Step 2: Find a Realtor
Most people start their home buying search by looking at sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow or Trulia.
That’s completely fine and understandable, but there are many advantages to hiring a Realtor to represent you first.
Searching online at Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. on your own takes a LOT of time. A Realtor can set you up for automatic search via the MLS (Multiple Listing System). This means that each day (or how often you want to receive the search results) you’ll be emailed a list of all new properties matching your criteria or price reductions which now put a property in your budget. This is a HUGE time saver. And if you’re in a market, like ours, where great properties sell in a matter of days if not hours, it can be an enormous advantage to be able to get in and to see a property just as soon as it goes on the market.
So, how do you find and pick a Realtor? Well, hopefully you’ll contact me at (626) 335-8000 by call or text, or email Chris@ChrisGriffiths.net so we can meet in person and see if we would be a good fit together.
Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people. You need to find someone who is not only great at his or her job, but someone you like, as you’re going to be spending a lot of time with that person. So get together and have coffee and chat. See if you click. If so, you need to determine if that person has the experience, customer service and understanding of the market that you’re looking for.
Start out by noticing how quickly the Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email. If the Realtor doesn’t get back to you within a maximum of 24 hours, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast and deals can be lost if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf during negotiations.
Second, interview the Realtor by asking them very specific questions. Here are some sample questions to ask your Realtor:
- What do you want to know about me? Just a general question but it can help you understand what makes your Realtor tick.
- How long have you been in real estate? A very important question to ask your potential real estate broker. The longer a real estate broker has been selling, the more transactions they have likely completed.
- Are you a full-time Realtor? Buying a home is a time-consuming process. It is important that your Realtor is available when it’s convenient for you. A part-time Realtor may not be able to offer you enough availability to do so.
- How many buyer clients have you worked with this past year? Buying is a completely different process than selling. There are different tasks involved in these transactions. It’s important your Realtor knows how to run the buying process smoothly.
- Can you provide me with testimonials? Every broker should be able to provide you with a handful of testimonials. Read these through thoroughly and see what the previous client had to say about your Realtor.
- Do you have an online presence? A real estate broker with a strong online presence will have connections within the local real estate market through social media. These connections can be invaluable to those who are buying a home. You’ll be able to tap into the local real estate market and find a home perfect for yourself, even the properties not on the market.
- Do you attend home inspections? There are some buyer agents who attend inspections and those who don’t. It is important for your Realtor to attend the inspection for many reasons.
- What methods of communication do you utilize? Communication is one of the biggest complaints clients have regarding their Realtor. It can be lack of or method of communication. If you prefer that your buyer only email you, make sure the Realtor can email. This goes for any method of communication you prefer.
Here are some additional questions you might want to consider:
- What tools do you have especially for first time home buyers?
- What areas do you primarily work?
- Will you be showing me homes or will your assistant?
- Are you willing to work with me if I find a home FSBO?
- How do you negotiate deals?
- Do you handle the inspection negotiations?
- Do you attend the walk through?
- Do you attend the closing?
- How do you feel about dual agency?
- What qualities differentiate you from other Realtors?
Last, expect to sign a buyer representation agreement. Legally before you disclose confidential information to your Realtor, you should have a signed buyer representation agreement. That helps to ensure that your Realtor will keep private information confidential.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Go back to Step 1: Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage, go forward to Step 3: Don’t spend extra money