After you have gone through the necessary prerequisites to determine if you are ready to buy your first home (check out our First Time Home Buying Tips), the first thing you will want to do is find a rock star real estate agent to help guide you on your home buying journey!
Per the National Association of REALTORS®, 88% of home buyers will use a real estate agent to represent them.
Utilizing a real estate agent can smooth out the home buying process and remove a lot of burden off your shoulders. Thus, allowing you to focus on finding the right home for your situation solely!
A real estate agent also has a lot of industry connections (lenders, contractors, inspectors, etc.) that will come in handy at some point in your home search.
Remember the real estate agent’s core purpose is to provide clarity to the home buying process, and put their clients needs first.
START WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY EXPERIENCES
Now that you are ready to utilize a real estate agent to represent and assist you on your transaction, you will need to compile a list of agents you want to meet with and talk to about your situation.
A great place to start is to speak with trusted friends and family members that have completed a real estate transaction with an agent before. Ask them if they can recommend anyone that they have worked with.
Be sure to ask them what characteristic traits they felt were most important when working with a real estate agent. Take note, so you have things to look for when meeting agents for the first time.
Don’t be afraid to do your research in finding reputable agents in your area via internet search. You can find agents on popular sites like Zillow, Trulia, and local real estate brokerages. Be sure to read reviews and testimonials to get a feel for client’s previous experiences with that agent.
MEET WITH SOME REAL ESTATE AGENTS
At this point, you should have a handful of potential agents you are looking to work with, narrow the list down to a few (two to five should be sufficient).
Arrange meetings with each of the agents on your shortlist.
Be prepared for your meetings by generating a list of questions you want to ask to help select the winning agent. Below are some questions you can use to start your interview:
- How many years have you been working in real estate?
- Determine their experience in real estate, a seasoned agent doesn’t always make them a better candidate, but it is something to consider.
- What is your familiarity with my home search area?
- Having experience in a region could be useful in knowing city building codes, having industry connection in that area, knowledge of newly listed properties.
- What is your plan for a first time home buyer, what are the steps we will follow?
- This question will help determine if the agent is organized and prepared to take you on as a client.
- Do you have any references you can share?
- You could learn more about previous experiences working with this agent.
- What makes you stand out from other real estate agents?
Use your judgment and gut when determining the right agent for your situation. Think if this agent is someone you could work with on a frequent basis for up to several months? Do you mesh well with the personality of the agent? You want the home search process to be something you look forward to!
SELECT ONE AND START YOUR HOME SEARCH
After you have met with all of your prospective agents, sit down and compare answers from each agent. Give more weight to the questions and traits that mean the most to you and your home buying situation.
Lastly, decide on the agent you want to work with and get your home search started!