Sarah, Both Buyer and Seller in 77521

How do I find a real estate agent who is going to work in my best interest?

Asked by Sarah, 77521 Thu Dec 27, 2007

When we bought our home 4 years ago, we got our real estate agent through a friend of mine who liked her. Turns out she was not real experienced and besides the fact that she was our agent, her best friend in the same real estate office was the seller's agent. As a result, I think a lot of things got overlooked. We could have sued the old owners & won for lying about things like HUGE roots in the pipeline that would not let us flush our toilet the 1st AM in our new house (nice!) but OUR agent said that she was told that everything was taken care of but we have proof that it wasnt. As I've been told, winning in small claims ct is different than collecting. We just chalked it up to experience (about $3500).
Anyway, we are wanting to sell and move to Wimberley. I want an agent older than dirt that knows ALL of the ins & outs of real estate and who we can trust so we don't get screwed again. What's the best way to do this? I dont want to just pick someone off the internet.

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3
Lara McHenry, Agent, Spokane, WA
Thu Dec 27, 2007
Sarah,
I can empathize with your situation, I didn't know about roots in my pipes too...and same flushing issues arose...we now have roto rooter on speed dial!
I was the Real Estate Agent representing my family...here is the problem. You only know what is disclosed on the disclosure, and rely on the efforts of your home inspector to do a thorough job. The problem is, these things are not always obvious and do not surface until the most unlikely hour. In this situation my experience as a Realtor and my ability to do my homework had nothing to do with with the issues that arose in the home.
Age does not neccessarily mean that you come with a track record of stellar experiences. There are all varieties of agents in the business. What you want is someone with your best interests in mind and basically I feel that testimonials and referrals from previous clients speak volumes. Ask your prospective agents to offer testimonials or referrals. After all they are applying for a job to represent you and should not be offended at such a request. The bigger question is how many transactions has the agent had over the course of their career are they a working full time agent or a part time agent, do they have education beyond the neccessary licensing requirements. Those little letters behind a name like ABR, GRI, CRS they mean that the Realtor has graduated a higher Real Estate education course and is now accredited. More than anything, I think you need to be proactive in your involvement of the transactions, you will most likely be selling and buying, you will require a hard working multi tasking, detail oriented individual with your best interests in mind. Know their approach to marketing your home, and communicate all your concerns, a great Realtor will rise to the occasion to step up beyond your expectations. Good Luck, I envy you ....leaving the root issue behind!
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Suzanne Walk…, Agent, Oklahoma City, OK
Thu Dec 27, 2007
Wimberley is awesome. That is going to be a great move.

I like the older than dirt comment but what I think you mean is experienced. Unfortunately, you don't know what you don't know (then and now). You are in Houston and there are some excellent agents there you just need to find them. Do you have an attorney you trust that you could ask for a referral? How about a banker? Or an architect? Ask any professional for a referral. Professional experts typically recognize expertise outside of their field. Get a couple of referralls and interview.

In terms of the internet, with the revolution of blogs, etc... you can learn a lot about an agent who exposes themselves and their views. You might find a fit. I would research on the web, not necessarily choose from the web but an agents website could offer insight on top of the interviews.

Good luck,
Susan Walker
0 votes
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Dec 27, 2007
Sarah...sorry for your situation. Winning in small claims is different than collecting; however, a judgement goes a long way on a persons credit. If the sellers truly new and did not disclose I might pursue so that they learn not to do it again.

To get to your question... "older than dirt" does not always mean good. You want an agent with a great reputation and experience not necessarily in years but in transactions which can go hand in hand; however, years does not always equal experience actually helping countless buyers and sellers. On the other hand I have seen agents in the business for a few years that have already sold over 100 homes... that is a go getter and someone who most likely knows the ends and outs. Pick a few agents which meet the above requirements and then interview them. Dig deep so that you are comfortable with making a selection. If you are not comfortable then interview more agents. Lastly, I would ask for references from past and current clients that you can contact and dig deep with them.

When I say dig deep... ask them how they negotiate. Ask them how they determine the price you should ask for the home. Ask them whatever you need to ask them. Ask their references how they were in certain situations.

I had a repeat client once tell me that she knew I had her back when I told her NOT to buy a home that she so badly wanted to buy. It was a fixer upper and my gut told me that they would be opening some can of worms with the home because the history of ownership was not clear cut. Her and her husband bought the home regardless and I negotiated a great deal. They did open some can of worms and I helped them through it. They called me to sell the home and help them buy another a few years ago.

I told you that story because I understand that you want an agent that is concerned about you and not their paycheck. You just have to dig deep and ask the questions that keep digging deep... you will discover what the agent is really all about. When looking for a new home give an agent a test drive for a day on a few homes... see what type of advice they provide.

Best of Luck!
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