Buying a new home is an important decision that typically requires the help of an experienced and knowledgeable realtor. While many new homebuyers spend quite a bit of time searching for the perfect home, they needn’t do so: the right realtor can make the process easier and ensure that a buyer gets the most out of his or her investment. Here are five tips to help you choose a home buying realtor who knows how to find a home that fits both your lifestyle and your budget.
Working with a realtor can make for a successful home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors 2013 report, almost 90 percent of home buyers were assisted by a real estate agent in their search for a home, and “only 9 percent of sellers sold their home without the assistance of an agent.” However, it’s important that the agent or realtor you work with is licensed.
Before being allowed to sell real estate, a realtor must be licensed by the state in which he or she practices and become a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Membership in the NAR, and an adherence to the organization’s code of conduct, is what separates realtors from real estate agents. You can check with your state’s department of real estate or the NAR website to ensure that your realtor is qualified. Realtors who seek additional credentials with their local board or national associations will have access to a greater number of homes available on the market—which means that working with an accredited realtor presents a wide array of home options for prospective buyers.
It is not uncommon for prospective buyers to interview multiple realtors. During the initial meeting, spend time getting to know a potential realtor to make sure that they have the time to dedicate to you, understand your needs for a home, and offer rates that you are comfortable with. The interview process is vital, and something as simple as personality can (and should) factor into your search. While it can be a benefit for a realtor to be aggressive during price negotiations, no one wants to be pressured into buying a home that doesn’t meet their needs.
Home buying is a time-consuming process that can be further complicated by a realtor who is overburdened by too many clients or other responsibilities. Instead of rushing to find the first available realtor, take the time to find a realtor who has the time to dedicate to your home search. You should inquire about any additional time constraints that may play a role in the realtor’s availability, such as long-distance travel to the neighborhoods you’re interested in.
There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to get a hold of someone when making an important decision. While a realtor and home buyer will both have a preferred method of communication, it is important to clarify how important information will be conveyed so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure the realtor you hire has several lines of communication, can be reached easily, and is consistent about returning calls, emails or texts.
An established realtor will have a proven track record of successfully finding homes for clients and should be willing to provide references of past clients who have been satisfied with their services. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for this information; however, if asking for references makes you uncomfortable, there are also additional ways to look into a realtor’s success rate. A simple Internet search can provide insight into a realtor’s recent negotiations and offer reviews of their services.
The relationship between a home buyer and their realtor can span several months. During this time, there will be home searches, viewings and negotiations—all of which should be handled by a competent and dedicated professional. By making sure that your realtor’s background, business strategies and personality align with your goals, you'll have a smoother, more enjoyable home buying process.
Looking for a realtor? Meet the Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate Team.