I was hoping to contact a few realtors so that they could keep an eye out for me in case something I need becomes available. Do I just call a few and take my chances?
Do you have any friends who have bought or sold a house recently? When we sold our house in 2009, we recommended the REA to other people we knew who were selling their houses.
I think word-of-mouth is one of the best ways for a REA to get more business.
I would call some of the better known companies and ask to talk to them. Set up meetings with 3 or so and see if you're comfortable with them. However, I should say (not just from personal experience) that their keeping an eye out for you these days when they (must) have a glut of properties to show everyone might not work out well for various reasons, and you might be better off either learning to use the MLS website yourself, followed up by calls to the agents listing the properties (what I think most of us do now), or else be prepared to call every day and face not being able to reach the agent(s), or trust that they'll call you if something comes up (but don't count on it because there are an awful lot of properties out there and the agents can't possibly remember much detail about any of them 'offhand', but must go through a ton of listings to find them... and very few can afford the time.
Thanks for quick responses... no I don't know anyone who has bought or sold recently. I see your point about realtors maybe having too many properties to look out for me, I just thought they might have few clients and time on their hands? If you mean Realtor.com, I tried using that and really didn't like it. I did find zillow real estate site that was much easier to use. I suppose I could just keep checking back for local neighborhoods that I am interested in.
I didn't realize there were so many properties on the market. I might find it easier to check myself.
You seem very new to the whole buying thing................I'd strongly suggest you do your homework before you go any further.
Make a list of what you need. A list of what you want. Figure out what you can afford, not what you think you can afford or what they tell you can afford. Go to some open houses. Read the old post here. There's lots of info to be learned.
I agree with Larke that there must just be too many props on the market right now in some regions for a buyer's agent to customize prospects for clients. The young couple who bought our home recently had just parted company with their agent of six months, after failing to find homes meeting their criteria in their price range. The guy went on the internet and found our place, called our agent, came out with his wife, and had an offer written in two days. He ended up using our agent as well (this worked out all right in our case, although I've seen the dark side of dual agency, too...), but claimed his first agent had never turned up our listing. I think it would have been difficult, if not impossible, with the gargantuan inventory in our county... although we did have very specific features the buyer was hunting for. In this market I do think you have to be responsible for the 'hunt' to a great extent, and not leave it, at least in the preliminary stages, to an agent you don't know.
On the other hand, you also have to be serious in your house-hunt. No one (and I'm especially talking about harried sellers who are sinking money, time and high hopes in listing their home)are going to be delighted to see a 'possible' buyer out touring homes he or she has no intention of buying. An agent may not be crazy about lining up dozens of properties to tour (and sending dozens of sellers running for their vacuum cleaners)unless they know you're a serious client, and not a recreational one.
There is no worse way to NOT get an agents loyalty then to have more than one agent working for you. We do not get paid for our time, we get paid for our results, and if we know there are 3 or 4 other agents just as likely to find you your home, none of them are going to be loyal to you.
Do this... call an agency in your area and ask to speak with the Broker In Charge. Ask her or him that you want to be connected with an experienced agent. Once you speak with that agent, be honest and tell him or her that you are in the preliminary stages of the home buying process, and that you need to be put on an automatic listing search that matches your criteria. These listings will be emailed directly to you THE DAY THEY COME ON THE MARKET! It is a win/win situation. You don't have to search everyday on those third party vendor sites that are not up to date, you become a mini expert after a while of seeing what is on the market, and when you do become ready to make that move, you know exactly what the market has to offer you. And your agent will not have to spend hours manually searching the MLS for someone who may or may not buy. Most of these auto listing searches let you save your favorites, delete ones you do not care for, and update you on price and status changes! Way more services than any of those third party sites can offer you.
I agree, start out with what you are looking for--on paper--and the approx price range you can afford. Neighborhood is important--children--school--shopping--rural--etc. Go to open houses--take pictures and notes. I would not expect any realtor just go out and look for me unless I knew exactly what I wanted and even then, I would expect to make some sort of commitment.
ncrealestateguy, that's excellent advice.
When I bought my first house last year, I kind of attached myself to a realtor for a few weeks. Didn't quite work out, didn't feel comfortable with her, decided I wanted to buy in a neighborhood she didn't feel comfortable in. So I moved on.
I then called a real estate brokerage company that specialized in urban housing and real estate. They set me up with someone who I loved - we told her what we wanted, she got us to go to some good houses. We had similar beliefs and outlooks on life. She worked hard for us. Etc. My intuition told me to stay with her, so I did.
I was a very hands-on home buyer so I did a ton of research and looks at countless properties on realtor.com. I finally found one, told my agent to set up a showing, went there, fell in love, and bought the house.
They are working for you so however you need the process to work, they will (or should) work with you. If you are not as "hands-on", then you need to find a realtor that is comfortable with finding properties that match your criteria and bringing them to your attention.
