Choosing A Home That Has Value

How to make sure you profit from life's biggest investment

your search fruitful:
Be aware that if you search for homes first and contact the agent who has a particular property listed, that agent will absolutely represent the seller — not you.
Search newspaper and magazine ads for agents who advertise that they have experience in buyer representation.

Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers about experiences — both good and bad — they have had with specific agents. Was the agent easy to work with? Did they feel that the agent was responsive to and met their needs? Would they use that agent again?

The Secrets of Agents
A competent real estate agent can help you find a home that meets your specific needs. However, you need to understand your relationship with the agent from the outset.

“Know who your agent works for,” advises Holden Lewis, a reporter for Bankrate.com, in North Palm Beach, Florida. “The agent works for the seller, unless your agent has signed a contract, called a buyer agency agreement, which specifies that the agent works exclusively for the buyer. These contracts are popular, and you can confide in an agent who has signed such an agreement.”

Without a buyer agency agreement, the agent showing homes to you actually represents the seller. If you say, “We would be willing to pay $100,000, but we’ll offer $90,000,” a seller’s agent is obligated to pass along that information, according to Holden.

If you decide to hire a buyer’s agent, read the contract carefully. Ideally, the buyer’s agent simply will split the commission 50 — 50 with the seller’s “listing” agent. That way, there will be no extra fees to increase the overall cost of the transaction.

Whether you hire a buyer’s agent, or simply rely upon an agent who’ll be paid by the seller, these checklists from www.ourfamilyplace.com can help you find the agent who best suits your needs:

Qualities to Look For in an Agent:

  • An understanding of your needs
  • A willingness to work with you until your needs are fulfilled
  • A sense of professionalism
  • Someone who is dedicated to the profession
  • A familiarity with the area in which you have an interest
  • A familiarity with the price range in which you have an interest
  • Professional designations such as GRI (Graduate Realtors Institute) or CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)
  • Strong references from previous buyers

Questions to Ask a Prospective Agent

  • How long have you been in real estate?
  • Are you a full-time agent?
  • Are you familiar with the area in which I want to look?
  • How many home sales did you participate in last year?
  • What is the average price of the homes you sold last year?
  • Do you normally work with sellers or buyers?
  • How many buyers are you presently working with? How many sellers?
  • Where do you feel your strengths lie?
  • What three buyers can you give me as references?
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