You've got lots of great answers. Accredited Buyers Representatives have completed the requisites to represent and work for the interests of the Buyers, I know I am one of them in Yakima Washington; obviously, the ones that have being in business longer will be more experience. I encourage an Exclusive Buyer Agent and sign an agreement with the one that you feel more comfortable to work with to only represent you (not the seller),
Make sure to visit http://www.rebac.net for ABR (Accredited Buyers Representatives in your area)
Thank you for some great questions.
1. Characteristics - I recommend sitting down and talking with a prospective Realtor. Someone that will invest time in analyzing your situation, your requirements, and can help you distinguish between wants and needs in your new home, as well as prioritize them. A Realtor's ability to understand what you want, then communicate with you during the buying process are helpful abilities.
Listen more than they talk
Ask you questions that make you think
Be willing to fight for your best interest.
Be able to negotiate the best deal - and in real estate sometimes that is more terms than price
Have a system that will keep you in the loop at all times.
2. Buyer exclusive - You'll want to have them draw up a buyer Representation Agreement - Exclusive to clarify your relationship. Both of you contribute 100% to the successful purchase of your new home.
3. So far as locating a Realtor, I recommend asking friends, business associates, and professionals, like your CPA. I also would be happy to refer you to a top Realtor that works in the areas you are looking. You can contact me via my Trulia profie. No obligation on your part, but I can pre-screen an agent for you.
I am a Realtor in Fresno, CA. If you are looking for a Top Producer, they will be very easy to find, they are all over the internet! I am an agent with Guarantee Real Estate and know the market very well! I focus solely on working with buyers because thats what I love to do, find my friends the right homes and get them the best price. I am never too busy to find you a home! If you'd like to email me what your looking for I would be happy to help you!
Find an agent who is well respected and very knowledgeable in the area. One way to find an agent is to call the local board of Reators in that area. Or you can call 2-3 local brokers from respected companiens and ask for they top agents. Getting referred by a friend or co-worker is always nice too.
Remember this, the difference between a good agent and a great agent is their knowledge and skills.
Best of luck,
Burlingame/San Mateo Ca.
To answer your questions,
1) honesty, experience in your market area, good reputation & someone you feel comfortable trusting your biggest decision to.
2) yes, you can hire an Exclusive Buyer Agent and sign an agreement with them to only represent you (not the seller), just like a seller hires an Exclusive Listing Agent;
3) you can find Accredited Buyer Representatives (ABRs) who are experienced and specific to Buyers at http://www.rebac.net
4) Refer to above
2. Typically, agents list as well as sell houses. I am not sure how you would regard this as a conflict of interest however. Maybe you could elaborate on that.
3. You could certainly try roaring! I think there would be few that would come running! Personally, I would search through agents with advertisements (Homes and Ranch, Fresno Bee) as well as websites. Those who advertise heavily are typically top producers that know this area well.
4. Finally, I could save you time and ask that you check my website athttp:// http://www.HomesInFresno.com. I am the top selling agent for Guarantee in 2007 and have specialized in Fresno and Clovis for the past 20 years. If you would like we can meet and you can see why I am good at my job. And you can always try roaring as well!