How to choose an Agent in Todays Market

 

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June 07 2010 - Morningside - Lenox Park
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Interview several. Make a list of questions to ask. You want an agent that tis knowledgeable in your area. You also want them to understand the current real estate market and an agetn that is up on technology. Much like the car buying industry the way people buy homes has changed.
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June 07 2010
Designations are also another way you can distinguish the abilities of agents.  Some agents are allowed to print letters behind their name.  If you google Real Estate Agent designations then you will be able to see some of the options agents have to further their knowledge regarding different aspects of Real Estate.  These designations also come up if you look up agents at realtor.com and other sights.  For instance I have achieved the designation of GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) and SFR (Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource).  Theses designations speak toward my abilities and some of the knowledge I can use to help assist my buyers and sellers.
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June 07 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
I would not focus on designations myself. Instead, I would call several agents in your area, ask them questions, get a a feel for their style/experience and look for someone who is honest. This article here might help you get a question list together about what is important to you in an agent. Most of all trust your gut. If you don't like an agent or get a feeling of being rolled over or pushed, thank them and look for another agent to interview. A good agent will listen to what you are looking for and answer questions honestly.
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June 07 2010
Go with who you feel comfortable and make sure they answer your questions with real and direct answers.
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June 07 2010
Contact a Realtor© and make sure your personalities mesh.

A person you can work with and one that represents your interest.

Good Luck!

James Callas - Realtor©
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June 07 2010
Interview at least 3. You want someone who knows the areas that you're interested in. Also, you want to use someone that you like and feel comfortable around. You'll have a lot of contact with your agent so there needs to be some rapport there. Get face-to-face with a few agents and see what they know and how they present themselves.

Good luck! :-)
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June 07 2010
You are looking for a combination of skills, trust, and relationship. 

It is someone you are likely to spend some time with, so you need to be comfortable with the person. 

You need to trust the individual, as they are going to assist you in one of the most significant financial decisions in your life. 

They need to have the skills to select and present properties to you, educate you about the homes and the area, and you need to be confident they can prepare contracts and negotiate on your behalf.

Creating a set of questions that you use for interviewing agents is helpful, but you need to try and hit on all of the areas above to ensure the relationship will carry you through the entire process. 

It's not about how many homes they've sold, but rather about how well they are going to represent you.
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June 08 2010
Interview a few and go with which one you feel most comfortable with. You want to make sure they are going to live up to your expectations and be available to you. Also check with your friends or family and see if they know of someone they have previously used.
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June 08 2010

Initially, you may want to phone interview several Realtors and make a decision on the ones you might want to meet with in person to determine the professional you would be most comfortable working with and providing you and enjoyable experience whether you're buying or selling a home.

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June 08 2010
ask the same question to 3 or 4 of them and see how they respond and how fast they respond.  Try to find out whether they seem to care about you and and are willing to earn your loyalty.  Ask them to send you listings.  If the listings are all theirs or from their own company, this could say a lot about their priorities.  Go to their websites and see whether they have any testimonials.  And by all means, check those designations.  An educated realtor is your best realtor.  I would not trust someone who does not want to invest in themselves.  The Real Estate industry is changing at a very rapid pace and if you don't get educated, you just shoot from the hip.  Hire a pro. 
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June 08 2010
Profile picture for dacolan
Competence, experience and communication are all important, but designations and the fact a RE pro regularly pays dues to the NAR cartel is meaningless to me.

But the most important quality to me above all is honesty. Some of the best advice I've received over the years (much of which I picked up on Zillow, FWIW):

If they quote Yun, Lereah, or any NAR talking points, politely thank them for their time and end the interview.

Ask them to do something they shouldn't; like give you an appraisal of the current market and their best projection of what to expect. Even when they are well intentioned, most are not qualified/licensed investment advisers. Caveat emptor.

Have them perform a CMA on an active property currently on the market that you've done your own due diligence on, ask them to tell you what factors they would consider if you were to make an offer and have them explain it to you.

Line up a RE lawyer, and tell "your" RE agent that you'll be getting a second, legal opinion before any important decision or document signing.  Note look on Realtor's face. 

Ideally you want a REA that is willing to give advice that's in your best interests even when it's not in theirs. Unfortunately, identifying a good agent requires you to educate yourself before the first interview.

