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Question of the Day: What makes a great buyer's agent

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Thu Mar 8, 2012

How does a home buyer identify a great agent? What are some key things he/she does?

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An ideal agent is one who’s organized, pays attention to details, and understands the buyer’s neighborhood, market values and other details. The agent must demonstrate their track record and provide references. It is best to look for someone locally. By knowing the price, location, style of home, and age, a good agent will know if a home is valued higher or lower than the market value. The agent must take complete ownership of the buyer’s needs and preferences and find properties that meet their client’s requirements which could include location, price, size, features and other criteria such as schooling, amenities, property taxes, etc.

The buyer’s agent must be able to respond promptly to their client requests, which in today’s terms means being connected via various media such as mobile phone, email, text/IM messages, and tweets, and respond instantly in real time or within a few hours of being contacted by the client.

The buyer's agent must point the client in the right direct regarding getting prequalified. The agent must also know loan officers with a reputation to do things on time and keep the buyer informed during each step of the process. The agent must assist the buyer in the decision making process by preparing a market analysis report prior to making an offer.

The agent must provide the buyer a list of home inspectors that they have worked with in the past. The agent must be present during the home inspection along with the buyer and explain the inspector’s report in detail. The agent must also make sure that any required repairs are done satisfactorily

Throughout the process a great buyer's agent is in constant contact with the buyer, lender, and the title company. The agent must keep track of the paperwork trail and closely follow every step of the process to ensure that the closing takes place as scheduled. It is important that the agent perform the final walk-through with the buyer.

Potential buyers could use these points as a checklist while interviewing buyer’s agents
Web Reference: http://www.activerain.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
There are several great buyer agents in our area. Unfortunately, the public/real estate buyers may not realize that. So they are buying one of the biggest investments in their lifetime without a real estate pro on their side to protect their financial interests. However, it is the buyers responsibility to find them out. This may give you a certain idea on how a buyer’s agent work to produce a desired result in your real estate purchase.
Don’t look for houses or visit a builder’s community without talking first with a realtor to represent you. This is a time and resource consuming proposition for you. Also, be aware, that the Agent listed in the ad of the house you like to see represent the sellers. The Rep in the builder’s community represent the builder. Meaning: They are on the opposite side of the table protecting the interest of their principals. Not you! The sellers agent and their principal’s objective is to get more money for their house; the buyers’ agent and the buyers’ objective is to get less money and better terms in their purchase of their house. That is why it is critical that you have your own realtor to protect you financial interest in the purchase of your real estate. And there is no cost to you!!! The builder and/or sellers pay the buyers’ realtor services which this is disclosed in the property profile in the MLS sheet of each property in the market.
The realtor you would select must first be willing to offer you at least an hour or so of free consultation in her office for you to ask all questions pertaining real estate transactions. This meeting will give you an opportunity to know the agent and for the agent to uncover your housing needs and housing criteria. She will have a Buyer Information Package (in a binder) and will explain the home buying process to get you more knowledgeable and educated of the process. An educated buyer makes better decision and is less stressed out in a sometimes overwhelming real estate processes. You will get this package of information and other useful materials to make you aware of the tax benefits, financing alternatives and investment aspects of home ownership among other things when you have an agreement that she will represent you. Once an agency agreement is signed a fiduciary relationship is created in the yes of the law between you and the agent. Meaning, now the agent will not only do her functionary work (like showing you listings and driving you around the neighborhood, etc.) but is now obligated to protect your interests in the real estate transaction. . A very important function of the realtor but often overlooked by buyers! Then, your realtor can connect you to a loan officer to get you preapproved for financing. This is to determine your buying power and for you to know what what price range of house you should be looking for!! Once you got the pre approval letter, you are ready to move forward in the search of houses and to view these with your realtor. Buying real estate is very much a cooperative effort between the buyers and their realtor. If you do your part, you should be homeward bound anytime soon!! Great decision now that the mortgage interest is in an all time low!!! Good luck!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
What a terrific question!! As a buyers agent I believe it’s my job to listen.

Many of the people I talk with have moving here to the Triangle on their ‘wish list’. Some folks have never been here before. So as their buyers agent, the work begins with acclimating them to all of the wonderful areas Wake County has to offer.

It’s by listening to their needs - not just about what their ‘dream’ home looks like, but also about their lifestyle that is so important as a buyers agent. Being able to introduce them to areas that would fit all of their needs, or those of their family. So much more goes into buying a house and making it a home...

Once the area is decided on it’s house hunting time. With the internet it’s never been easier to send info on the homes that match their needs in their favorite area; doing so enables a good buyers agent to fine tune that list so that when they are ready to buy they can hit the road running.

As a buyers agent it’s experience that comes to the limelight. From guiding clients to preparing their best possible offer, negotiating on their behalf, to handling all the fine details needed for a smooth on time closing.

Communication is key ~ because with a good buyers agent you’ll feel like you’re joined at the hip!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
I believe that a Great buyers agent presents a story about each home of true interest. The buyer needs to understand the story and this story presents an assesment or resume of this home. A Great buyer's agent does not make decisions for the buyer but provides options and information that creates a decision making opportunity for the buyer.

Great agents listen, show and tell. It's elementary!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 17, 2012
A great buyer's agent is one who is registered with the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (as an ABR or Accredited Buyer Agent) because we have received specialized training in Buyer needs, buyer preferences and buyer demographics. Most ABR's take great joy in teaching out of town customers the lay of the land and showing off our many parks, attractions and delectable cuisine. When a buyer comes into town, I am sure to make it an "experience" for them. But there are many great ABR's out there! We listen patiently, drive carefully and show often, until the house is the right fit for you! ABR's generally have a full roster of buyer resources at the ready or in my case on our website including inspectors, lenders, attorneys, handymen, energy auditors, remodelers, or literally anything you may need. Buyer agents are your tour guide - we also provide maps, entertainment resources, and hotel advice. To a Buyer's Agent, you are a relationship, not a transaction. And, to the Buyer, the agent would hope to be Your resource for anything you need for a long time to come. Let me know how I can help!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 9, 2012
An agent who is a good listener, a good communicator, has a good negotiation skill, being ethical and honest.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
That is a Great Question. Think of it as you are hiring the buyers Agent, they work for you during this process. A lot of identifing a good Agent is driven by your (the employer) needs. Not all good agents are necessarily a good fit for all clients, if that makes sense. We are all obligated to act in your best interest, disclose any and all information we find out about the property etc. I think a lot of it is what feels good to you in the sense of relationship wise. I always establish availability, mode of communication, frequency of communication during our initial contact. Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
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