I have a great first time home buyers program if you are interested. Give me a call or email and I will be happy to share it with you.
Arthur Hardy, Realtor
W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors
4910 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington DC 20016
(202) 362-1300 office
(202) 362-3164 fax
(202) 895-2860 direct
Know of anyone thinking of buying or selling a home? Referrals are greatly appreciated.
First, let me say that I am always so impressed by savvy first time buyers like yourselves! You really seemed to have done your homework! I would be honored to work with you to find your first home, but if I am not the realtor you ultimately choose, please take this advice. You absolutely should have your own buyer's agent. A listing agent has only one goal and that is to negotiate and work on the behalf of the seller. Also, many buyer's don't realize this, but you don't get a better deal by not having a realtor. In fact, the seller's agent will be paid their commission as well as the commission of the buyer's agent. So the seller does not save money in that case.
Another thing I firmly believe is that you are not always better off going with the "top" agent in an area. In fact, I think just the opposite is the case. An agent who has a completely full schedule cannot devote the time and energy that you so deserve. You will be penciled in with their other clients. When I personally work with a first time buyer, I intentionally do NOT take on more than 1 other client at the same time. I pride myself on my excellent customer service and availability. I have been in this business for 3 years and one of the reasons I got into it is because of the experience my husband and myself had with buying our first home. We worked with one great agent and one terrible agent. When I began, I vowed to be loyal and efficient and today I can honestly say I am proud of the agent that I am.
I truly love my job and can't imagine doing anything else! If you want an agent who will work for you, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to talk further in order to gather your needs. Whatever you decide, congratulations on this big "move" and best of luck!
If you think that the 2 Realtors you mention might be good candidates for representing you, ask them how they would handle the situation should you be interested in one of their listings. Also ask for references from former clients
I believe that you'll get the best representation by a Realtor that knows the local market. You want someone who knows the neighborhoods and the homes -- this is a big plus. Here's a couple other thoughts:
1. Many 'teams' have a person that manages listings with one or more agents that work only with buyers. So when you contact the listing agent, you may well be referred to another team member. Big teams are like organizations all to themselves.
2. Interview a couple. Having market knowledge is very important, but finding someone that 'clicks' with you and truly represents your interests is critical. The right agent will work hard to understand your needs, and he/she will be very responsive.
3. Sign a buyer agency agreement. In this agreement, however, make sure that you can cancel the agreement without mutual agreement from the agent. Be up front and honest with your agent. You'll be committed to your selected agent, but let them know that you will terminate the agreement if it doesn't work out (e.g., he/she continues to show properties that don't meet your needs, pushes his own listings, is not responsive, etc.). Don't get tied into a relationship that doesn't work *for you*.
4. Find a good, reputable mortgage provider *now* and get pre-approved. You do not have to select your mortgage provider until you get a home under contract, so you can shop around for rates later (still - stick with a *local* mortgage broker). Know exactly what you can afford, so you don't waste your time looking at the wrong homes.
Good luck. I'm sure you will be fine -- you're asking all the right questions!
Both Catarina and Robyn are correct. You're more likely to get better representation if you use an agent other than the listing agent. Get recommendations from friends and colleagues and then interview the agents. Communicate your expectations and ask what they will do for you. Good luck, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
get somebody who is familiar with the area and has sold (or even lived) there, but is not necessarily one of the dominating listing agents. They have a strong incentive to keep prices up because that advertises/recommends them to other potential sellers. You want somebody who can put these things in perspective and will give you a more objective analysis of the market data in that neighborhood. (All agents have access to the same data, but there might be a selective bias.)
The idea that a listing agent can give you a better "deal" by throwing part of the co-op commission in for you is usually psychological manipulation as well.
On February 7, I will be hosting a First-Time Buyers seminar...one of many in a series. I do them on a monthly basis. The one next month will be held in Dupont Circle. The seminar will also focus on FHA financing, for those buyers with limited resources for a down payment. I am happy to email you references for people who've attended the seminars, as well as past clients. Please feel free to contact me directly at 301-320-8349.