The third step in Oklahoma Mortgage Bank’s “Ten Steps to Homeownership” is to find a real estate agent. The decision to buy a home is probably one of the most important financial decisions most of us make; however, we often put very little, if any thought into selecting the real estate agent that best suits our needs. There are currently over two million people in the United States who have earned their real estate licenses. While the real estate business may seem simple, buying and selling real estate is actually an extremely complex matter. There is much more to the process than just looking at local online picture books of properties and prices because every property is unique in some way, shape or form. Every home is different, as are their contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Choosing the right real estate agent in the beginning can save you time and effort in finding your future home at a price you can afford.
Ask your friends for referrals.
Although we do not suggest selecting a real estate agent solely based on your friend’s experiences, their recommendation will provide you with a starting point. A friend’s referral will give you some knowledge about the agent’s personality and while our team of experts do not suggest going with an agent based on just personality alone, you do want an agent that you get along with and can work with.
Select the real estate agency or broker first.
Choose a real estate agency or broker that has a good reputation within the community. Once you have selected the agency, ask them to recommend a couple of their best agents. Beware choosing a real estate company or broker based solely on their national reputation and advertisement campaign. It is important to note that just because a real estate company or broker is well-known nationally, does not mean the particular community branch of the company is strong.
Consider choosing an agent who is a Realtor.
Both real estate agents and Realtors are licensed by the state to sell real estate. However, Realtors
belong to the National Association of Realtors, a group of approximately one million brokers and salespeople bound together by a strict code of ethics, extensive training and an abundance of community information. Realtors also have access to something called Multiple Listing Services (MLS), a service that allows members to share listings and have access to several more properties than non-members. Click here to locate a Realtor in your area.
Steer clear of “dual agencies.”
Dual agencies are real estate agencies that represent both the buyer and the seller. The reason we advise clients to steer clear of these types of agencies is because it is difficult for one person to equally represent both sides of the process.
Go with an agent that handles properties in your price range.
Some real estate agents specializing in high properties won’t give their best effort on properties under a set value. Also, a real estate agent who typically specializes in fixer-uppers probably isn’t best suited for helping you purchase a high-end property.
Choose an agent who is willing to walk you through every step.
Real estate transactions can be difficult and the terminology confusing. It is extremely important, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer, to find an agent who is willing to walk you through and carefully explain each step of the real estate transaction. While it is important to find a well-trained, professional agent, you want a person whose personality you like and feel comfortable around.
Select an agent who is willing to work with your schedule.
If you are only available to look at homes on nights and weekends, then find an agent who is willing to show you properties and meet with you at those times. If an agent tells you that they do not work when you need them, take your business elsewhere.
Choose an agent who is willing to go above and beyond.
Is the real estate agent willing to arrange a home inspection for you? Can they refer you to a
qualified lending professional or real estate attorneys?