There are several solid answers to your questions with very good advice.
I have been in Real Estate over 25 years and I wanted to add what I would do if I were in your position.
If there were specific properties I had an interest in I would contact the listing agents directly. In addition to the questions below I would ask them to email me with information on other properties of like kind and their opinions on where the best deals are. This would enable me to find out first hand how responsive the agents were to my specific needs and how knowledgeable they are of the market. In the process, if a specific area is mentioned a couple of times by different agents, I would know the area should be considered. I would then make appointments with a few of them, (those that responded with in 24 hours), to see 2 to 3 of the properties. Based on the properties they thought would fit, how timely they met our appointments and how well their personalities fit with mine I would select one to represent me as a buyersâ€™ agent. I would avoid overly aggressive/pushy agents.
The following are some questions you may want to ask during your first contact with any Realtorïƒ’
1. How long have you been in real estate? Is it your full-time job?
2. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? (A good practitioner will explain agency relationships to you and describe the rights of each party.)
3. How will you keep me informed about properties that may be suitable and how often? Once an offer is written, how will you inform me of the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Using what media? (Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but that one reflects how well they would mesh with your desires. Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?)
4. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent buyer clients as references?
Number 4 will eliminate a lot of agents!
My website provides links to several articles that provide useful information on the home buying process. Look under the Buying tab.
Best wishes for a successful real estate transaction!
Laura N Perryman
Real Estate Direct