I'm 21 years old and I'm looking to purchase my first home. I want to work with a real estate agent, but I don't really know where to start or how to choose. Should I just talk to people or post on Facebook and see who friends recommend? I'm afraid that I'm going to be recommended a bunch of relatives or family friends. Is that still a good starting place?
Any responses/personal stories (good and bad) would be helpful!
Ask your friends and family. Word of mouth is the best way I have found to find a realtor to work with in my experience. Best of luck to you man!!
It may take speaking to several different ones before you find one you feel will actually help you in your search, knows the market where you're looking and will help you understand and negotiate the best deal. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I hear stories quite frequently with younger people how their agent told them they wouldn't write up a lower offer when asked, even if nearby sales were lower, or told them, It's only "x more a month" for paying $1000s more (really dislike that one), and they end up paying top dollar because they didn't know better. Also, if they want you to sign an exclusive agreement, don't. Agree to sign stating they represent you for the specific properties they show you, then read the document to make sure. That way, you're not locked in if you get a bad agent.
Hey @Joshua Cetnar , I second what @Jacob A. is suggesting. Talk to people you trust and get referrals. There are a lot of agents out there that are absolutely amazing at what they do and have your best interests in mind, but there are some out there that do the bare minimum. The bare minimum agents won't be getting the best referrals from your friends and family, but the ones that truly care about their reputation and their clients interests will be highly spoken of by your friends and family. If you get a bunch of those solid referrals, then narrow it down to someone who has experience in not only your current real estate goals, but your future investment goals as well. I also feel like it's important to find someone you can relate to one way or another, someone you might end up hanging out with in the future and can chat real estate with. My agent for the past three years has been invaluable to me in that remark, as we've built a solid friendship and now I have access to any and all of the people he knows, which is everyone in the county.
Your instincts are spot on. Most people will refer their friends/family.
The best way is through agent referral. Agents are compensated via referral fees. They will refer the most competent agents that will get you to the closing table.
Hope this helps. Good for you getting after it so early.
@Joshua Cetnar Be sure you pick someone who is FULL TIME in the business.
The vast majority of agents are part timers or those who tried working in the field, got discouraged, quit to do something else but kept their license active - just in case they trip over a deal.
Find someone new in the business who is hungry. They'll give you a lot more dedication that a top producing agent in the county - because they HAVE to.
PS - start looking for a good, licensed home inspector now - and don't be afraid to walk away if his inspection shows any big problems that the seller doesn't agree to remedy.
Whatever you do, do NOT fall in love with a property. I promise that if you do, you'll overlook things that you shouldn't. I call it getting infected with a case of the "hardly waits".
Thanks for the reply! Is a good way to tell active/full-time agents from part-timers by looking at their number of active listings? Or might some full-time agents have fewer listings because they are selling their listings quickly or spending more time working with buyers?
Very exciting that you are looking to purchase your first home. Recommendations from people you know and trust is a great place to start. Additionally, I would recommend checking out the CRS.com (Certified Residential Specialist - Residential Real Estate Council) website. Agents like myself who have pursed this designation are vested in real estate as a full-time career. Best of luck!!
@Joshua Cetnar The easiest way would be to call the broker and ask who is a good, hungry full time agent who works with first-time buyers.