And, if you are working with a realtor, PLEASE, do not go off and make an offer on your house through the seller's listing agent and cut your realtor out of the deal - it's not right and I've heard it happen quite a few times. It shafts someone out of all their work.
The real work began (at least for us) with the negotiating process and all the way until closing...she definitely earned her paycheck. Sure, I was hands-on and found my own properties I wanted, but she did an EXCELLENT job of the whole entire process.
Most of the time finding the home is the easy part.
For those "special" clients, it is a must to have an agent that knows how to manipulate the search criteria to bring up properties that may have been entered into the system in a way as to not maximize it's exposure.
Also, if you have exhausted all of the Actives and still have not found the right home, ask your agent to pull up "Expireds" from the past 2 years that match your criteria. Most of these homeowners are willing sellers, and would be eager for an agent to appear on the front door with a potential buyer.
Yes, Carol, I haven't moved in 30 years. Good suggestion to make a list and be specific about the maximum amount you can afford.
Shenandoah, that's an interesting story. I wonder if a buyer's agent is at a disadvantage. What kind of arrangement do they have to split the commission with the seller's broker?
I'm not at the stage of actually looking at houses. I had in mind more just giving my name to a broker with the specifics and the price I was looking for just to keep in mind in case something like that became available. A casual arrangement, not asking them to go on a hunt for me. I feel I can determine whether there is something on the market, now, that I am looking for. I don't think there is right now, but I am still checking out listings.
I was always under the impression that when new properties become available in a realtor's office, the broker's in that office get first crack at showing them to their current clients before they're even put on the MLS listing. Sometimes even selling beforehand. Especially a good property. That was the reason I didn't want to rely solely on the listings.
Okay, I haven't had to look for property in 30 years, but really I don't think I've said anything to make anyone assume, that I am a 'recreational' buyer, ready to have realtors running their legs off looking for properties for me when I'm not a serious buyer, ready to involve myself with 3 or 4 agents at a time......and krycek, really? To feel it necessary to caution me against doing something unethical like making an offer to the owner for a house that a realtor has shown me. Wow.
Really, take a look at this thread as a whole and see the 'tone' of the advice given me to a simple question. I am getting the impression everyone responding is pretty stressed out. I'm sure the market conditions are driving everyone crazy. Can I suggest that all of these cautions that you all feel are necessary to put out there, that maybe someone could put them in a FAQ section attached to the forum.
prairiemoon2 - krycek did not suggest that all in how I read it.
It sounds like you are not that familiar with the current real estate process and you are getting some good general advice from people to a very general question. Not what you asked for, but based on the response from you it seems that you could use some of the advice and maybe have some expand on it for your benefit to learn how things are working today.
prairiemoon2, krycek didnt caution you about making an offer to the owner. I think you read that wrong. Real Estate has changed significantly in 30 years. You would benefit from the services of a realtor. It sounds as if you really have no idea how real estate is done these days.
I was always under the impression that when new properties become available in a realtor's office, the broker's in that office get first crack at showing them to their current clients before they're even put on the MLS listing
This is illegal in my area. Listings MUST be put into the MLS system with 24 hours of signature on the listing contract.
It sounds as if you want a home in a few very specific neighborhoods. This is a very easy search that any realtor can do for you. You will only be emailed if a home is listed in that particular neighborhood. You can read the listing, drive by the house, if its something you want to see, then you can call the realtor who emailed you. Its really quite simple.
Blueheron gave me great advice, simple straight forward. Although I am not in a position to use it.
Not a thing wrong with the advice or the 'tone' larke gave me.
Carol's advice was right on the money.
The story shenandoah told was helpful. The caution about being a 'recreational' buyer, could have been worded better.
Nothing wrong with Marie's advice either
NCrealestateguy, gave very helpful advice that was straightforward, had no 'tone' to it.
I appreciated the personal experiences that krycek offered in his post, but I really felt to say
".....PLEASE don't go off and make an offer on a house through a seller's listing agent...."
was not even polite. It was insulting. If you don't see how that is insulting, fine, but let's just stop there and drop it.
Linda, as I've said, I haven't had to use a realtor in 30 years. Yes, I am sure there is a lot that has changed. No, I wasn't aware that it was actually illegal for a seller to list with an independent broker or why a property is 'required' to be listed on an MLS listing, but that's a subject for a different thread.
So did I read what krycek said incorrectly? I suppose it is possible, was he or wasn't he telling me not to be dishonest or unethical in my dealings with real estate brokers? If not, then what was said, needs to be clearer.
I'm sorry, but I really wanted to find out how to distinguish a good realtor from one that was not as good and how to find a good one. I saw that as a starting point for me. While I did get some advice that answered that question, I'm also getting advice on how to be a good client to a realtor. That's okay too, I just thought it could have been worded better in a couple of instances.
