The real estate market is a field of activity for professionals. It is impossible to make a purchase of housing or commercial real estate without the help of a realtor (no matter how confident you are). Even if you have read a lot of information on the Internet and sat on forums, you still won’t be able to choose the most profitable option. Especially if you are buying a house for the first time.
Therefore, it is logical to ask a question — how to choose a realtor as a first-time homebuyer?
Why is choosing a real estate agent important?
All realtors have access to a single listing database (MLS — Multiple listing service), with which you can find all the current offers on the market. Therefore, these experts always have much more information available than anyone else.
In most cases, the realtor’s fee is paid by the seller. The amount of remuneration for his services is immediately indicated in the general MLS real estate database. It turns out that it is even unprofitable for the buyer to refuse his services: he will simply lose his assistant and save nothing. The only thing that is required of you is to devote a little time to choosing a worthy professional.
The realtor will represent your interests all the way from the beginning of the search to the receipt of the keys to the new home. Here’s what he does for the buyer:
- helps in finding a suitable option and determining the real market value;
- bargaining with the seller to get a better price;
- assists in the preparation of all documents, the choice of a lawyer, technical inspector and other specialists necessary in the purchase process.
How to choose a realtor as a first-time homebuyer. 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Reliable Realtor
When choosing one of the many real estate agencies, you must make sure that this office has a membership in the National Association of Realtors of the United States. The association can include both a systemic real estate structure and private agents operating in this market. If your realtor is in its ranks, then he is trustworthy — you are definitely dealing with a professional.
A license is a must-have for any realtor. Therefore, start a conversation with this very question, so as not to fall for a scammer (you never know). Legislation on the confirmation of the qualifications of such specialists in each state is different. However, the level of education, the type and depth of certification exams of a realtor, as well as the continuation of continuing education after obtaining a license, matter everywhere. Agents who have completed additional training may use the designation Certified International Real Estate Professional (CIPS).
Just in case, ask about commissions. As a rule, they do not concern the buyer: most realtors are paid by the seller, but there are offices where commissions can be provided for citizens who purchase the object. It depends on the geography, the status of housing, the internal rules of the company.
All real estate agencies operating legally perform their duties honestly. You can be sure of this, but they will work not only with you and protect your interests, but also create favorable conditions for the seller. This must be taken into account in reaching a compromise in the transaction and not expect a clear advantage in your favor.
The right to choose
You can replace your realtor if you find that they are not sending you emails about suitable housing offers in a timely manner. Or does not fulfill all obligations to promote your request. Provide for such a clause when concluding a contract for the services of a realtor, this will ensure you only fair spending.
What to do next?
Okay, but there are so many specialists that it’s just dizzying! Therefore, we have compiled a short guide on what will be your path to choosing a realtor. So where and how to choose a realtor as a first-time homebuyer?
Start by searching the agent directory.
For example, Zillow is the most popular service. Here you will find a list of agents operating in your area, as well as information about ratings, past sales, and biographies of agents. Devote some time to this search, so you will understand what you expect from a professional and feel calmer.
One of the most popular and easiest ways to find a reliable real estate agent is to contact friends, family or colleagues who have recently bought a property.
Ask them for a recommendation, ask about their experience — what they liked and what they didn’t like about working with a specialist. They can recommend an agent that they trust and have proven to be effective. Do not forget to also look at online reviews about the agent to once again be convinced of the quality of his work.
Make a list of several candidates and interview them.
After all, you choose the person with whom you will choose your dream home. During the conversation, you will be able to better understand what kind of person is sitting in front of you, whether it will be easy for you to work with him and whether he is suitable for your needs. Here are some important questions you can ask — how many buyers the agent has represented in your area in the last three years, whether he has certifications, how quickly he responds to customer inquiries.
After you have found the ideal candidate, sign the agreement.
It will contain information about the details and conditions of your work, as well as how to receive the agent’s compensation.
There are two types of agent agreements:
- Exclusive — you agree to work only with this agent for a certain period of time, usually 6 to 12 months. The agent is guaranteed a commission on any home you purchase during this period. It’s important to consider that if the seller doesn’t offer a commission (which happens with direct sales), then you may be responsible for paying your agent’s commission, so read the terms of the contract carefully.
- Non-exclusive — in this case, you work with one agent, but retain the ability to work with other agents. That being said, if another agent helps you find the house you’re buying, they’ll get a commission for their services.
What qualities are important for a realtor?
Of course, we are all looking for not only a good specialist, but also a good person with whom it will be comfortable to work. Therefore, we advise you to pay attention to the following qualities when choosing your guide to the world of real estate.
Ability to conduct local market expertise
Each real estate market and your personal requirements are unique. Housing prices, demand, and type of housing vary not only by state, but even by city and region. Therefore, look for an expert who will match your criteria. You can always look at their past sales on Zillow, read online reviews, or just ask what cases they’ve handled and how many deals they’ve closed in the area you’re looking for.
Soft skills and especially communication skills
Your agent should communicate with you in a way that makes you happy—clear, polite, businesslike, and efficient. This person should have an understanding of your desires, clearly present your proposal, have stress resistance and the ability to negotiate.
Choose experts who have worked in the real estate industry for at least three years, or even more. This way you can make sure they understand how the market works and have the right experience. But, if you decide to work with a beginner, ask if a more experienced agent checks his work.
We hope that you have received an answer to the question how to choose a realtor as a first-time homebuyer.
In addition to a real estate agent, you will need a whole team of specialists — a mortgage broker, a lawyer, an accountant, a translator. And this should be a real dream team that can work smoothly and clearly!
- The lawyer will be engaged in drawing up contracts, registering real estate, obtaining a certificate of ownership of real estate. He is also responsible for the legal purity of the transaction.
- You will need an accountant if you plan to rent out your property. In this case, it will be necessary to fill out a tax return annually, and it is better to entrust this to a specialist. Also at the stage of purchase, it will probably be necessary to contact a tax consultant.
- A mortgage broker will select the best bank loan conditions for you.
Regarding the last point, you can always contact LBC Mortgage specialists. We have experts who will select the best financing options and make your mortgage process as smooth as possible. So that you have more time to focus on choosing a home!