Using a buyer’s agent offers home buyers several significant advantages, such as peace of mind, connections and professional network, negotiating skills, and ability to handle obstacles. Still, you do need to do some research before signing a contract with a buyer’s agent. You can’t just pick a name at random from a real estate sign. So here’s how to choose a Houston buyer’s agent.
When looking for a Houston buyer’s agent, you will, first of all, keep an eye out for certain warning signs and avoid those agents who throw up these red flags. According to a U.S.News article, here are some of the main things to look out for when choosing a buyer’s agent:
Most of the time and in most cases, you’ll want to avoid dabblers and dilettantes. You need a true professional who is heavily invested in the real estate business. If you’re buying, you need a Houston buyer’s agent who stays on top of new listings and can show them to you right away.
LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OF LOCAL REAL ESTATE LANDSCAPE
You should also avoid any Houston buyer’s agent who isn’t extremely familiar with the neighborhood you’re interested in. This is especially true in areas where a block or two can mean a difference of several thousand dollars in the purchase price.
LITTLE EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR TARGET PROPERTY
It’s also important to have an agent who has extensive experience with the kind of property you are interested in. You wouldn’t, for example, want to work with a buyer’s agent who specializes in investment properties if you are looking for a home to live in.
DOESN’T WORK WITH BUYERS IN YOUR PRICE RANGE
You also need to make sure your Houston buyer’s agent has experience working with homes and buyers in your price range. An agent who works only with high-end luxury homes may not know much about the kind of home you can afford.
Those are the warning signs, and here are the desirable characteristics you should look for when choosing an agent:
WILLINGNESS TO EXPLAIN CLEARLY
Because a real estate transaction can involve a lot confusing jargon and technical financial and legal terms, your Houston buyer’s agent, then, should have the ability as well as the willingness to explain all this to you understandable layman’s terms.
EXPERIENCE WITHIN YOUR NICHE
Your buyer’s agent will also have niche knowledge and experience. She must fully understand and have her finger on the pulse of your particular market.
INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS AND PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
Real estate deals involve much more than the buyer, the seller, and the agent, spreading out to include, for example, the seller’s agent, inspectors, appraisers title officers, loan officers, real estate attorney, and more. So your buyer’s agent should have plenty of quality connections within the industry.
You and your Houston buyer’s agent must also be personally compatible. You are entering into a reciprocal business relationship with your agent, so you must be able to get along well, and there should be a good amount of alignment with respect to goals and methods.
Your Houston buyer’s agent must also be honest – even when that means pointing out to you less- than-pleasant truths. “A good real estate agent is an honest and genuine person. His/her approach should always be consultative, not commercial” (PropertyFinder).
So you need to be on the lookout for warning signs, as well as checking out prospective agents’ desirable characteristics. Here, then, are the areas you need to cover when you have that all-important interview:
As we mentioned, personal compatibility is an important element of a successful relationship with your agent. So make sure to ask the questions that dig into that area. Think about traits that are important to you – such as, organization and punctuality – and then tailor interview questions accordingly.
EXTENT OF EXPERIENCE
A brand-new agent can certainly do a good job, but it’s a safer bet to go with the Houston buyer’s agent who has years of experience. The more transactions a prospective agent has handled and the more unexpected situations she has had to deal with, the likelier it is your agent will have the insights and experience to help you get the house you want at the price you need.
Perhaps most important for a Houston buyer’s agent is that essential niche experience. So be sure to ask the agent if she has extensive experience in the area and neighborhood where you’re looking to buy. And, as we indicated earlier, you need to find out if she has experience handling the kind of property you are looking for.
Certainly, knowing how to choose a Houston buyer’s agent is important. But where and how do you begin your search?