There is no "hard line" with regards to the politics with this question...
Agents prefer loyal clients...
Clients prefer loyal agents...
In this day and age of information overload, there is no way to ensure "monogamy" in this process.
Take it all with a grain of salt.
You may find the right person to meet your needs, you might not.
There are different levels of service that can be offered by many agents and firms.
The most important thing to remember is that the listing agent is working for the owner.
You should ensure dual representation as going into a gun fight with a knife is asking for trouble.
Adam Tekel is an agent in NJ that I have worked with and can vouch for his integrity.
You can look online and search for reviews or ask for a referral/recommendation.
Good luck with your search for a new place to call home!
The one clear mistake to avoid is calling the listing agent of the home you are interested in to gain access. The listing agent represents the seller, not you. If you call the listing agent and he or she shows you the home, you are in danger of facing a dual agency, where an agency attempts to represent both sides of the transaction. You want to avoid this, as no one will be able to advocate for your interests. So the best bet is to interview and select a competent and knowledgable buyers agent and stick with him or her throughout the process.
You can interview several agents or do some basic screening here on Trulia. Click on the photos to view the agents profiles and select someone who you feel can help you in the widest possible area. You can also review posts to see if agents here might be consonant with your needs and sensibilities. Here is the New Jersey leaderboard to get you started:
By all means do whatever suits you needs best. Yes as a rule of thumb we do know some areas better then others. As far as etiquette if the agent is willing to take you out without an exclusive agreement ( I do) then they know what the rules are. They need to find you the perfect home that you are just going to want to stop looking and buy. So happy house hunting and good luck.
Coldwell Banker Triad
An agent can show and sell you any listed property - so within a given area, call the agent that you feel you will work with best. A good place to begin your search is right here on Trulia - combine that with some interviewing and you'll be on your way. Though I don't insist that buyers sign an exclusive agreement with me, I operate as though they have....earning their trust and respect. If I later learn that they are working with several agents - and it is not uncommon, I understand that the loyalty is not there and question the use of my time.
Your home search should be a guided tour, and well thought out process leading ultimately to your dream home....not a free-for-all. When I'm engaged in the former, it is a beautiful and successful process for all. The later - frustrating, disjointed and generally unsuccessful all around.
A home search comes into focus during the journey - if I accompany you on that journey I can be most helpful. The best way to leverage a good agent is to find her and reward her with your loyalty.
Here is a great analogy that drives the point home - imagine if you told 5 bakers to deliver a cake for your wedding and then you would decide which to serve - and pay for. Do you think you would get the best work from those 5 bakers...probably not.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Best of luck to you and please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you!
I posted this question because we're going to be relocating from the West Coast (CA) to the East Coast (NJ). So, I can spend the brief amount of time I have on the East Coast before we move interviewing buyers' agents, or I can spend it actually looking at houses. I guess I should stick to open houses and interviewing agents now. There's no reason for us to rush anyway. Thanks again!
With this said, you should make your agents aware of what you are doing so the chances of overlapping information and duplication of services are minimized.
Good luck with your search,
Your agent should make you feel good about working with them and be able to provide you with the tools necessary to make your decision. We pay for Visual Tours and Camera Equipment for professional pictures of our Naples listings. We have even taken Visual Tours for buyers that wanted to look over a property or specific details from afar or to re consider when they return home. For sellers we provide a Naples MLS Search website- http://www.agent4naples.com. Also our Buyers can set up searches and do research and we provide additional information about costs, fees, restrictions and amenities. No matter what services we provide we will not get paid unless we close and the seller pays the commission.
Throughout this process of helping you, your agent will be paying to be licensed, have an office, provide you with information, provide transportation to private showings, write up home purchase contracts... Your agent is actually interviewing you too when you meet and talk. When you both decide to work together there really should be loyalty and trust. That is the way we do business. We work with people that want the highest level of service and we give them everyhing we can to care for their needs... but bear in mind we will not get paid a cent if we do not help them to close. And when we do help a customer buy or sell a Naples FL home, we need them to be so happy that they will refer their friends, family, neighbors and anyone else that asks about Naples Real Estate.
I wouldn't call it rude - agents do look for some buyer "loyality" and aside from a buyer's agreement, buyers aren't always that loyal and when working with buyers, honestly I would not invest my time nor my gas driving around showing them houses if they were also working with another agent. It's just not fair. I work hard and supply my buyers with instant notification of new listings, price reductions, etc. so therefore there is no need for them to call another agent to find out information on a house. If they go to an open house, they give the hosting agent my card.
With that being said and back to the rest of your post, I advise you to actually speak with a loan officer to pinpoint an actual price range. Remember it's not about what you can afford, it's about what you are comfortable spending each month on your mortgage. There is a difference between the two.
Finally, which agent to you use? Obviously, all agents have their "market" which is where they live or have their office, or where they conduct most of their transactions thus making them most knowledgable about that particular area/town/school, etc. With that being said, pretty much any agent can show you any house on the MLS so even if one is unfamiliar with a particular area, they will learn it in order to serve you better. My honest opinion is that you speak to a loan officer, then choose an agent that you trust and that you are comfortable with and then start looking into different communities and use your agent to see all the houses that interest you. There's no need to use 25 agents to see 25 different houses. Once you start looking if you happen to like an area that your agent doesn't handle, then have them give you a referral to an agent in that area.
Prudential NJ Properties
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