is something you would be interested in.

However, I don't even know if Stillwater is a good investment market depending on what you are going to do. Owning a rental does not necessarily make you a good investor, but it sure helps! I just know a lot of realtors who own rentals, and then when I talk Cap Rates with them I get a deer in headlights not good!

So what I would say is that if you are seeking an investment property hopefully you are educated in this, and therefore can interview a Realtor correctly. If you don't then #1 I would not reccomend getting a investment property, OR I would seek out other investors who can give you a referral. Linkedin by the way is a good place to find them.

If you do know something about investing then it is just a matter of finding a Realtor who specializes in this area. I work with investors who flip homes but not the rental market, so if you are looking for a rental I would not be a good candidate.

As for how you define " a good agent" list your goals and how you like to have business relationships with people, and then go find that agent. We all define things in our own ways.

Good Luck Mary Jo Kippes!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
Mary Jo,

To find a good agent you will need to ask them some questions. Find out where they do business, how long they have been in business, how many transactions they do yearly, how they communicate, and what is there knowledge of rentals.

Just to let you know I work in Stillwater, live in Oakdale, and have a background in Construction. I have a rental myself and have done everything from applications to evictions. I'd be happy to speak with you and see if there is something I can do to help or point you in the direction of the best. Thanks!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 8, 2012
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