Well I see the "how to be a good client" really is important to "how to find a good Realtor". If you're not a good client then you'll likely never feel you got a good Realtor either.
Krycek's advice was how to be a good client and to not make a mistake that is easily made by many. The way the majority of agent's get paid are through commission from the sale of a home. The listing agent (seller's agent) will always get their commission. If you have a buyer's agent they may or may not get the commission based on what you as a buyer do.
If you go and view a house without the agent you are working with and that agent hasn't already agreed with the agent showing you the house how he/she will be getting paid in the majority of locations in the US the agent you normally use will not get paid and the commission goes to the agent showing the house. It is an easy mistake many buyers make.
BTW you said you'd never go around the agent and make an offer to the sellers, that is not what krycek said as you quoted in your second post on this. There is a big difference there.
30 years ago, who received the commission was agreed upon in a contract between the owner and the listing broker. The listing broker and the brokers showing the property worked out who got what portion of the commission and it had nothing to do with the buyer. It was very well organized and agreements between different brokers in a town were in effect and everyone knew what to expect and everyone was covered. It was not the responsibility of the buyer to make sure any broker got their correct portion of the commission. There were few buyer's brokers at that time. It was almost unheard of. So, how the commission is worked out when a buyer's broker is involved, would be new to me.
I didn't even realize when I asked my question, that you might answer in regard to finding a 'buyer's broker'. I was thinking of working with a broker who represented the seller but sought buyers for those properties. So, if that changes the question I asked, then maybe I need to be directed to information about whether to work with a seller's broker or a buyer's broker. Are buyer's brokers that common?
Just another tiny tip - when you're figuring out what you can afford, take away some of it ($5,000. for a new house, $10,000. or more for an older one) to have for fixing it up... even changing a kitchen counter can be expensive, never mind a more major redo of an older place, and DON'T tell the agent about that money. DO tell them your absolute ceiling for buying and not to bother showing you anything above that (unless of course it's your dream house, only a little above your ceiling and you think you can get it to come in under that).
It's not really your responsibility to make sure the buyer's agent (your buyer's agent) gets the proper commission...they work it out in the contract according to local custom. I believe mine got 3.5% and the seller's agent then got 3.5%.
I didn't feel it was necessary to "caution you" to it, and I didn't think what I said was offensive, but I didn't know if you had worked with a buyer's agent before - and it's a mistake some buyers, especially first time buyers, make. They certainly don't do it on purpose, it just happens.
Any time I found a house on realtor.com I liked, or any time her automated suggestions came by in my email and I found one I liked, I had her set up a showing for the house, because after all, she was my agent. I never once had any direct contact with sellers or their agents.
The real pudding in the mix though was during negotiations - I would have NEVER got through negotiations without her.
You definitely want a buyer's realtor/broker to represent you throughout the process. Many realtors have "both hats" on - they list houses as a listing agent/sellers agent and also have clients that are looking for homes and they act as buyer's agents. There are some that specialize in each thing but many do both.
For example, my buyer's agent had quite a few houses listed and acted as a seller's agent for them.
Call 3 or 4 realtors and tell them what you are looking for and see how well they respond. Do they actually know the area, homes, market etc?....
IMO, hiring a listing agent to write you up a contract and to provide due diligence, and to research the property in question for you is like walking into a courtroom as a defendant and using the prosecuting attorney to represent your best interests. Hire a buyers agent that represents your best interests, not the sellers best interests.
As far as how to determine a good agent, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Can we communicate together efeectively?
2. Does the person seem trustworthy?
3. Do we share some common values?
Choose the agent that gives you 3 "Yes" answers to these questions. Good luck.
Thanks for that clarification, krycek. Evidently the buyerÃ¢ÂÂs agent in the mix has confused me and I think I did misunderstand what you said. Sorry about that.
Thanks totsuka and NCrealestateguy.
From what you are all saying, IÃ¢ÂÂm going to have to adjust my thinking to the buyerÃ¢ÂÂs agent and give it some more thought.
Larke, I didn't mean to skip over you, that was a good idea too. I wouldn't have thought of that and it makes a lot of sense.
I also think I need to read some of the posts on the forum and get a better idea of what's been going on with everyone whose been looking for a house or trying to sell a house. I might have been trying to go too fast, always a bad idea. [g]
Thank you all for the help! This is a busy forum.
I'll ad my input to the mix.
I do use the LA to buy property directly. I have no problem knowing the LA has two clients (seller/buyer). I do agree if you are inexperienced buying property you may need your own buyer's agent, but for me it is just another person to work with. It is easier to cut out one person and deal directly with the LA as I am able to get more information about the seller directly.
I would be very leary signing a buyer's agreement with a buyer's agent, don't get locked in with someone you don't like.
I do agree if you contact an agent, asking him/her to send you listings, show you property, then go direct to the LA, it is bad form. I don't contact agents for a general showing of area properties.