Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Selecting the Best Home Buyer's Representative

In a recent blog,The Slippery Slope of Dual Agency, someone asked about how to select a Home Buyer's Representative? Once you decide to buy, it is important that you pick someone that is honest, trustworthy, and has your best interest at heart to help you. Meeting the representative and discussing the process is one way to select the best person for you.  Here are some criterias and questions to keep in mind when selecting the one:

Experience and Credentials. How long has the representative been in business? Is the agent a Realtor®? What professional organizations do they belong to? What other credentials or designations (ie. Accredited Buyer's Representative) do they hold?

Knowledge.What areas and neighborhoods do they work in? What types of property sales do they specialize in (residential, commercial, land)?

References. Ask about contacting previous clients for referrals. You may want to Google the Realtor®.

Representation. Ask the Representative to explain the definition of each agency and what is meant by fiduciary duties. Do they do dual agency?

Services Provided. Ask what type of services they offer? Do they use a written buyer representation agreements, detailing the obligations of the buyer and the Representative? It is important to have a clear understanding of what you expect out of them and what they expect out of you. Do they listen? Will they refer related service-providers such as lenders and home inspectors? Will they respond to your phone calls and emails within a certain time frame or at certain blocks of time in the day? Will you be dealing with the Representative or their assistant/Transaction Coordinator after the initial contract is accepted?

Finding Properties.  How will they assist you in finding homes? Some buyers like to look at all of the inventory, while others prefer the agent screens the homes narrowing down those they actually look at.
Do they have access to the full Multiple Listing Services? Will they set you up Internet homes searches?     When are they available to show you homes?

Negotiations. Will they educate you on the strategies of what to negotiate on, as well what contingencies will need to be released and when?

Compensation.  Most buyer's representative are compensated by the seller as part of the multiple listing agreement. However, it is always good to discuss other upfront costs you will expected to pay (ie. good faith deposit, home inspections, appraisals).  
While the Representative may not have perfect answers to every question, meeting them and discussing the process helps you in selecting a Home Buyer's Representative that you will have confidence in and trust to guide you through the process with your best interest at heart. 

Written by Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro, GRI®, SFR
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585