How To... in Gaithersburg>Question Details

Less Is More, Home Buyer in Gaithersburg, MD

I am going to buy my first house in 3-6 months. Can someone advise me how to find a good agent? thanks.

Asked by Less Is More, Gaithersburg, MD Mon Feb 21, 2011

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BEST agent answer I have seen yet. All boils down to what you said no matter how many words you use. Thanks I really needed the laugh. :) Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 16, 2011
Just call me. I'm a good agent :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 16, 2011
You have had many reach out already, and that is a great first step. Call a couple and see who answers their phones or bothers to return your call, you would be surprised how many actually do it. You might also want to check out, another free site for consumers. Unlike, Zillow has past clients write in reviews on agents, giving you a better sense of what kind of agent they "really" are vs what they tell you. Either way, are you preapproved yet? If not, that should be your first step.

Buying your first house should be an exciting and educational process. Find a local agent, or Realtor that helps you with this process. Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 12, 2011
You want an agent who is honest, ethical and experienced in the market place that you are interested in. Also, you want your agent to have a strong track record with first time home buyers. Mortgage/finance knowledge is important as well.

Asking friends and family for recommendations can be helpful.

I know the Gaithersburg market very well and would be happy to answer any questions-no obligation, of course!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 12, 2011
How to find the right real estate agent when buying a home
When you want to begin looking for a home, you will need to find a Realtor. First you should ask friends, relatives, or co-workers for a recommendation. Have them describe their experience with the agent and ask why they are recommending that person. You want to choose someone that you feel comfortable in working with.

It is not as important to find a Realtor who has sold the most homes, has the most experience or works for the largest and most well-known company as it is to find someone that is professional. You want an agent that will listen to you, uses ethical conduct, and knows the market.

You can also attend open houses and meet real estate agents. See how they interact with you and answer your questions. Pay attention to how they show the home. Take notes and collect business cards. Then you can compare the agents you saw.

Look at web sites of Realtors or real estate agents. Read any testimonials they have. Call them up and ask questions about their experience and how they work with buyers. Get a feel for them and what they can do for you.

You also want an agent that will work within your schedule. Most of the time it needs to be someone who works as an agent full-time. They are available days, nights, and weekends. Not all agents work the same way. Find one that you are comfortable with. Trust your instincts.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
Hi Less,

The first step is to find someone that is local to the area where you are searching. Ask friends and relatives who they used, if they liked them and why. Get a couple of names and make some phone calls to pre-interview the agents. Ask them some details about the neighborhoods where you are searching. It will be clear who knows them and who doesn't. I would recommend choosing someone who has done at least 25 sale transactions with at least two years in the business. Don't choose a part-time agent if you want full-time results.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
I agree with what the realtors had to say. Friends and family are also a good referral source. You can also ask a mortgage lender. We have all seen many many agents over the years and know plenty of good ones and also have seen the less than stellar ones also. I can give you 2-3 names of people who live and work the Gaithersburg area. Wherever you get the names I still think talking to 2-3 is a good idea. Same goes with lenders, don't just use the realtors person without checking around IMO. Hope this helps and if you would like to get some names just call or email me. It doesn't matter to me if you use me or not, though I wouldn't mind talking when you are ready for a loan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
Dear Homebuyer,
Most buyers use a real estate sales agent or realtor that their friend/family/colleague recommends to them. If the buyer had a bad experience with their realtor then they certainly would not have recommended them. However, you can ask for letters of recommendations from the real estate agent or realtor which would show you how they handle their business with other clients as well.You can interview several agents and ask them how much business they do in a year.Are they full time? Are they certified as a buyers agent ( they would have taken specific classes to certify that they specialized in this designation)?Ask them how long they have been in the business since this would show their overall knowledge in the field. Licensed since l977, I have found that a lot of real estate business is hands on experiences. You could ask if they have any ethics violations filed against them( check with their local board of realtors) and you can check to see if they have any claims filed against them through the Maryland Real Estate Commission.A real estate agent is not required to have the designation of Realtor. When an agent has this designation that have to stand by a code of Ethics. It is important to use a real estate agent that has the designation of Realtor. Most of all, use your gut feeling since you have to have trust in your realtor and believe that the Realtor will give 100% effort to find you your dream home!Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
Congratulations! This will be a very exciting experience in purchasing your first home. You want to make sure that you have trust in the agent that is helping you make this first step. My recommendation would be to ask friends or family if they have an agent that they used in the past that they were very happy with. If not, if you have been qualified to purchase your home, ask your loan officer (if they are local) if they have any recommendations for an agent. You also want an agent that has experience in the area that you are looking for and an agent that has experience in working with first time homebuyers. You want an agent that will get you the best home for the lowest price.