Get referrals.
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June 08 2010
Speak to a few agents in your immeadiate area.  Choose the one that is knowledgeable of the area, familiar with the current market trend, works full time as a real estate professional, answers his/her phone and/or return calls Quickly.  Most important one that is truly honest with you.  Its also a good idea, to ask anyone you know for referrals of an agent they recently used which they would definetly use again.  But remember, you want an agent that will communicate with you regularly, so you must feel confortable with them.
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June 08 2010
Ssk your friends who they worked with and how they liked their agent.
Do a search on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com. 
Check out the agent's credentials on line--are they up on technology enough to serve you?   Are they so into technology they don't have time to show houses?
How many buyers do they work with at a time?  Will you be important enough to them for them to be available to you when you need them? 
Do they also serve sellers so they can better understand the negotiation process and get you your desired terms?
What special training do they have to help you? 
How many homes have they sold in the past few years?  If they have been successful lately, they know how to help you in today's market.
Do your personalities click?  Do they listen to you and respond by showing you the kinds of homes you want?
If these things are to your liking, you have found your agent!

Best of luck finding the right home for you!  It is a great time to buy!
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June 10 2010
In VT, over 95% of the Realtors try to represent both Buyers and Sellers.  However, once an Agent takes a Listing, the entire Agency with all of the Brokers/Agents/Teams now have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the Seller.  As Exclusive Buyer Agents for Vermont Real Estate we are Realtors who only represent Buyers, we never represent Sellers.  There is never any doubt as to whose side of the negotiations we are on.
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July 16 2010
Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Here is a link to the VAR approved Buyer's Agent Contract used by John. If you read it, it does very little to actually protect the buyer's interests, it only protects the agent.

It also explicitly protects the agent's ability to continue to work as a listing agent.

It also explicitly disallows dual agency, but effectively has a forcing clause that makes the buyer enter into a "Limited Agency" agreement, superceding the Buyer Agency agreement, or the agent is allowed to unilaterally cancel the BA agreement.

Yep, no doubt whose side of the negotiations you are on...yours.
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July 16 2010
i am not responsible for links posted that purport to be my paperwork.  i will clarify any legitimate questions about my paperwork, but i will not post my contracts online for obvious reasons.
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July 16 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
The Vermont Association of Realtor approved EBA I posted earlier was posted simply as an example of an approved VAR contract. It was posted as an example not as the contract you use.

There is no need to post your specific agreement. However, if your contract varies substantially from the commonly used one that it would be helpful if you would explain the basic differences in the contract you use with your clients. I understand why a buyer's agent would want to protect themselves and their time from buyers jumping ship in the middle, but it makes me nervous to recommend that buyers sign a contract that provides no ability to cancel at a reasonable time if an agent is not doing a good job for them.
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July 16 2010
I really think you need to do some research on agents. If you don't have a friend that can give you a good referral that you need to check out agent web site to see what makes them different.
I would definately disagree with choosing an agent by there designations (or the little letters after there name). All that means is they paid for and took a course. If just like choosing to hireing someone for a job based solely on thier college GPA or what school they graduated from.
You really have to get along with your agent and believe that they are have your best interests in mind. Don't judge them on thier ads or what they drive or you might find yourself with less money in your pocket than you are due.
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July 16 2010
Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ John - On another thread, you stated...

"My paperwork is the standard approved by the VT Assoc of Realtors [VAR] that conforms to State Law."

When you refused to post an example, some of us went out and looked up the VAR example, which has an effective date of 7/1/95. Since you stated that your paperwork "is the standard approved...", it stands to reason that this is the form you use - your words. If you don't like how that form makes you look, put up the one you use that really provides some protections for both agent and buyer, not just the agent.

i am not responsible for links posted that purport to be my paperwork.  i will clarify any legitimate questions about my paperwork, but i will not post my contracts online for obvious reasons.

How can any legitimate questions about your paperwork be asked if you refuse to allow it to be reviewed? We're not talking international secrets, and you can even redact anything that identifies a specific fee or costs. We just asked to see how your agreement helps to protect/represent the buyer - per your assertions.

As you have found out, you can't just come on these forums, throw out some unsubtantiated assertions, and not expect to be challenged. Especially on something that has been hashed around quite a bit on these boards between agents and consumers.

As an add-on to how to find a realtor...
   - Find one that doesn't hide behind paperwork and double-talk.
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July 16 2010
 
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