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What is the best way to go about selecting an agent to assist me with my search to purchase a home?

Due to this winter being so bad I really haven't been searching for a home to purchase as often as I would have liked. I don't have an agent and have not gone through a pre-approval process. I am currently renting and my lease is up at the end of May. I know that time is drawing close and if need be I can extend on my lease on a month to month basis for an extra fee. Every home I have found on zillow or realtor.com that I've liked were contingent in the first few days they were up. Since this will be my first home purchase, I am not educated in all of the ins and outs of purchasing a home and would like to know the best way to find an agent that will be honest and helpful to guide me through this process. Thank you in advance.
 
  • March 27 2014 - South Fayette Township
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for ABR CRS CNE
I think Dorene's advice below is solid but I would like to take it one step further.  
   I recommend you look for an Exclusive Buyer's Agent who services the area you desire to purchase a home in - by googling each town, state seperately with the words 'Exclusive Buyer Agents" (or Agent) and interview at least 3 different ones that service town(s) you desire to determine which one will be the best fit for you.  You want someone to work with you that has your best interest in mind 100% of the time.  Good Luck.
  • March 30 2014
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 There are Realtors who have taken the time to further their education in "Buyer Agency". I would recommend you take a look at that website. It's rebac.net.
  • March 29 2014
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Make sure the agent you chose knows the area you want to buy in. Also make sure it is an agent that understands first time buyers and their concerns. Having an agent that can teach/coach you through the whole transaction will give you piece of mind. Ask friends and family who they have used and if that still doesn't lead you to the right fit go to the reviews of the Zillow agents in your area and see what others are saying about them. Feel free to interview different buyers agents to make sure you are compatible.

Good luck and happy house hunting :)
  • March 28 2014
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The most important factors, in my view, are:

1. The agent knows the area and property types that interest you. (Competency)
2. The agent has time to work on your behalf (Availability)
3. The agent is eager / excited / at least welcomes the opportunity to work for you (Interest)

It is essential that you communicate well with your agent, and in addition to Tim's advice, I suggest visiting open houses and look to find three agents meet these qualifications before deciding.

The vast majority of real estate problems are tied to communication, so pick wisely.

As far as whether it is a financial or lifestyle choice, I am on the side that purchasing a home is more of a lifestyle decision than a financial one. I, myself, would look for an agent that could help me understand the practicalities of particular home styles, floor plans, neighborhoods, et cetera. My feeling is that if you buy a house, you should enjoy living in it! If you want to invest in real estate, you CAN find better returns in houses that aren't quite as nice to live in.

All the best,
  • March 28 2014
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Profile picture for user6675881
Thank you for the information
  • March 28 2014
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Probably the quickest and least risky path is to ask around and see who your friends, relatives and co-workers might recommend.  Then check them out on the internet and either talk to them in person or at least on the telephone.  I would look for experience, patience and someone I feel that it's easy to talk to.
  • March 28 2014
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Your best bet is to do the research to understand the process and the market before you ever contact an agent. Beyond that find an agent that will work exclusively in a buying/purchasing capacity for you, and does not promote that buying is a lifestyle decision over a financial decision (it's both, but an agent working in your interest will concentrate on the financial aspect and allow you to handle the lifestyle aspect on your own). Buying a property is a huge financial decision and potential risk, treat it as such.
  • March 27 2014
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