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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mark's article in Homes & Land Magazine

Choose The Right Agent...Get The Right House

So it's still a Buyer's market and things are HOT. You've got the money to buy and mortgage rates are still great...but SLOW DOWN. First, you need to find a Realtor who is a "Qualified Buyer's Agent."

Whether this will be your primary residence, summer getaway or investment property, be sure to work with a professional Realtor who will help you identify the right property, negotiate the best price, and close the deal in an appropriate time frame. While many Realtors are qualified to work on either or both sides of a deal, here are some guidelines and pitfalls to keep in mind as you begin the selection process of choosing a Buyer's Agent.

The Basics

  • Speak with people you trust. Get recommendations of Realtors they know or have used, and with whom they have had positive experiences. However, don't assume it will be a good match for you just because it was good for your friend.
  • Avoid being hijacked. Don't use a friend or relative "in the business" simply out of obligation. A REAL friend will refer you to the colleague who can do the BEST job for you.
  • Make sure you and your Realtor communicate well. Real Estate does not have to be a "foreign language" so be sure you are on the same wavelength.

Where to Look?

  • Check the Net -- An online search of homes for sale in the neighborhoods you are most interested in will tell you which agents are listing properties in those areas.
  • Observe Yard Signs -- Driving around your favorite neighborhoods will also give you an indication of which agents are listing properties of interest to you.
  • Open Houses -- Most weekends bring an assortment of open houses to explore, giving you the perfect opportunity to meet and interact with agents hosting these events. If you find an agent that comes across as knowledgable and you "connect," take a business card and check out their web page after you leave. (Please note that a agent hosting an open house may or may not be the listing agent.)
  • Trade Magazines and Publications -- Pick up local Real Estate magazines (Like this one!) and Real Estate sections of local newspapers. Not only will you be able to identify geographic locations that the agent may specialize in, but also price range, style of homes, and diversity. Some agents will even specify in their ads that they are Buyer's Agents.

Having Made Your Choice, Your Buyer's Agent Should:

  • Listen to what you are looking for with regard to price, condition, and location and take you only to properties that meet your guidelines. 
  • Provide you (hopefully via email) with a manageable number of properties to review, identify favorites and prepare questions.
  • Having previewed them ahead of time, the agent will be familiar with the history of the properties (days on market, price changes, etc.) and therefore able to answer your questions.
  • Provide a tour package with a detail sheet for each listing, so you can take this information with you at the end of your day.
  • Conduct a logically planned route of properties, timed so that you are not exhausted or overwhelmed at the end of your tour.
  • Leave ample time at the end of the tour to help you organize, review, summarize, and plan  the next step based upon the results of properties seen.
This process may be repeated as needed. Don't be discouraged if you don't find the "perfect home" on your first trip. New properties come on the market every day and the right property may be right around the corner...literally. And remember that as with any relationship, the Buyer and Agent relationship is built over time.

A great Buyer's Agent really gets to know their Buyer...what they need and also what they love. So when that "perfect home" at the "perfect price" in the "perfect location" does hit the market, that Buyer will be the first person the Agent will call.

Buyer's Agents are ready to help you make the right choice. Make sure you take time to find the Agent that best meets your needs and expectations, because that is the b est way to ensure that you will ultimately be happy with your purchase.

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