These days most people start their home buying search by looking at sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, or Trulia. That’s completely understandable, but when you are ready to move beyond the searching phase to the purchasing phase, the first thing to do is hire a Realtor to represent you and advocate on your behalf.
Search engines are fun while you are looking, but tedious when you’re seriously trying to find your next home. The sites aren’t 100% accurate, because listings that were never in the BLC (Broker Listing Cooperative), such as pocket listings or For Sale by Owner properties, will be missing. Sites aren’t always up to date, either. A property might show as still ‘Active’ on Zillow, even though it sold months ago.
How do you find a good Realtor? Hopefully, you’ll connect with me so we can see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people.
You need to find someone who is not only great at his or her job but someone you like and trust, as you’re going to be spending a lot of time with that person.
First, see if you click. If so, you need to determine if that person has the experience, customer service skills, and understanding of the market that you’re looking for.
Notice how quickly each Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email. The Realtor should get back to you within 24 hours; if not, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast, and deals can fall apart if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf during negotiations.
Second, understand how to work with a Realtor. See Working with Real Estate Agents.
Third, expect to sign a buyer representation agreement. Legally, before you disclose confidential information to your Realtor, you should have a signed buyer representation agreement. It helps to ensure that your private information will be kept confidential.