Question Details

Ahsun Saleem, Home Buyer in New Jersey

Choosing betwen two Real Estate Agents

Asked by Ahsun Saleem, New Jersey Fri Sep 28, 2007

So, I've been trying to find the right real estate agent to represent me as I go to purchase a house. I have found two that I like, but without further going through this process, I dont know how good they will be in negotiating the best deal for me. I have one particular place that I am interested in. What if I took one real estate agent there, and I feel that she's not doing a good job, I then switch to the other real estate agent? Are there any legalities involved in this? How would the agent we're dealing with (the place is new construction) handle the change in real estate agents. If this is a bad idea, how do I figure out which real estate agent is the right one for me? Both have been recommended to me by others.

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Don't do the whole switching horses bit. That's just not fair to the agent you ask to put in the time and effort working for you under the assumption that it will lead to a paycheck. If both have solid credentials and come recommended by those you trust, you simply have to make a choice based on your instincts. Pick the one who instills the most confidence and don't look back. You need to be a team, and that is difficult if you are preoccupied wondering whether the grass is greener with the other agent. If you want your agent to be fully committed to your interests, you need to be equally committed to him/her. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
The agent that registers you on your first visit to the builders office is the one that is considered procuring cause, and is the one that the builder will pay at close of escrow. If you feel that the agent is honest and competent, but not a "superstar", gracefully and tactfully let her / him know what it is you are missing from them, they might just rise to the occasion and become better agents for your suggestions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
Have you visited the models and registered without an agent? If so, the builder may give you a hard time about having your own buyer agent representative. Many builders in this area operate under the policy that you can only have your agent represent you if he/she accompanies you the first visit and it is registered that way. Roll back a few years, and builders were rather tough on their stance when it came to this issue. I have seen in recent times that a builder will initially tell you that is their policy, but agree to recognize your buyer agent if they suspect you may not buy. The builders need your sale. If you have visited the site alone, you will need to insist that they recognize your agent. But, first you need to choose your agent.

I completely agree with previous posters who indicate that you need to choose an agent and stick with that agent. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. Only if you accidently end up in an situation where your buyer agent is failing to perform should you think about changing agents midstream. You would have a very hard time getting the builder to recognize your change. The builder will be bound to recognize the first agent you choose and will not agree to recognize the second.

Experience is certainly to be valued, but I don’t recommend you choose one agent over the other solely on past production. Actually, I think that is an all too common mistake in choosing an agent. Hire based on skill, commitment, availability, knowledge and experience as a package. A dynamite negotiator with a great mentor and an understanding of new construction may have more total value points than an agent with a lengthy list of resale transactions. Resale experience will add some value to the mix; but your focus is new construction. If either agent has direct experience as a buyers agent in new construction, discuss with that agent what he/she did to help their buyer in the transaction. Find out in what way the buyer benefitted from the representation.

You buyer agent will need to have some familiarity with new construction and the sales process in new construction. Otherwise, how will you or she/he know you achieved a valuable concession from the builder? Your agent needs to be reasonably available for you, and use communication tools that work well for the two of you together. Which agent will be aggressive and persistent with a smile to achieve the best upgrade package for you? Builders may often lead you to believe there is only one way or one answer. Which agent will be a savvy prober to root out alternative options? I recommend you place a high value on probing, follow up and negotiation skills when choosing an agent to represent you in new construction. Think about who they need to interact with, what they need to accomplish, what they need to know to accomplish that goal, and if they are sufficiently motivated and available to do so.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
You need to go with your gut feeling, and these little details:
1) Who listens to you the most? A good realtor listens and then talks for the same length of time about whatever..a great realtor listens 90% of the time, and speaks 10% of the time, with conversation that helps you.
2) If it is new construction, make sure the Realtor understands what it takes to build, and good construction need a person to be your eyes and ears and helps you avoid issues specific to new home construction such as sheetrock not done right, shortcuts in want a person who is experienced to have a good eye for writing up a punchlist.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007

I understand you problem and you're not the first.

The builders normally only let the buyer sign in with one realtor. Period. So, that ends the first debate.

Second, I would ask each of the agents to give you a list of their most recent 3 buyers that they represented and call them. Ask pointed questions about that agent. This is one way to get other people's opinion about that agent. Also, (if in California) you can go to and check their license for any past citations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Good question, and a tough one as well! First, I would ask each for further references. I would ask each how many buyer side transactions they close each month/yr. I would ask each what specifically they would do for me to ensure the process was smooth and hassle free. I think it's a more cut and dry scenario if you're trying to choose between two listing agents, but a buyers agent is a totally different animal! I've personally competed for listings with other agents, but don't think I've ever had to compete head to head (as least no knowingly!) with another buyers agent. If you still can't make a decision, you may have the option of using both as a team, if both will go along with it, and their brokers are ok with it. Great question.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
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