HOW TO KNOW IF A GOOD AGENT IS A GOOD FIT
"I happily referred a couple of agents who came highly recommended and whom I thought would be a good fit for clients moving out-of-state who didn't want a previously bad home-buying experience repeat itself. In a follow up email they asked me how to know if he or she would be a good fit. Thus the following excerpt from an email:
"Some traits of a good buyer agent (some I'm sure will dictate a better fit than others):
- Listening skills
- More interested in helping you find the right home than racking up a sale
- Specific knowledge of the neighborhood (and sale history - e.g., median price over last year) of the area(s) you target
- Negotiating skills
- Takes your questions seriously and addresses concerns
- Accommodates to your schedule (and you to theirs)
- Not blinded by curb appeal - tells you the good, bad, ugly
- Runs comparables of homes under consideration
- Provides referrals to reliable attorneys, home inspectors, tradespeople, etc.
- Experience working with sellers
- Make a list of pros and cons (another one!) of agents you speak to
- Would both of you feel comfortable working with that agent?
- Does the agent hold realtor designations? E.g., CBR, ABR and/or CRS designation - which means they've taken the time to be the best buyer's agent they can be
- Do they have the Realtor designation? Some good agents may not hold that designation (but it does mean they've taken ethics training).
- Particulars of the transaction process in CA which are different from MA
- What does the buyer agency agreement entail
- How they usually work with buyers
"When I first meet, email or speak to a potential buyer, I want to get a sense of them to see if we'd be a good match:
- Why they are buying
- Their lifestyle - which goes a long way toward explaining what homes would be a good match and directs the rest of the search
- Have they been pre-approved? If not, I recommend reliable lenders before our first meeting.
- Amount and flexibility of down-payment
- Time frame
- If children are (or will be) in the picture (e.g., lead paint law, schools, etc.)
- Have they met with other agents
- How much do they want me to be involved in the transaction
- Knowledge of the local market
- Best way to communicate
- Plus the usual as to location, schedules, and anything they can think I should know to make it the purchase of their home a pleasant experience
"Personally, in the past, I shopped around for agents by talking with them at open houses (if they weren't too busy) mostly because I like to collect as much information as possible before I commit - but as we both know you can garner a lot from the web. I wouldn't recommend signing in at open houses until you secure an agent or everyone will be calling you - some aggressively. I suggest taking a listing sheet and/or business card instead to take quick notes on the agent.
"Name a time if you want to talk!"