How exciting you are preparing for a wonderful journey. Here is a task list for you;
1) Ask around from others who have experienced the services of an agent. What they liked and didn't like about that agent. If they recommend the agent, ask why.
2) Visit open houses and get a feel for how those agents work.
3) Call and email agents - how responsive are they
4) Get referrences from any agent you are considering
5) Check out websites and Blogs
6) When you have narrowed down the agent get lender recommendations from your agent. Then meet with the lender and get pre approved for a loan. Ask about all the closing cost and your actual monthly cost, including taxes and insurance.
Below are some questions to ask the agent:
How Long have you been in a licensed agent?
Do you work with Buyers and Sellers? How many per year? How many now?
What other training have you had?
What areas to you work in.
Why should I choose you as an agent? You should expect to hear about experience, service, skills, etc.
They should also ask you a lot of questions and hear what your responses are
Be very honest with the agent, they will be better able to serve you armed with knowledge
You may also ask if they are a designated Accredited Buyers Agent
You and the agent should schedule a meeting to meet and go over the process and what is expected.
The agent should also discuss your lending options and those cost as well, along with inspections, the various contracts, and differences between communities.
Then stick with your agent. They will work hard for you knowing you are loyal and the two of you will build trust and possibly a lasting friendship.
Enjoy the process, home ownership is empowering.
Buyers find their agents a number of ways, according to the California Association of Realtors, 68% of home buyers found the Realtors they wanted to interview on the internet. The next most common way was thur referrals then open houses. Trulia is a new forum and is a good start. If it helps I live in the 95014 area!
I would first talk to a lender to know how much you can afford and how the financing part of the purchase works. Armed with this knowledge then you must decide what your comfort level. I would interview a few agents to get a feel for how they work and what your expectations are. Tell all that you are interviewing that you are interviewing several agents. Go with the agent that you feel most comfortable with and who has at least a few years of experience under their belt. Note: new agents tend to have more enthusiasm but less experience. Experienced agents tend to be less enthusiastic but their experience can be invaluable.
Questions to ask: How do you work? How do I see the homes? will you show them or do I go out on open houses or both? How many years have you been helping buyers in Sunnyvale? Can I talk to a past buyer client? How much time will you take to help explain the process? How many clients are you currently working with? etc.
I would go to the agent's web sites and blogs. A blog is a better source of info on the agent because you can get better detail about them from how they write and what they write about. Good luck.
The first thing you'd want to do is select a Realtor. There are many factors in choosing a Realtor to represent you in a transaction. Here are a few:
1. Knowledge: The Realtor must be knowledgeable about the specific area you're dealing in and (s)he must have a total understanding of the market dynamics in your area.
2. Communication. The Realtor MUST be able to communicated all the details and keep you up to date with all the information at all times.
3. Trust, The Realtor must have integrity and be able to earn your trust.
4. Negotiation skills: This is where a good Realtor will save you a lot of money.
.... These are the top four.
The best source of finding such Realtor is talking to your trusted friends and family. Then you'd interview a few and decide which one you'll feel most comfortable with.
A good Realtor is your guide on a exciting journey and (s)he wont let you make the wrong decision.
There are agents who specialize in representing buyers, such as ABR's (Accredited Buyer Representatives). A true buyer agent will help you explore all options that fit your criteria, including the agent's, firm's and all other properties for sale, including for sale by owners and other off-market opportunities.
In the superior school districts it can be a bidding war situation to be honest. There will be negotiations, just likely to be in the upward direction over the asking price.
You realize the listing agent is contracted to represent the sellers/owners, right?
You realize the listing agent has NO fiduciary duty to an unrepresented buyer. They have a fiducary duty to their clients, the sellers, however.
No buyer can have the seller's agent "negotiate" for them, the buyer. That's a conflict of interest and is a major breach of ethics in every state.
Most people (consumer, customers, clients) do not understan the common law of real estate agency. But to sum it up . . . Buyers are NOT represente in a real estate transaction by the Seller's agent. Period end of story.
Good luck trying to play Realtor and going to drectly to the listing agent because you think you can "negotiate" a deal. HA HA HA
Exclusive Buyer Agency -- 100% Buyer Representation / 100% of the Time
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Great question! There are a number of good ways to meet a great REALTORÂ® â€¦ itâ€™s just like finding a good dentist, accountant, plumber â€¦. and so on.
Here are my favorite ways:
(1) Ask trusted friends or family members. They will more than likely know someone and will give you non-biased answers. If they used a REALTORÂ® and actually remember who it was, thatâ€™s a great sign â€“ it means that the REALTORÂ® did something to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack and has worked hard to stay in touch after the transaction closed. Both are the types of things you are looking for. Quite frankly, most people totally forget who their REALTORÂ® was within 6 months.
(2) Use sites like Trulia.com â€“ read blog posts, answers to questions â€“ you can quickly find someone who looks like they know what they are talking about. If they appear to be interested in answering questions and being an online resource, great. If they are just saying, â€œPick me!!â€, move on.
(3) Use sites like HomeGain.com â€“ they have an agent evaluator program where you can read profiles from a number of REALTORSÂ® - it allows you to look at experience, number of transactions, areas covered, customer feedback and so on. Itâ€™s a great way to find an experienced agent and itâ€™s free. There are a few sites like this out there.
