When you first start looking at houses to buy, you’re probably looking to find the best house possible…not looking for the best real estate agent possible.
It usually begins innocently enough… Maybe you see a house online. So, you reach out to the agent with the click of the button. Or send a quick e-mail. Perhaps even pick up the phone to ask a few questions, or schedule a showing. Next thing you know, you’re being sent listings by e-mail, and going out to see houses with that agent. Or, maybe you go to open houses and meet a bunch of different agents, and eventually just find yourself working with one of them. (Or several of them at the same time.) You might be a little bit more deliberate about finding an agent, though. And you might choose to work with one who you have seen who has lots of signs, ads, or billboards. It might boil down to choosing an agent because everyone seems to use that particular agent. But too many people just sort of stumble into working with a real estate agent by chance. It’s not the best way to “hire” a real estate agent when you’re buying a house, but it’s pretty typical. Life is busy, and there isn’t any true process to finding the very best real estate agent. So, the point is this: for most people, stumbling into a relationship with a real estate agent is just how it goes. So, what is the point of the article then? What is the solution? What should you do?
First things first…
Make a concerted effort to find and choose the real estate agent you work with to buy a home… before you actually start looking at any homes. While it’s natural to be excited to find the home you want to buy, when you do that first, you are skipping a worthwhile step. Instead, you should ask friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you know, for recommendations and referrals. Then, meet with, and speak with a few agents. Get a feel for how they work. Determine whether you trust them, and whether they seem like they know what they’re talking about and doing.
Once you find one, actually hire the agent…
When you find one you like, hire that agent. Commit to the agent. Work solely with that agent. Too many people feel like they should have several agents helping them find a house. Yet, all the agents have access to every home on the market. Every agent can get you in and show you the houses. But not every agent can represent you, your needs, and your best interests the same. Some are better at handling the ins and outs of the process. And better at analyzing values, and advising you. And, of course, some are better at negotiating. It isn’t about having several agents out there looking to find you some needle in a haystack. Or an agent who is willing to jump to show you a house the minute you call about one. It’s about having one that is solid and skilled representing your interests with their knowledge and skills, once you do find the right house. And an agent that good isn’t likely to spend a whole lot of time or attention on you if they don’t feel that you are being loyal to them, or aren’t serious and committed to them, and the process of buying a house. The best way to show them you are all of that, is to literally hire them. Sign a buyer’s agency agreement with them. Show them you are committed to him or her, and the process, by committing to them.
Why should you?
Most people, even some real estate agents, may tell you that you should never sign a buyer’s agency agreement and thereby hire a specific agent. And you don’t have to. So many agents will work without requiring you to do so. You can get the milk for free, as they say…so why buy the cow? Because…you aren’t “most people”. You know better. If you don’t specifically find, choose, and hire a specific real estate agent to work with, you will possibly find one representing you by default. It could be one that you meet at an open house. You just go to see the house. You love it. You want to make an offer. And, boom, the agent that was there is now representing you and your best interests. Maybe that agent will be great. Maybe not. And even if the agent is good, it isn’t like that agent will have a whole lot of background with you, or insight into you and your needs. This can make the whole process not so great. You can find yourself feeling at odds, or working with someone who doesn’t seem to be fighting for you, so much as convincing you to do what they want you to do so they can make the sale. That isn’t necessarily going to happen. But it can…and does…to so many people. To “most people”. And then “most people” complain about how horrible their experience was buying a house.
Here’s the kicker…
The reason why people complain that their home buying experience is often not great, is because the client and the agent do not have a committed relationship! The lack of commitment actually causes mistrust, and less than ideal dealings. Yet, most people go about it that way. So, solve the problem most people have by actually seeking, finding, and hiring the best real estate agent you can find to help you buy your house. Don’t just stumble into a loose relationship with someone you need to trust to get you the best house, at the best price and terms.