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I bought my first property by calling an agent on a sign I saw while driving around. Did I buy that particular place no I did not. I also later found out that you really don't want the agent who is selling the house to also represent you buying the house.
Why did I find the agent this way? Because I tried to find on by looking through the yellow pages; yes that was quite a while ago. Now you can surf the web and find thousands of them. So you need to "interview" them; yes you are essentially hire them to help you find property. So what do I ask in the interview?
1. Are you licensed or are you part of a team?
2. Do you have a web site (if you were referred by a friend), if you found them on the web you know the answer.
3. When can we meet? Where can we meet?
4. How long have you lived in the area? Do you know about the different neighborhoods?
Before you MEET:
1. look thoroughly through the website for content.
2. What can you find out about the area before you meet; is the website helpful with good information.
3. Is it a do it yourself (DIY) website. some real estate agents let you search by yourself.
4. Look for information on neighborhoods (prices, types of homes/lots), do they offer information about lenders, about inspectors, about closing agents. For first time buyers look for a checklist or an offer to get one free.
At THE MEETING:
1. what times are you available
2. What forms do you have for me to get started. You should signs a buyers agreement, you might need to fill out a brokers questionnaire to help them get a clear idea what you are looking for.
3. Does the market require a pre approval letter for offers.
4. Are there any areas where homes need renovations? sometimes if you are buying for your self you can get a lower price to renovate yourself.
5. Do you work for or have you worked for investors before?
6. I am looking for a single family home (condo, townhouse, coop etc..) in this price range will I be limited to a certain area?
7. What types of communication can we use? email? text? phone? screen share? multi media in the office?
8. Do you have an office? Privat or do you share with multiple agents?
9. Have you ever dealt with tough negotiations?
10. Can I depend on you to tell me like it is and not what you think I want to hear? Yes if you are not prepared for this back and forth honesty with your agent you are in trouble. Good agent will NOT always tell you what you want to hear but tell you what you need to hear within their legal boundaries to comment. Also important to know there are some boundaries they cannot cross depending on the state.
Decision Time: If you like the answers, you feel comfortable with the person, and they seem prepared Hire them you just found the Best Real Estate Agent "for you".... The Best selling agent of the area, the agent with the biggest dollar figure of sales is only important to the broker not necessarily for you. You want someone you can trust, and who answers honestly, even if they don't have the answer up front but gets you the answer quickly.
TJ hoping you find the best agent for you.