After deciding whether to rent or become a homeowner, checking your credit and possibly fixing it, the next step you'll want to do is find a real estate agent! Just like any other advisor, you need to establish some rapport with them. Below are a few traits and other items you should look for in a realtor and questions to ask them if you're interviewing them.
Experience and Knowledge
Experience and knowledge are two things that are necessary for your future real estate agent! Getting an idea of how experienced they are will help you decide if they are a good fit to work with you. You might want to ask them:
- How long have you been a real estate agent? This is good to know because if your realtor is inexperienced or unprepared, they may not have the advice you need when it comes to negotiation time.
- Do you work full-time or part-time? Depending on how experienced your realtor is, it might be good to know when you can catch them in the office or how busy they can be.
- Have you always worked in this particular area? You will also want your realtor to be familiar with the area you want to live in, and give you some guidance on what locations might be good for you and your family given park districts, schools and other factors that impact a home's value.
- How familiar are you with the area I want to live in? If you're looking to buy a home in the suburbs, you don't want your realtor to live in the city and vice versa! Realtors who have worked in the area probably have lived in the area too. They can give good advice on subdivisions, streets or even areas you're looking at.
Being able to trust your realtor is a major component of any financial relationship. You wouldn't go to your doctor if you didn't trust them; the same should be with a realtor. When it comes time to negotiate with the sellers, they will be in your corner wanting you to get your dream home. Think of them as a personal trainer, they want you get to know you and your family to help you achieve your goal of homeownership. Having that trusting relationship is built on communication so make sure your realtors know your likes, dislikes and definitely, if you need more than one bathroom!
Easy to Contact and Stay in Contact
Another component in this process that is very important is that your realtor is easy to get a hold of. At first, any realtor you contact will be all over you wanting to gain your trust and business, but there are few who will go out of their way to stay in contact. It took me over two years to decide that we were ready to buy a house. My realtor from two years ago kept in contact with me and it was an easy choice to decide to do business with them. After we picked them as our realtors, they were always available to help us with our questions.
Finding a realtor should be more than just working with the first one you meet. You'll want to make sure that your realtor is knowledgeable as well as experienced. Feel free to interview them to get a better sense of who they are and if you can trust them or not. Lastly, your realtor should be easy to contact and stay in contact with you. You'll be working with this person over a period of months and you'll want to make sure you like them, trust them, and can get a hold of them.
Next time we'll be talking about the pre-approval process, so be on the lookout!
This post continues a series on Sasha's journey through the puzzling world of buying a house for the first time. You can find other posts in the series by clicking Home Ownership in the Category list on the right side of this page.