Choosing a REALTOR
Once you have made the decision to purchase or sell a home, the next step is to find a real estate agent who will best represent you! Before working with a real estate broker, you should know that the duties of a broker depend on whom the broker represents. There are 2 sides to every transaction. It is similar to an athletic contest, where there are 2 coaches and a referee. In most transactions the buyer has a coach(a buyer's agent), and the seller has a coach(the listing agent). In some cases a referee(an intermediary) handles both sides of the transaction for the buyer and seller and treats both sides honestly and fairly. The seller typically pays all broker fees,as described in their listing agreement. Buyers typically get their "coach" or buyer's agent at no cost.
If the Broker represents the Buyer:
Some prospective home buyers do not feel it is necessary to sign a buyer representation agreement with one broker/realtor to represent them. They feel like they can get a better deal through the listing agent. Calling listing agents off yard signs is a lot harder way to buy a house and sometimes more expensive. In Texas buyers can have buyer representation and allow one broker/realtor represent them on any property. However, many buyers do not understand that the LISTING AGENT WORKS solely on behalf of, and in the BEST INTEREST of the home SELLER. Therefore, it is essential that the BUYER seek out and find a BUYER'S AGENT that will best meet their needs.
A BUYER'S AGENT WORKS SOLELY ON BEHALF OF THE BUYER! The buyer's agent will assist their client in the negotiation of the terms of a contract. In addition, they will gather information on zoning issues, past tax data, schools and community services, and any other information deemed necessary by the buyer before making the decision to extend an offer on a home. The buyer's agent has a fiduciary and confidential obligation to the BUYER!
Many prospective home buyers have the misconception that once they begin working with an agent, he/she represents the buyer. However, this is not always the case. Unless there is a signed Buyer's Representation Agreement, the agent that is working with the buyer still represents the seller's interests in the transaction. Without the agreement, there is certain information that the agent cannot disclose to the prospective buyer:
· The reason that the owner is selling the property, days on market, history of the property,etc.
· Any concessions that the seller is willing to negotiate.
· Any conversations between the seller and the agent.
· Any disclosed information that would harm the seller and/or give the buyer an advantage in the contract negotiations.
Normally, there are no extra costs associated with signing a Buyer's Representation Agreement. Any commissions paid to agents in a sales transaction are ALMOST ALWAYS paid at closing by the seller.
If the Broker represents the Seller:
This agent solely represents the seller. By default,an agent will represent the home seller unless there is a signed Buyer's Representation Agreement with the buyer.
When looking for an agent to work with, it is best to interview a minimum of 2 to 3 real estate agents before making your final decision. Ask friends and relatives for names that they would recommend.
Below is a list of questions that may help you in deciding on which agent will best meet your needs:
· How long have you been in the Real Estate Business?
· How familiar are you with the area? How long have you lived in the area? How long have you sold houses in this area?
· Do you work with more sellers or buyers?
· How many homes did you sell last year?
· What is your list to sell price ratio and what are your average days on market?
How do you plan on marketing or promoting my home? What do you do differently? Do you help the seller prepare the home to show? Do you give feedback from showings?
· Can you provide me with names and phone numbers of some of your most recent clients who would be willing to give me a reference (if this agent has not already been referred to you by a friend or family member)?
When selecting a real estate agent to represent your interests, it is important to find an agent that you trust and feel comfortable with. Remember, this is probably the biggest sales transaction you will have in your life, so it is important to work with someone that you are sure will get you the best offer!
If the Broker is working with the Buyer and Seller:
The broker may act as an Intermediary between the parties. The broker must obtain written consent of each party to act as an intermediary. The broker must treat each party HONESTLY and FAIRLY. THE BROKER MAY NOT DISCLOSE ANYTHING CONFIDENTIAL FROM THE BUYER OR SELLER UNLESS AUTHORIZED IN WRITING.
What to Look for in an Agent
In addition to finding a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with and whom you trust, make sure that he/she is a dedicated FULL-TIME PROFESSIONAL!
DOES THE REALTOR HAVE A PERSONALLY PROVEN TRACK RECORD OR DO THEY SIMPLY TELL YOU WHAT THEIR COMPANY HAS DONE?
They should be familiar with the area. Not only should they be familiar with the housing market, but also with area churches, schools, clubs, and parks.
Also, look for an agent that is a licensed REALTOR®. REALTORS® are individuals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), and must adhere to its strict code of ethics. Also, it is important that they regularly obtain continuing education and professional designations, such as Broker,etc.
By following these guidelines, your home buying or selling experience should be a pleasant one!