Frank Hanlon Sales Representative
IPro Realty Ltd. Brokerage
Toll Free: 1-877-306-IPRO(4776)
You've been implementing a disciplined savings plan over the past few years so that you can be in a position to buy your first home. The time has finally arrived. You feel confident and secure about your job stability and have decided you are ready to start your search.
The first and most crucial step is to find a realtor to help you through this seemingly overwhelming process. The question is how do you know who to entrust this vital service too? Finding a competent, honest realtor is critical to ensure your real estate experience is a positive one.
The best place to start is by asking friends or relatives if they have had a satisfying real estate experience. If the answer is yes, then obtain the agent's name. It is advisable to arrange a meeting with the prospective agent to determine if the "chemistry" is right between the two parties. It is important that you feel comfortable with the realtor who will be representing you.
If you have a positive meeting and the realtor seems committed to helping you in the best way possible then your search will have been relatively painless.
What if you don't have any realtor recommendations? There are several courses of action one can take. It would be prudent to meet with three realtors and interview them for the job. You can often obtain their names from the local real estate magazines or the yellow pages, etc.
There are several key questions you may want to pose to the prospective realtor.
These questions are:
1) How long has the realtor been in the business?
2) What area does the realtor specialize in? You want to ensure the prospective agent is knowledgeable with respect to issues such as good schools and preferred locations in the area.
3) Does the realtor have good contacts/relations with banks, lawyers, and home inspectors? This could be vital for you as a purchaser. Often the realtor can act as your "one stop shop". This can greatly simplify the process for you as a purchaser.
The realtor in question should walk you through the entire buying process. This should include a comprehensive review of all your closing costs, a thorough analysis of your monthly cash outlay, and a potential briefing of any recent changes in the real estate market that may have an impact on you, the purchaser.
If an agent brings many years of experience to the table, you can benefit from their strengths at the negotiating table, their enhanced product knowledge and their proven contacts. On the other hand, a relatively new realtor, while lacking the above attributes may have a lot of energy and enthusiasm which can help make up for the lack of experience.
Ultimately, I believe when you choose your realtor you need to identify one who is the most eager, capable, and willing to handle your real estate needs. Your "gut feel" sometimes can go a long way.
Once you've made a commitment to work with a realtor you should be loyal to that realtor. The realtor can show you any property listed on the MLS (multiple listing service) system. Often times a purchaser will work with numerous Realtors and I believe this lack of commitment is unnecessary and unwarranted. If you ultimately feel your realtor hasn't provided the service you expected you can dismiss him/her.
Many Realtors want their purchaser(s) to sign a purchaser agency agreement. This acts as an agreement between the realtor and the purchaser similar to a listing agreement between the Vendor and the realtor. In essence, it means the realtor will act on your behalf exclusively.
If entering into such an arrangement make sure the time frame of the contract is reasonable in nature. For example, a 60 day contract in my opinion is an acceptable time frame. At the end of this period if you still haven't found your perfect home but are happy with the services rendered by your realtor you can always extend or renew your agreement.
Your realtor should strive to make your real estate process a positive and memorable one.