It’s finally time to buy a home! The first step is to find the perfect real estate agent. Your agent will determine the overall home buying experience and be important in guiding you towards a solid investment. With over 40,000 real estate agents in the Denver Metro area, how do you decide who to work with?
1.Gather recommendations from friends/coworkers/family.
2.Google each person and utilize reviews, blogs, and their website to select your top three choices. Check out their social media as well to make sure you would connect with them on a personal level.
3.Email your top three picks a list of questions (ideas below) to evaluate their Knowledge, Availability and Lifestyle + Communication Compatibility. Let them know you are interviewing multiple agents before making a decision.
4.Evaluate their responses and remember, people are predictable: If they are very slow to respond, you will probably experience this again if you decide to work with them.
5.Notify the agent who you would like to work with and schedule an initial meeting to learn about the market conditions and buying process. Notify the other agents about your decision and feel free to let them know why. Constructive criticism is helpful!
6.Do not feel pressured to sign an “exclusive right to buy agreement” until you’ve had several experiences with your agent, and they have proven their value.
7.Go get your dream house!
Make sure you interview multiple agents. Seems logical right? You would interview a nanny before you allowed them to watch your child, right? But people very rarely take the time to interview the person who will be guiding them through the biggest purchase of their life. Buyers agents in Denver typically get paid 2.8% of the sales price by the seller. That is a lot of money! This system was put in place to make sure buyers have solid representation and education from an agent with a fiduciary responsibility to the buyer. You should understand how much money your agent will be earning from the purchase and they should provide at least that much value to you during the transaction. If you walk into an open house and utilize that agent to submit an offer, they are literally making thousands of dollars for only a few hours of work and you’ve missed out on the true value an agent can provide.
Below are the three main qualities to consider.
1. Knowledge/ Education
Your agent should understand your desired area and market trends. It’s always important to do your own homework but if you select wisely your agent will provide you with a wealth of information and resources. They should understand the zoning, have basic home construction knowledge, understand rental rates, and local government policies. Agents are paid to be experts and educate you, consider them your real estate consultant. They should set expectations and be clear about each step in the buying process.
Questions to ask your agent:
Do you have a process to help me understand market trends and the home buying process before we start looking at homes? How long have you been in the Denver area and how long have you been a real estate agent? What market trends do you see that I should be aware of? What type of home do you think is the best investment (condo, townhouse, or single family home)? Do the reviews about the agent mention their knowledge of the market? Can you provide me a list of the homes you’ve helped buy/sell so I can understand your experience in different areas and price points? What architectural style do you think would be a good fit for me? What neighborhood do you think would be a good fit for me given my criteria? Can you provide me market trends for the areas where I’m interested in purchasing? Do you own your home?
Not all agents are full-time. It’s important to know upfront if real estate is your agent’s main priority and if they have other time restrictions. If they are busy from 9AM-5PM Monday- Friday and you prefer to tour weekdays they might not be the right fit for you. With that said, it’s also a great idea to have a grasp of how many clients they are working with. While it is great to use an agent that is active you want to make sure they have plenty of time to focus on you. Buying a home is time consuming and big deal! Be sure to work with someone who has time to dedicate to serving you.
Is your agent part of a team? Real estate agents are people too with social lives and family commitments. It is important to know if your agent is an independent agent (working alone) or working with a team. While there are benefits to working with either having a team or a broker with support is so important. It’s okay if your broker can’t be there for everything but it’s great if someone else can be at your assistance when you need help.
Questions to ask your agent:
Are you part of a team? How many people are you currently working with? Are you a full-time broker? How many deals did you close last year? If you had a family emergency and had to fly out of state who would be available if I found my dream house and wanted to set up a showing and write an offer? What are your business hours? Are you available on nights and weekends?
3. Lifestyle + Communication Compatibility
What takes priority in your life? Think: Children, a career, an animal, family, or hobbies and interests. Whatever your priority it’s important to be partnered with an agent that shares the same values. For example if you bike to work, find an agent who also loves biking and is familiar with the bike lanes and routes from your neighborhood to office. Having an agent with similar interests will benefit your search and you will connect on a deeper level if they can identify with your priorities.
As a buyer it’s important to work with someone who understands and works with your communication style. If you prefer phone calls every few days it wouldn’t be a good match to work with an agent that communicates only via text or email. If your close friend is an agent you probably already have a match for lifestyle and communication compatibility. Make sure to still interview them about the market and their availability to help you.
Questions to ask your agent:
What do you do for fun? What ways do you like to communicate? How often do you touch base? Also ask specific questions regarding your priorities, for example: What do you know about this elementary school? Do you ever bike around the city?
Remember that you’re in the driver’s seat of your home buying experience. If you are working with someone that is not fulfilling your needs, notifying your agent that the relationship is not working and moving on. We’d love the opportunity to work with you! Please consider us when you prepare to buy or sell your next home.