For most people, buying a home is amongst the most significant purchases they will make in their lifetime. Buying a home can be an intimidating experience, with a lot of facts and figures and general knowledge to cover. To help you get through the process, it is recommended that you hire an exclusive buyers broker, especially if you are a first-time home buyer or relocating to a new city. Finding a buyer agent that best suits your needs can be challenging. Before you hire a buyer’s agent, first ask the questions below.

1. How long have they been a full-time buyer’s agent?

While the number of years in real estate isn’t necessarily an indicator of success, working full time in the industry indicates that they have a lot of time on the job, where most useful skills are learned.

2. How familiar are they with the neighborhoods you are interested in? How many homes have they sold there?

Spending time buying homes in the neighborhoods you prefer indicates that the buyer’s agent has a solid understanding of the area, especially if they have already helped buy homes there in the past.

3. What type of buyers agency do you practice?

There are three different buyer agency types, so if you are looking for a specific realtor, then you will want to ask this question.

The types include:

  • Non-exclusive buyer agents (represent buyers and work with brokerages and sellers of their choice, but there can be a conflict of interest if they work with an office that also has sellers agents)
  • Designated buyer agents (represent the buyer)
  • Exclusive buyer agent (represents buyers only and doesn’t list properties for sale).

4. Can the buyer’s agent recommend service providers for you to help with all aspects of home buying?

A buyer’s agent should be able to recommend mortgage providers, inspection services, and other services that are necessary for buying a home. A seasoned buyer’s agent will be able to give you more than one company and let you know if they have a relationship with or receive compensation for their recommendations.

5. Is the buyer’s agent aware of any special programs that can help you buy the home or make improvements post-purchase?

A buyer’s agent familiar with the area you are considering should be familiar with local laws and regulations and be able to point you in the direction of local, regional, state and federal programs that help with home purchases and improvements. A great buyer’s agents may also be aware of alternative programs and even grants and loans as well.

6. Does the buyer’s agent know of any incentives being offered?

Despite a robust recovery in the housing market and limited inventory, developers and sellers may be offering incentives to help sell their property.

7. Does the buyer’s agent have appropriate credentials and certifications?

These include those from the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) certification from the National Association of Realtors® and The Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) designation.

8. Are there any fees associated with the buyer’s agent and how do they get paid?

The seller pays the commission for the buyer’s agent, but as real estate commissions are negotiated differently, be sure you know up front who will be paying the buyer’s agent.

9. How will the buyer’s agent reach you about new homes available, and any questions?

Find out the best way to reach your buyer’s agent and how they communicate so that you can make sure that you are both on the same page at all times, whether text or email is your preference. When working with a buyer’s agent, you will want a responsive and dedicated agent keeping you ahead of your competition.

10. Ask for a list of previous clients.

As with any service provider, ask for referrals to find out if previous clients were pleased representation provided. Websites like Yelp, Google and others can also provide an excellent reference to learn what other home buyers experienced when working with the agent or brokerage you are considering.

These questions are an excellent way to start a conversation about home buying. Depending on your needs and preferences, you may also want to choose a buyer’s agent specializing in first-time home buyers, condos, co-ops or townhouse properties.

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