If you are a first-time home buyer, you may not know what working with a real estate agent is like. How do you hire one? What do they do? How do Realtors® get paid? These are all questions that new buyers ask when they first start out, and many rely on the real estate agents themselves to provide the information. But, an informed buyer is a smart buyer. So use these tips for working with a real estate agent so you can make your buying process as seamless as possible.
#1) Don’t Choose Just Any Real Estate Agent
The world of real estate is incredibly vast. Not only do you have commercial and residential agents, but there are also different specialties and Realtors® who focus on specific demographics and neighborhoods. By specializing in certain niches, real estate agents are able to find clients faster and deliver better results to the people they work with. This is important to know when you start working with a real estate agent, as you want to find someone who is right for you. While you can find a real estate agency with a quick Google search, there are better ways to do it. Effective Agents uses a data-driven algorithm to find Realtors® who are right for your unique needs and wants. Enter the criteria you need, and we’ll find someone who specializes in your niche or real estate goals. Once you find a Realtor® you like, take time to interview them. Ask them questions about negotiating skills and their portfolios. You will want to feel comfortable will the people you are working with.
#2) Be Clear About Your Expectations and Needs
You are hiring a real estate professional, not a psychic. You cannot expect your Realtor® to immediately understand your needs and your preferences. The best thing you can do before working with a real estate agent is to determine what you want out of your new home. This means calculating how much house you can afford, what area you want to live in, and what home necessities that you must have. Stating these goals – and explaining which parts you are flexible on – can help your Realtor® narrow down their listings to find a few ideal matches. This way you won’t have to look all across town at houses that aren’t right for you.
#3) Respect the Time and Hours of Your Realtor®
Most Realtors® work evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of their clients. They know that some people can’t get off work and can only see a house in the evening after normal business hours. Let your Realtor® know what times work best for you, so they can build their schedule around your needs. Having a schedule laid out up-front can help both you and your agent know what times and dates will work for future viewings.
#4) Practice Open House Etiquette When Working With a Real Estate Agent
In some instances, open houses are mostly meant for area Realtors®, they are referred to as a "broker's open", and it is unexpected for potential buyers to walk in. Generally though, publicly advertised open houses truly are "open". Talk to your Realtor®, some Realtors® may not want you to go without them. If your agent is good with you going to open houses, ask them for a few of their business cards to keep on hand in the event that you visit an open house without them. If you visit a house that you like, hand your Realtor’s® card to the listing agent. That way, the agent won’t try to call you instead. Also, tell your Realtor® about the house and let them do the research...they work for you.
#5) Understand the Commission Structure
One of the main concerns buyers have is the cost of hiring a Realtor®, but the cost typically falls on the seller in most cases. Real estate professionals are paid on commission, or a percent of the sale. Usually, the commission goes to the listing agent on the seller’s side and is split between the selling agents and buying agents. Investopedia has a good explanation of how paying a real estate agent works as a buyer. Some Realtors® may require a flat fee to work with you. This is quite rate, but is occasionally found when Realtors® help people find rental properties. In this case, the fee covers a set number of hours of work and helps the Realtor® make sure they get paid. Talk to your Realtor® before you start working together so you can set expectations and know what commission is expected.
Start the Buying Process With EffectiveAgents®
Now that you know what working with a Realtor® will be like, you can take the first steps toward finding the right person to help you. Use Effective Agents to find a Realtor® in your area who can help you buy the right house.