From my blog:
How to choose a residential Realtor
Part 2 Buyers side
Before you shop for an agent make sure you get pre-approved for a loan. That way if you have any credit issues you can fix them while you are looking for a home. Also why waste your time searching for a home when you donâ€™t know how much a lender will lend you. Web Reference: http://www.floridadreamloans.com/AreYouPre-Approved
Unlike the sellers side I donâ€™t see the need to interview a number of agents, I would suggest putting a few to work and see what happens. This way you can judge them based on actual work performed as opposed to what they say they will do.
I would ask for referrals from friends and family along with scouting for them on the internet, visiting offices and open houses. Once you find a few that you have a connection with, ask them to set you up on some type of automated internet search that updates automatically based on your criteria(size, location, price etc). I use whatâ€™s called a client gateway it appears as a personalized website. You can save, comment or exclude properties. It is a great tool to communicate with clients but not all realtors associations provide such a tool, some just give agents sheets of properties.
In either case over the first couple of days communicate about the properties. See what type of responses you get and how fast, the agent should start narrowing down what you want even in the first couple of days. Ask a lot of questions about the neighborhoods even if you know the answers to the questions to get a feel for their knowledge of the area. The agent should check their e-mail a few times a day. They should answer their phone or respond promptly. At some point inquire about lowball offer on one of the properties, this serves a couple of points, if they immediately find a way out of doing a lowball offer get rid of them. If they try to calculate what the value is then says lets go lower it to give us some room, you might want to keep them. Each response will vary but the goal is to try to find out if the agent is willing to negotiate and how far they are willing to go. I hear a lot of agents say they donâ€™t want to insult the seller, if the agent tells you this get rid of them.
Qualities you should find in a good agent during this process: Honesty, quick responses, availability, knowledge of market and good communication skills. They should not pressure you into buying a home, it is your job to pick a home. There job is to help you find your house, then help you get it at a good price at the right terms.
A few days of this should help you choose an agent. Once you have chosen an agent stick with them and let the other agents know that you have chosen to work with another agent exclusively and why you chose them.