I would advise you meet with at least three RealtorsÂ®; however, you should keep interviewing until you are satisfied you have found the right RealtorÂ®; there's no reason to rush your decision.
Access each Realtor'sÂ® Trulia profile for those that interest you [ i.e. http://www.trulia.com/profile/SteveO ] and read a few Client testimonials; and don't be shy about asking for contact info of prior Clients!
Aside from the above, here are my â€œTop 4â€ bits of advice for new home buyers looking to assure a successful outcome:
1) Find a professional RealtorÂ® to work with to protect you interests.
Simply put, your RealtorÂ® will be able to answer initial key questions and guide you through the process. One of the key advantages of involving your RealtorÂ® is access to seasoned Mortgage Broker/Bankers with a track record of getting the job done. You can check to make sure an Agent is a RealtorÂ® by going here: http://www.realtor.org/rofindrealtor.nsf/pages/FS_FREALTOR?O
The primary distinction of any RealtorÂ® is they have a real estate license by taking required classes and passing a written test - but most importantly - they must also subscribe to the Code of Ethics published by the National Association of RealtorsÂ® (NAR). Typically, RealtorsÂ® are also members of state and local association of RealtorsÂ® and further agree to abide by the bylaws, rules and regulations of those associations.
The full Code of Ethics can be found at http://www.Realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code
2) Obtain a "True Pre-Approval" (your most important step in my opinion).
You MAY need to improve your credit score, increase cash reserves, etc. before buying; however, at least you will have a roadmap to eventually purchasing if this is the case. Furthermore, this step can save you from wasting money on a purchase that does not close escrow!
"Retail Banks vs. Mortgage Broker/Bankers"
3) Make sure you obtain access to your local AND regional RealtorÂ® MLS data via an automated search your RealtorÂ® should most certainly create for you; here's why:
MLS Data Accuracy â€“ Where to search if youâ€™re â€œwithout RealtorÂ®â€
4) Avoid Dual Agency!
There are specific duties an Agent must provide. When one individual represents both Buyer and Seller conflict between two of the most important duties occur.
â€œDual Agency: Why should I NOT use the listing Agent to buy a house?â€
Best Regards, Steve
I would suggest that you talk to some realtors on the phone and see how comfortable you are with them and their answers. I've had clients telling me that I'm very knowledgeable, upfront, and honest, and I always communicate with them. I even had a client who had been "shopping" around for a realtor telling me that he feels comfortable talking to me. The bottom line is that it is a people and service business and you'll need someone who is knowledgeable and understand that service is a priority.
Best of luck,
Susie Kay, RealtorÂ®
GRI, CHMS, SFR
United Real Estate
III Lincoln Centre, 5430 LBJ Freeway #280
Dallas, TX 78240
Servicing your real estate need is my priority!
Jason K. Zaitz
NRBAÂ®, CDPEÂ®, NARÂ®
Direct - (925) 242-8971
Fax - (925) 807-5190
Some people trust reputation. They will use the agent whose name is plastered all over town in print. Large exposure usually means lots of closed sales, but not always. Sometimes it means they have money and that in itself may be something that people put trust in.
Some people trust information. Agents are full of information, some useful some just garbage. If something an agent says runs contrary to what you know or expect. That is typically not the person for you. There are too many sources of information for those types to be talked through or sold.
Some people trust competence. Referrals are a good source for this type of buyer. Looking trough blogs and here on the Q&A is also a good place to find a competent agent. Calling the board of realtors or the BBB is another way to find an insight on an agents competency.
Internet reviews are a proverbial double edged sword. There are two sides to every story, people make mistakes (agents and consumers alike), each transaction is unique and consumer expectations vary. People don't usually complain about big things they sue in California for that so keep those web references in perspective.
Make sure theyâ€™ve sold a lot of homes in the current market â€“ itâ€™s a zoo out there right now and itâ€™s no place for a rookie or a part-timer. You want someone who has demonstrated that they can actual get homes in escrow given the current crazy market environment.
Here is a post that will give you a very good idea of what you will be up against:
Tough Year Ahead: Top 10 Issues Facing Bay Area Buyers
What you need to do is write a list of your expectations and then go and interview a few agents. You soon will find out who you are most comfortable with. It is a big decision you are making so you need to feel that your realtor is 110% committed to you and your needs.
You do however need to find a realtor that has experience and knowledge of the area you are looking for, so that they have relationships with other local realtors.
Please email me and I am happy to help you in anyway.
Check for designations (training and experience), online recommendations listed in agent profiles on Trulia. I also recommend you find someone that specializes in buyer representation.
Vickie Nagy, BMC Real Estate