I am familiar with Gaithersburg and I am a buyer specialist in Montgomery County. If you would like further information, please e-mail me or call me and I would be very happy to give you some of my past cliets names and numbers for a reference.

Have A Great Day!

Patty Smith
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
Congrats on taking the important steps to start your home buying experience. Purchasing a home is such an exciting experience, but you want to have an agent by your side who you can trust and rely on. When looking for an agent, I would recommend looking for referrals from friends and family. You can also find real estate agents by searching the local companies and looking online. Many buyers and sellers like to meet with different agents to compare. Since you are going to be spending some time with an agent, you want to choose someone who meets your needs and whose personality fits what you are looking for. There are many good agents in the business.

Here is a good site to check out. There are so many resources on the internet.
I would also recommend looking at for additional resources.

I wish you the best of luck in your new path to homeownership.

Kimberly Wilson
Realtor, MD Licensed Salesperson
RE/MAX Results
5300 Westview Drive, Suite 200
Frederick, MD 21703
Cell: 301-706-0110
Office: 301-698-5005
Fax: 301-698-5344

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
The best way to find a realtor is through a recommendation. Do you have friends, relatives, neighbors and/or co-workers who have gone through the real estate process? Ask for a recommendation from someone you know.

If you are a first time real estate buyer, choose an agent who is willing to take the time and walk you through the process explaining each step along the way. An experienced agent will have a network of people they work with including. lenders, title companies,. home inspectors, etc. An extensive network will make the buying/selling process smooth and efficient.

Many real estate agents will inundated you with a variety of designations. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated nor should be sold on the fact that they possess a vast array of certifications. Such designations as GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute), ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) or CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) represent education certifications. Keep in mind, education is great but nothing beats field experience. Choose a real estate agent who possesses the ability to solve problems and is sensitive to customer service and customer needs. Your agent should answer your call and emails in a timely fashion. Make sure the agent has extensive knowledge of the area you are choosing to buy/sell in.

Finally, it is important point out that you will be spending a significant amount of time with your real estate agent. An extensive resume and field experience should not be your only criteria. Ask yourself, "Will I be comfortable spending large portions of a day with this individual?" Stick to these guidelines and your buying/selling experience in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area will be an enjoyable one.

You should interview at least 3 agents. Finally, I would welcome the opportunity to have you interview me to be your buyers agent. I would also be happy to provide references.

Best Regards,
Michelle Buckman
Licensed in DC, MD, VA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
One thing you can do is get referrals from people you know who have purchased a home recently. Ask them about their experience, what liked and didn't like about the experience, etc. Think of things you think would be important you, such as whether the agent…
Explains things so you can understand clearly?
Listens to your needs and concerns?
Seems willing to invest time in you?
Is ethical and professional?
Returns calls and provide information in a timely manner?

You might also ask for recommendations from people who work in the real estate industry, such as loan officers or title agents. They not only know lots of agents, but they know who the best ones are.

Once you have a few candidates I would suggest you sit down and meet with each of them and have a dialogue about your needs and expectations as well as how they feel they can help you. Finally, look for someone that you feel comfortable with. You’ll whether spend a lot of time with your Realtor, so it will be a much more pleasant experience if you have an easy and comfortable rapport and that you feel confident that (s)he has your best interest at heart.

