Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Moving: finding a good agent

We were so lucky to find two wonderful agents who fit our style exactly. Both were recommended to us by other people: our selling agent is from my hometown and is who we worked with to buy our first house, and our buying agent was recommended to us by people at David's job. They both had laid-back attitudes but were still very professional.

Finding an agent can be hard, though. If you don't mesh with your agent or if your agent doesn't listen to your ideas and desires, you may end up being taken to many houses that you don't want to see and wasting time. Your selling agent needs to be able to instruct you on how to prep your house to sell, and you need a relationship that allows you to take his or her criticisms well. Do not get insulted when your selling agent makes suggestions for your house: it is their job to sell, sell, sell, and they are professionals in that field!

Another side note: never get advice from your agent and then ask your friends their opinion. For instance, if you get advice from your agent that you don't want to follow, don't ask your friends for a second opinion. They won't tell you the truth if they disagree with you because they will be too polite! Houses are very personal--just don't get offended by suggestions from your agent.

Your buying agent should be able to listen well to you. If you have someone who shows you what he or she likes rather than what you like, you will have a problem and will waste so many hours looking at houses you would never consider buying. Also, don't be afraid to speak up and research on your own. I think that an agent would appreciate it if you gave him or her a list of your house choices because it cuts down the time they spend with you and frees up time for other clients.

What tips do you have for picking a real estate agent?

1 comment:

tobin said...

find an agent who gets what you want - this is a hard quality to find, so you may have to work with an agent for a little bit to figure out if they have this quality. if they don't, its ok, you can always release them from their services and move on to someone who will.

what do i mean by the agent who will get you what you want? a good agent will know exactly what a house "should" sell for when you look at it. that being said, they should steer you in the right direction of a good starting offer price. from there, it is their job to get the house for that price with the least amount of games possible.

our agent made it simple - after getting an idea of what we wanted in a list of things we liked in a home, and the areas/cities we were looking in, he did market research. he looked at what was on the market recently, what sold quickly, why it sold quickly, and what were the comparable prices for the same qualities. from there, once we found a house we liked, prior to making the offer he looked at what it was bought for by the sellers, added what improvements they made (if any), and added or subtracted the appreciation/depreciation of the property based on the market. from there we got our offer price, and made our offer. after the sellers counter offer, our agent made it known to them how we got to our price, and made them aware that it was a fair price given the market conditions and that we wouldnt be playing games. and then bam, we bought ourselves a house.

an agent should also be a good spy of sorts - they should be out there finding out why that house is selling. is it because they are relocating? is their family growing and they need bigger room? or is it a divorce? all these things factor into how badly the sellers want to sell the house, and can greatly influence how quickly they want to make a deal on their first offer.

sorry for the long reply, but its hard to find a good agent and i'm just doing my best to put out some pointers!