Choosing the right real estate agent to represent you as your buyer’s agent is one of the most important steps in the home buying process.
While you will likely only go through the buying process a handful of times in your lifetime, your agent is immersed in the industry and the process every day. They can guide you through the steps necessary to identify your home of choice, submit a successful offer, work through the financing and contingency processes, and bring you to the closing table to place the keys in your hand.
Before you start looking at homes, you’ll want to interview a few different agents. You want to find an agent that you connect well with and that has the expertise to help you reach your personal homeownership goals. Getting a personal recommendation from a friend or relative is a great way to get started. But finding the agent you want to work with means getting to know a few agents, asking questions and looking for a good fit.
What Questions Should I Ask the Agents I Interview?
There are lots of things that you can ask when you interview prospective agents to figure out if you want to work with them. Here are some to get you started:
- How many years have you been in real estate?
- What percentage of your business is working with buyers vs. listing homes for sale?
- What kind of availability do you have: what schedule do you keep? Do you have time available that matches with our schedule?
- If you’re not available/on vacation/out of town for a period of time, do you work with anyone who would step in to help us during that time?
- How do you like to communicate? Are you an email, text, or phone call person?
- What are the current market conditions for buyers in our area? How will that affect my plans and goals?
- Do you practice dual agency? (Meaning, do you ever represent the seller and the buyer in the same transaction?)
- If so, how often does that happen? And do you currently have any listings that match our search criteria?
- How many homes have you sold in the neighborhoods and areas we are searching in?
Making a Commitment
Whether you meet them for coffee or do a zoom meeting, you should have a good idea after chatting about who will be the best fit. Once you’ve chosen your agent, you can then start working together in your home search. Your agent will likely send you email updates as homes that fit your criteria become available. Your agent may ask you to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement, that formalizes your relationship, details their responsibilities to you, and spells out how the agent will be compensated at closing. These agreements typically last for the length of time you are searching for your home, and can be ended before you are under contract to purchase if you are unhappy with your agent’s performance.
Getting started in the home buying process can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. If it’s your first time buying a home, you may not be sure where to start! Don’t worry, though, we are going to explain everything about the home buying process, step by step. You can find all of the articles here, on our Navigating the Home Buying Process page.