Many people do not realize that the purchase of a home is usually the most expensive purchase a person will make. You need to invest a little time into finding a person to help you through this processs.
First all real estate agents are not Realtors! Only Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service, have a code of ethics which they must follow and have to pay for the priviledge to be a member. If the member does not follow the code of ethics he can be fined or removed from the group.
Next, are you full tine or a part time Realtor? You would be amazed by the number of people who have real estate licenses and work other jobs. Why should you care? Suppose your dream home comes on the market at an unbelievable price. You call your agent and he's at his other job. Someone else comes in and puts in an offer and it is accepted before you could reach your agent. Could happen. Also, if they are part-time are they really dedicated to the job?
Ask your friends, co-workers, and lenders who they would use. Call the recently sold homes and see who their Realtor was and if they are satisfied with the service they received.
Call the Realtors whose name came up and interview them. Ask them questions like: 1) What are you going to do for me if I decide to use you as my Realtor in the purchase/sale of a home 2) what can I expect from you 3) do you mostly work with Buyers or Sellers 4) Are you a fulltime agent or part time agent 5) Give me the name of 3-5 references that I can call 5) Do you offer Buyer Broker services? How long is the contract for? What if I am not happy with your service, can I cancel? 6) Am I expected to pay you any fees? Usually the seller pays the commission.
While you are doing this pay real attention to what they are saying or not saying. Are they listening? Do they seem knowledgeable? Are you comfortable asking them questions and are you happy with the answers you hear.
Call several. You might want to make out a list of questions and write the answers down to compare. Owning a home is a big investment! Happy Home Hunting!
Take your time, do your homework!