Thursday, May 8, 2008

First-Time Homebuyer - Part Two

There are two people you want to get working for you right away as a first-time homebuyer: first, a qualified licensed Realtor and second, a loan officer.

It is very important when choosing a Realtor that you ask a number of questions including:

  1. Are they a buyer's agent, a seller's agent, or a dual agent? (See below for an explanation.)
  2. How well do they know the area where you are looking?
  3. Do they work on weekends?
  4. Will they work with your schedule?
  5. How long have they been a Realtor?
  6. Do they specialize in a certain type of property (e.g, farms, first-time homebuyers, downsizers, commercial, growing families)?
You should communicate to your Realtor what is the best way to contact you, whether by email, cell phone, work phone, or home phone. It is also very important to meet with the agent in person to make sure that you are comfortable with him/her, that you think alike, and that he/she is approachable. Remember you may be working with this person for a long time and you want to be able to trust that he/she is working for you at all times.

Now an explanation of the types of agents:

Buyer's Agent - This agent is working for you and you alone. They will generally be paid only after the closing and will split the commision with the seller's agent. Also, in most cases the seller pays the commision. The agent should not disclose any information about you to the seller or to the seller's agent.

Seller's Agent - This is the listing agent and has been contracted by the sellers to list their property for sale. This agent should likewise not disclose any information to the buyer or to the buyer's agent.

Dual Agent - This is an agent that will be working for both the buyer and the seller. This often happens when the agent has shown a house to a buyer that he has also listed for the seller. The critical point here is that this agent cannot disclose information to either party about the other.

A Realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the NAR (National Association of Realtors) and has adopted the NAR code of ethics and practice standards. He/she has taken the required hours of classes to qualify to take the state and federal tests and then pass them.

For more information on why it is important to work with a Realtor, check one of my earlier posts in this blog or leave me a comment or question.