Home Buying: How To Select A Real Estate Agent

To be successful in home buying, hire a real estate agent, more specifically a realtor. They sell and list real estate for a living, and they can save you from liability as well as save you money in the long run. Real estate agents and realtors are one and the same. Realtors belong to the California Association of Realtors and pay dues to use the realtor name.

How to find the quality real estate agent

You can use online sources such as Redfin, Zillow or Trulia or try a Google search for “real estate agent and your city or county area.” You want to work with the pro. Someone who has at least several years experience in actively buying and listing real estate.

Avoid any part-time real estate agents, because real estate is not their profession. The professional real estate agent usually has a website as well as testimonials validating how good they are in their profession.

Ask around. Find out from your coworkers, or friends who helped them buy their house and what the experience was like. How did the individual help them buy the house? What did they do for them that made them so unique?

Note: not all real estate agents are the same, more specifically, some are geared towards listing a property or selling a property, many are both. For example, if you’re driving by a neighborhood and you see a real estate agent’s name and phone number on a sign, call them up and ask them if they deal primarily with listings or buyers. A true listing agent will refer you to their buyer’s agent who works for them on their real estate team.

Interview at least three real estate agents. This way you can make sure that you are making a smart choice based upon their level of expertise as well as their ability to present what they do in lockstep with your home buying goals and objectives.

Home Buying: Real Estate Agent questions you should ask each professional you interview:

1.How many houses did you sell last year? This is a key indicator of whether or not you’re dealing with someone who is part-time or full-time. This is also going to give you insight into whether not they are busy. You want to work with a realtor who is busy. A real estate agent who sells one low priced house every other month is going to be someone who is going to be more focused on putting you into any house because they need the business. You want to work with a realtor who is selling at least one house per month at the minimum. This is someone who is usually referral-based and takes their business very seriously and is a strong negotiator.

2. What percentage of your business is listing versus selling? simply put you want to work with someone who has a higher percentage of selling houses meeting representing buyers than people who are working for sellers’ listing property.

3. Why should I work with you? This question answers the burning question: “is this agent going to watch out for me?” This question provides you insight as to whether this is someone you can ultimately trust.

So how do I pay the real estate agent for finding a house for me to buy?

The short answer – you don’t, the seller does. Here’s how real estate agents are paid.

Seller’s lists house for sale for $300,000

Seller pays out 6% real estate commission

3% of the purchase price goes to listing agent representing seller

3% of the purchase price goes to selling agent representing buyer

As you can see the seller offers a total percentage of the sale of the house you are interested in buying. The real estate agents will split the total commissions.Your buyer’s agent representing you as a home buyer is paid after the house actually closes escrow. Your real estate agent’s commission is a factor of the final purchase price. Meaning the seller considers the purchase price as a factor in determining whether not to give you the opportunity to buy their house.