(4) Ask trusted professionals â€“ your accountant, banker, doctor â€“ all usually have relationships with REALTORSÂ® they trust. Youâ€™ll get some good references this way â€“ professionals recognize other pros in other fields by the quality of service they bring to the industry.
(5) Open houses? Quite frankly, I donâ€™t think this is as good a place to locate a good REALTORÂ® as the others above. The reasons are simple: (i) most of the agents holding homes open are rookies and not the listing agent â€“ they are there for one very simple reason â€“ they are not currently out driving buyers around (weekends from 1-4 are prime times to have buyers in your car). They are (ii) there actively looking for new buyers. If I were you, Iâ€™d be looking for more experience â€“ especially in the crazy market we find ourselves. You want a REALTORÂ® that has closed a lot of buyer transactions in recent months â€“ they will have the skills necessary to effectively help you. This is not a normal market â€“ you need a top-notch pro on your side.
A couple more thoughts:
(1) Get preapproved AFTER you find a good REALTORÂ®. In many cases, a good REALTORÂ® can point you to a great lender â€“ one they know and can trust. I prefer working with lenders I know â€“ I can get hold of them on weekends, if necessary, and a trusted relationship built on years of working together make every transaction easier.
The following post may help you see what I mean:
I WISH You Would Use My Lender - 6 Critical Reasons Why You Should
(2) Interview at least three REALTORSÂ® - I wonâ€™t provide a list of questions here â€“ you can find countless lists on Google â€“ interview them and go for the one that seems to have the experience and meshes with you as an individual. Donâ€™t all for hype and promises â€“ remember, you are dealing with sales persons!! Get written testimonials, references â€¦ and a written Buyerâ€™s Philosophy. This means theyâ€™ve taken the time to put down, in writing, how they will serve you. You want to work with someone who has taken the time to think through the buying process and has written down their thoughts and buying process in a way you can easily understand. You want to be able to see, in writing, what you can expect the agent to do for you. Itâ€™s amazing how many REALTORSÂ® donâ€™t have this.
(3) Donâ€™t sign buyer-broker agreements that donâ€™t have an escape clause. If you are not happy with your REALTORÂ®â€™s level of service or you donâ€™t mesh, you need to be able to move on to another. Also, avoid agreements that guarantee the REALTORÂ® a specific commission â€“ this could end up costing you more than you bargained for. I have no patience with REALTORSÂ® who try to lock you into an exclusive arrangement that protects them at your expense.
If you do your homework, youâ€™ll more than likely be VERY happy with the results. Here are a few posts that may be helpful:
Why You DONâ€™T Want A Dedicated Buyerâ€™s Agent
How NOT To Buy A House â€“ 6 Important Rules For First-Time Buyers
Use The Gut, Luke (The Most Important Thing To DO When Buying A Home)
Good luck with your search!
The listing agent's phone number is listed on most of the marketing material, so to speak directly to a listing agent, just go on http://www.REIL.com (the Santa Clara County MLS website), identify homes, and call the listing agent connected with any given home.
Buyers agents often hold open houses to meet new buyers.
If you want to break into Cupertino, you will find it a seller's market at the more affordable price points (under $900K). What this means is you may need an agent who is relatively aggressive and effective. You may need to offer within a few hours of a home being posted for sale on Craigslist or the MLS, before it even shows up on the MLS if possible.
If you want to buy in a good school district right now, for a good price, we are seeing multiple offer scenarios right now. This means your buyer negotiations may not be as broad as in the less desirable school areas. For instance, Sunnyvale 94087 in general feeds to excellent elementaries in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, and Cupertino high school district high schools. So, you will be working hard to get your offer accepted and your terms may need to look like "As Is" vs. lots of negotiations.
Now if you wander a few miles over to 94085 or even 94086 in Sunnyvale, you're going to find an easier path buying but the schools won't be as strong.
There is a pocket of Santa Clara 95051 that feeds to Cupertino schools, and it is one small corridor where sometimes you can get into Cupertino schools for less than $700K. This is the area near Lawrence Expressway and Stevens Creek Blvd. Two such homes are on the market right now.
You can also meet with an agent, let them show you a few homes, and see if you click. You don't have to keep a buyer's agent if you don't feel good about how they are working on your behalf. If a buyer's agent shows you a home and offers for you, that's a contractual obligation to keep that agent. But if you see a few homes and just don't feel your interests are being served appropriately, you may then find a new buyer's agent for you. In Santa Clara County, seller pays agent fees.
Erica M Nelson
Keller Williams Silicon Valley
The BEST way to succeed is to just start looking around and asking around. Only ask those people you respect though... many people have "a cousin in the business"... but you want a Pro.
you could also work backwards which should be forwards... find your mortgage broker first - get prequalified and then see if they can refer you to someone that they know does a great job.
with your questions - just get your own agent because the listing agent is already getting paid a fee that they should be splitting with someone that specifically represents you and your best interests.
If you want to just talk - call me, Nina Daruwalla 408-773823, if what i have to say seems good, we can meet, if not I will wish you all the Best, and walk away. Be well and safe.