Selecting a Realtor
One of the first steps in the process of buying a home is finding a Realtor that suites your needs.
An exclusive buyer agency agreement normally ties you to one agent. That means in some cases you may owe the agent a commission even if you switch to another agent or agency. A non exclusive buyer agency lets you have multiple buyer agents without altering standard contracts, but some agents won't work in that capacity.
Your agent should be someone you can trust and feel comfortable with.
Home buyers should be able to expect loyalty and confidentiality from a buyer's agent.
Your agent should promote your best interests and provide you with all available facts that could influence your decision about making an offer for a home.
A buyer's agent will offer research that pertains to specific properties in order to help you make an offer.
A buyer's agent will typically give you the "what if" scenarios about a contract. The agent may recommend additional contract contingencies to protect your interests.
A buyer's agent should track and handle many of the day-to-day needs required to get to closing (inspections, helping you find a lender, tracking the progress of the loan, working with the closing attorney or officer, etc.).
So how do you find a great agent?
Experienced buyer's agents can offer many insights, but don't discount a new agent. They usually aren't working with as many clients, so they have a lot more time to spend with each one.
Don't grill an agent with pat questions. Having a real conversation is a much better way to find out if your personalities match.
If an agent exerts more pressure than you're comfortable with, move on.
An agent should pay attention to what you say about your needs and wants.
An agent should be responsive to calls or emails.
An agent should take time to answer your questions.
Signing an Agency Agreement
A buyer agency agreement is a legal contract between you and the agent. Make sure you understand every clause of the contract before you sign.
A buyer agency agreement is negotiable. If you are uncomfortable with the effective dates or any clause requested by the agent, say so, and ask the agent to work with you to develop an agreement you are both happy with.
Will the agent be paid from the seller's commission at closing? Are there instances when that wouldn't happen? For instance, will you owe the agent a commission if you decide to purchase a for sale by owner home?
Is the contract an exclusive agreement, binding you to that agent only, or a non-exclusive agreement, which allows you to work with other agents?
How long does an exclusive buyer agency agreement commit you to working with that agent?
How will the agent represent you if you decide to make an offer on one of her own listings or a listing within her office?
Does the agency agreement cover any real estate you purchase, or only a specific type?
Is the agreement specific to one city or county, or does it cover real estate purchased in any area? (You might want to work with multiple agents if you cannot find one who is familiar with all areas you are considering.)
There are lots of good agents out there, so take some time to find someone you can work with. You'll have a gut instinct that just feels right when you've found the best agent for you