25So you’re ready to start the home buying process – You’ve thought long and hard about this investment and decided it’s the right move for you. But where to begin?
Working with a licensed real estate professional who has specific knowledge on your market is a very important starting point. And as you speak with various agents, you’re going to learn that they ALL will claim to be professionals in your area. GREAT! That means you have choices; And we all like options, right?
But knowing the market is just one component of any good agent. There’s more to consider when it comes to selecting the right real estate professional. Here’s what I look for when folks ask me to refer them to an agent in their area:
1.) What special designations does the agent hold that demonstrates their ability to assist you? For example, if I was working with a military personnel client, I may look for an agent who carries the Certified Military Residential Specialist designation because I know they will have received additional training and education on the specific needs of military personnel, and have built relationships with lenders who have access to loan programs that directly benefit service members. In short, I consider the clients’ specific needs and then try to find an agent qualified to serve their best interests.
2.) Does the agent have a network of industry-related support specialists ready and available to assist? Does the agent have the resources already established to provide access to information that will be pertinent to the purchase and sale process? Can the agent readily provide access to community, lending and home repair services that the client will benefit from? Working with an agent who has already created the framework for a smooth transaction process means you are in good hands and can trust the agent to be prepared to assist all the way through close of sale.
3.) Is the agent responsive to the consumer’s needs? Do they communicate effectively with those around them? Do they give me real tangible answers to my questions? Or do they tell me what they think I may like to hear? When you’re excited about buying a home, it’s easy to only hear what you want. But a good agent will take the time to listen and make sure you’ve heard ALL of the information, good or bad. And then they take the time to help you sort out the bad information and develop solutions to get past any roadblocks in the path of your success!
4.) Can the agent provide reviews of their services from past clients? Does their past business support their ability to serve your best interests? Past clients’ willingness to right good reviews about an agent is a direct correlation to that agent’s ability to serve clients as a real estate professional. And this is great information to validate a possible agents’ credibility.
5.) Does the agent have the time to commit to you? This is very important because different people require different levels of time commitment. If a buyer is looking for their first home, then I want to make sure I refer them to an agent who has the time to invest in getting that client up to speed on the purchase and sale process. This goes back, and ties in to, effective communication, because many first time buyers are going to ask the same question several times. And that’s okay. We want you to ask questions. And I want to make sure the agent I team you up with has the time, energy and commitment to invest in getting you those answers; As well as taking the time to assure you understand what those answers mean and how they may affect your position as a new home buyer.
It’s very important to work with a committed real estate professional. Choosing the right agent for the job in the beginning means you will have a committed and able real estate professional to guide you through the entire process with confidence.
The National Association of Realtors® reports that approximately 76% of home buyers interview only one agent for the job of helping them buy a home. That means you want to come prepared to ask the right questions, to assure you pick the right agent the first time. Working with the right real estate professional mean the difference between a smooth purchase process; Or one riddled with headaches, anxiety and the propensity to raise your blood pressure! Issues always come up in the purchase and sale process, but talented agents know what to do when problems arise. And they know how to keep clients in the loop and provide clear explanations and sensible solutions to keep your deal on track to close in a timely manner and on your terms.
One cornerstone of the real estate profession is the fact that “timeliness is of the essence.” But this doesn’t mean you need to be in a rush to hire the first real estate agent you interview. Make time to take time, before you start shopping for a home, to work with a real estate agent who can provide you with the knowledge, experience and network of resources that will assist you in achieving your goal of home ownership!
Ben Christensen is a real estate professional with Equity Idaho Real Estate specializing in buying and selling residential and residential-income properties.