Free Resources for Cary NC Home Buyers and Sellers

Secrets to Getting the Best Agent

(How to get your agent to work harder for you)

Choose Your Agent Before You Choose Your House

The first step is to choose your real estate agent instead of letting an agent choose you.

It is hard to convince home buyers that they should put as much thought into choosing a real estate agent as choosing a home. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a new home that they may not be aware of how the game is played.

Savvy consumers know that a very experienced agent will know your needs and the market which can save you thousands, as well as headaches. When a deal is easy anyone can handle it, but when a problem occurs Experience is Everything.

The variety of services available, the different skill levels and training of practitioners, and the company policies of the firm an agent works for all play a role in how your needs will be met.

So often we hear someone say they met the agent at an Open House or called the Listing Agent about a particular house and that is how they found their agent. Since it is not uncommon for new agents or part-timers to conduct Open Houses and do "up-time" answering the phones at the real estate offices, you most likely will end up with someone who hasn't had much experience.

Find Out Whom The Agent Represents

The first issue to determine is whether or not the agent can legally be your advocate.

You can ask the agent if they represent buyers, sellers, or both and how they handle conflicts that can come up if you, as a represented buyer, are interested in a home that their firm has listed (representing the seller). Don't let them minimize the importance of this issue if the company has a lot of listings in the marketplace. After all, the more listings they have, the greater the chance that you will find your dream home among them!

Consumer advocates advise that home buyers are best served by buyer's agents. Buyer's agents can legally look out for your interests unlike traditional real estate agents who represent home sellers. But not all buyers' agents are the same so you will want to dig deeper to find what experience they have and how long they have been in the business. You also need to find out if their firm lists many homes in your price range. You may find yourself in a position where the agent is not acting in your best interest when the agent is representing both parties, this is called a 'dual agent'.

Dual agency comes into play when a real estate office or agent represents both buyers and sellers and results in the agent taking a neutral position. You may lose the advantage of your agent's advocacy at a time when you need it the most. Determining an offer price and if there are better houses to choose from may be very important to you at this critical point.

'Due Diligence' - What will the agent actually do

Even beyond the agency relationship distinction, an agent needs to be trained in something called 'due diligence'.

I go beyond identifying and showing you homes. I do a property value study, help you get a thorough home inspection, refer you to qualified mortgage professionals and real estate attorneys, and advise you about the presence of any environmental hazards in the area. That is performing 'due diligence'. I approach your home purchase as if it were my own.

Technical terms are common in every industry. Agents use the technical terms and acronyms with ease, forgetting that they sound like they are speaking a foreign language to outsiders. Real estate has more than its share of technical terms. I will help you understand all aspects of the sale. Buying a home is too big a purchase to have any uneasy feelings about what the agents mean when they talk about radon level thresholds, variable rate versus fixed rate mortgages, and zoning restrictions.

Treasure a real estate agent who is part teacher and generally loves being able to share with you the ins and outs of the business.

Expectations and Progress

Your first counseling session with an agent sets the stage for your relationship. Discuss your expectations in detail and explain what you have done so far to start the home-buying process.

Let them know about any disappointments from previous agents, such as not returning phone calls, late for appointments, or vague answers to your questions. Make sure that the agent has a way of getting information to you via voice mail, fax, and answering machines.

The ability to really listen to your needs and discuss them help you focus are traits of the best agents. Your input will allow me to find the best communities, schools, and neighborhoods to match your budget. Communication is so important to your satisfaction with an agent.

Share Your Feelings

Let me know if you have any concerns, worries or fears about buying a house.

A good agent will be able to explain the process, and put any setbacks in perspective. A good real estate agent, one who does many transactions, are used to the emotions that can run high in a home purchase. A good agent can comfort you about tactics used by the other side ("We think we have another offer coming in", "That's our final counter") and dealing with the discovery of high radon levels, lead paint hazards, and repairs needed. Most importantly you need to feel comfortable with your real estate agent.

Get Organized

Take Good Notes, Get Copies, and Set Up a System to Keep You Organized

A top agent will provide you with an overview of what's on the market and, based on your profile, print up listings of every home available on the market that matches your search criteria.

If you are just starting and need to learn about pricing, house styles, and resale homes vs. new homes, etc., don't be afraid to tell us that you have changed your mind about the criteria for your home search. I am used to buyers changing their minds based on prices and, believe it or not, the compromises that couples make when they have vastly different preferences at the outset.

I will use your profile to select some sample homes to show you right away and I will listen to what you like and don't like when you see them on your first outing.

Know the Staff

Not every phone call to your agent has to be handled by your agent.

A top agent has a staff that allows you to talk to someone at anytime when the agent is busy. Sometimes you might just need a full data sheet on a house you saw for sale on your way to work or maybe just the price to see if it is in your range. Cultivate a relationship with the assistants so they can help you with the little pieces of information you need when the agent is out showing properties or listing a home.

Define Your "Show Stoppers" ... ... and make sure your agent knows about them.

Every real estate agent knows that no house is perfect. Even brand new homes have flaws for some buyers. The best approach for you and your agent is to understand your 'show stoppers' and avoid them. You should hear agents buzz about the brand new home that allows someone walking through the entry foyer to see into a laundry room...whoops, who laid out that floor plan? Or a stunning contemporary flair home on a lot so steep you better have a Jeep!! When it comes to show stoppers the list is endless.

Some buyers will only consider living on one-level in a ranch, some insist on two-story. Some folks want the easy maintenance of vinyl siding, some wouldn't be caught dead living there. Some buyers think a cape is boxy, others find them cozy.

If you have small children and are concerned about lead paint, don't look at those charming older homes.

If you know your schedule will not permit doing home repairs and updating, don't look at fixer-uppers no matter how cheap they are.

If your young family needs a subdivision setting and you really want that private country setting, think again. You know you will do what is best for your family.

If you know that the interstate highway and the noise in the backyard will drive you nuts, don't make an appointment to see that good-looking home off the Beltway.

Today's buyers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable than in the past. They spend a lot of time researching the real estate market before making a purchase decision. They compare prices and amenities. Just as today's buyers are evolving, so are today's Professional Realtors. A Top Realtor's job is to educate and protect their clients. As one of the Top Agents in the Nation, I get my clients the best deal, with the least amount of hassle, and in the least amount of time.

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