I specialize in working with first-time homebuyers and I would be very happy to meet with you to discuss my services when you’re ready to get started.

Lisa Miller Scott
Sellstate Dominion Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
When considering a Realtor to assist you, it's important to find an agent that your comfortable with, not necessarily the first you speak with. If your considering a distressed property, either a foreclosure or short sale, make sure that the agent has experience with this type of transaction. There are many agents who will not work a distressed property, especially a short sale due to the time involved. Short sales may take 3-6 months or more with no guarantee of a successful settlement. You can talk with a friend or co-worker and ask for a referral as well. As with any business, a personal referral is usually good. I would ensure that the agent is a professional, full-time Realtor. If the agent is working another full time job, I'm not confident that they will be able to best represent your interests. Feel free to visit, under learning center, more valuable information. Please keep in mind that when you initially meet with a Realtor, they will ask you to sign a Understanding Who Real Estate Agents Represent document. This is required by Maryland to be presented to you on the first face to face meeting. It's not a contract or an agreement that you will work with the agent, only a disclosure. Lastly, on an aside, talk with a lender soon to review your qualifications under today's ever changing guidelines. If your using FHA (3.5% down payment), the monthly interest rates will be increasing April 18th, I believe. This will affect your monthly payment . I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have and offer you a no obligation consultation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
I would ask friends, family, co-workers who live near where you are looking if they thought the agent they used was good and help make the process easy for them. Do an online search for agents, incl this site for agents to interview. Important things to look for are:

Does the agent know the market you are looking in ?
How is their communication (do they send you updates on a regular basis, do they explain each step of the process to you)?
Can they show you properties at times that work for you?
Ask the agent for former client referrals/references
As Lisa mentions below, it is in your best interest to get a buyers agent to represent you and your interest. The listing agent is representing the seller and their interest.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
I have this free site that will refere you to a pre-screened agent that works right in the community you are interested in purchasing. Check it out
Web Reference: http://www.GreatAgents.Net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
Besides interviewing Realtors, an important fact is never call the listing agent to help you when buying a home

For argument's sake, suppose that you call the Realtor who is listing the property you "might" be interested in. It turns out that the house is absolutely perfect and affordable and you want to make an offer. Do you want the same agent who represents the seller to also represent you?
When you make an offer to buy a house, you are entering a negotiation. The seller wants as high a price as possible and the buyer wants the lowest price possible. Plus, there is more to buying a house than just settling on a price. If a Realtor represents both sides, there is a potential conflict of interest, although an ethical Realtor can often equally represent both sides. In such a case, however, the agent becomes more of a transaction facilitator than an agent working actively on behalf of either the buyer or seller.
You must keep in mind that there are times when it might not work out, too. The listing agent may choose to represent only the seller and that would leave you without your own advocate.
Most real estate transactions go fine, but almost every one has a challenge or two. These challenges are often routine, but sometimes not. Because the agent has divided loyalties, one side or another may doubt where those loyalties truly lie. Mistrust develops. This can take a small problem and blow it way out of proportion. At that point it becomes a crisis.
Having an agent on your side as your advocate removes the mistrust and helps keep things on an even keel. If a challenge develops, you know where your agent stands.
Plus, the seller pays for it -- you don't.

Lisa Abrams
The Abrams Group
Re/Max Realty Services


Top 1% Nationwide

Search the Entire MLS
Licensed Maryland, Virginia, The District of Columbia & Florida
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
Find a few to interview. You can ask friends/neighbors, search online, stop by your nearest brokers office and/or choose from all the agents responding here. While you should look for experience in the type of home you are looking for, including location and price range, you should most importantly find someone you feel comfortable working with. They should also have a simliar working style (do you prefer phone or text/email?), and availability when you are free. If you are considering agents responding here, review the profiles and responses to other buyers questions. That can give you a feel for our different ideas and knowledge bases.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
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