I am just starting out looking at properties. I am not quite ready to buy as I do not have the cash readily available for a down payment, however I am still looking at properties just to practice analysis...and it's just fun! I do not have MLS access, so at the moment I am just looking at realtor.com and Zillow. I'm wondering if the general consensus is to use a realtor, what the pros and cons are, and what to look for in a realtor.
I usually just talk to the listing agent of the property I'm interested in. I'd involve a realtor later when you are ready to buy or sell.
I only use a realtor when necessary. If I find a property on the MLS then I use my own realtor and never use the selling agent. When using the sellers agent they have a responsibility to the seller not the buyer. Also, when searching the MLS I use a realtor because there is nothing better then spending time with a realtor to understand if they are a good fit for you.
I use my own buyer's agent. He also does listings but acts as my representative on anything I look at. He is a good realtor, gives me honest and reasonable feedback, doesn't lie or BS, does a lot of research work for me for free (assuming I don't buy that particular property) and puts in whatever offer or terms I ask for, no questions asked. A good realtor frees you to look at and research a lot of properties at once, feel out the sellers through the agent, etc. My realtor is worth what he makes on my deals. Dealing with a realtor is like any of the other professions; you have to create relationships. If every single everything is about saving 5 cents, that is hard to do. PS: you say you are not quite ready to buy, but you can still get a relationship started. Someone sees that you are serious, they will invest in you (their time); you repay by being serious and approaching this with hard work and honesty, and buying through him or her when you are ready.
@Mark Smith I completely agree with @JD Martin . A buyers agent will lookout for your best interest and save you a lot of work. Usually they have other relationships in place that can be very useful such as title companies, home inspectors, home lenders and so on that you can take advantage of since they are already in the business that you are trying to get into. The best part of it all is that you don't pay a cent since their fee is covered by the seller of the property. I think you should definitely reach out to a good agent(look at the reviews or ratings on pages such as zillow.com or just get a recommendation from someone you know). They can get you access to the MLS and get filters set up that will notify you when properties that fit your criteria become available. Good luck and I hope that helps!
Thank you for the advice everyone! I'm definitely looking forward to building a good relationship with a realtor, I think they will play an important role in the purchasing process.
@Mark Smith A couple things I did not see mentioned in the earlier posts.
1) I am a Realtor in Florida, and not sure about NY. Most buyer's agents will work with you for free, they get paid at close. Some may charge a small fee at close also.
2) They will send you free lists of properties in your local area, so that you can be looking even if you are not ready. You just may find the deal of a life time and this will also help keep your mind on target.
3) (Mentioned previously kind of, but most important) You need to talk to more than one agent and find one who understands what you are looking for or can help you decide. This may take time to find the right agent and when you are ready you don't just want to call a random agent. Start building relationships with agents now. Stop in at different local offices frequently or ask BP members for names of local agents.
4) BP has a great book on buying with no and low money down. If you have not already, check it out!
@Justin Schulte thank you for the great information! A great deal is exactly the reason I want to be in touch with the MLS, I don't want to miss anything! I would love to start building relationships so I definitely need to find a realtor I have confidence in.
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Thanks I appreciate the info.
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