How to Choose the Best Real Estate Agent
Real Estate agents have a wide range of expertise and approaches to real estate purchases. Finding an agent you can trust, will listen to your needs, and will work to find you a home will create a strong relationship. Purchasing a home can last anywhere from 30 days to 6 months or longer. This is a relationship that is very important because the home purchase is usually the most expensive purchase you have ever made. Finding an agent who understands your needs will provide a smooth experience.
An Agent You Can Trust
Intimate discussions about your financial circumstances are generally reserved for the lender, however, the ability to be open with your real estate agent will save time and keep your search focused. Common questions that impact your home search might include: Will your family be expanding? Do you anticipate needing room to care for aging parents? How long of a commute is acceptable? Do you enjoy doing home repairs, yard work, or gardening? Do you want a large back yard for children to play or will close proximity to a local park do?
These types of questions are very personal but will guide the agent to find homes that meet your needs. The vaguer you are, the more likely you will see a lot of listings that are not contenders. The better your agent understands your family dynamics, the better they will be able to find you the right home.
An Agent Who Listens
Perhaps the most important quality of a real estate agent is one who listens. They can help you sift through your must-have list and connect it with the inventory of homes currently on the market. As a new physician, or one still in residency, your first home purchase will not have everything you dream of. A good agent will take time to understand your wants and needs and help you identify which ones are most important. Purchasing a home has tradeoffs. A larger lot, for example, may require a longer commute. A home close to downtown, may mean smaller square footage or fewer modern amenities. Price will be based on location and amenities with budgets and priorities dictating which tradeoffs you are willing to make and the order of priorities. An agent who helps you establish realistic expectations will also be able to help you find a home you love.
An Agent Who Works to Find a Home
Every buyer hopes to locate the perfect home on the first day. The reality is that it often takes much longer. Having an agent who respects the price range your lender has discussed and is persistent in looking for homes, will find success. Good agents communicate with listing agents and know which homes are coming on the market. This can give you a first look at new listings and help you put an offer on the right home when it becomes available. They can also help you tweak your must-have list to meet the housing inventory available.
Stays in Contact after the Contract is Signed
Once an offer has been accepted you will have a lot of contact with the lender. However, you want to stay in contact with your real estate agent as well, because there is still a lot to be done before the closing. The agent can arrange for you to be present during the inspection and other key elements of the underwriting process. They will continue to be a liaison between you and the seller for any information the lender needs or questions that come up that can impact the sale.
Finding an agent who understands your needs will reduce stress and create a smoother buying experience. Agents are also an invaluable resource when it comes to contacts and information needed to help you settle into your new home and new city.