As in most relationships, choosing a real estate professional with whom you “click” may determine whether or not your search for a new home is successful. Chemistry and communication styles count; so how do you go about matching up with your ideal realtor?
Take advantage of early property searches online to activate the internal radar that can lead you to the right agent on your own terms.
Technology has changed the way we search for new homes, and buyers often start looking at available properties online well before they begin to search for an agent. This early online browsing time is when you should start looking for an agent to work with. Once you have a good feel for the community in which you’re looking and you have reached a point where you need additional input, that’s when the search for a professional should become active. Asking friends and family for referrals is one good way to find an agent, and posting about your realtor search on social networking sites is another good option.
Of course, even though an agent referral may come with endless enthusiasm from your Mom, best friend, your boss or the corner cupcake baker, remember that you may not feel the same connection upon meeting their realtor. When you first get together with any potential agent, make sure this is someone you’d like to spend time with and that he or she appreciates the nuances of your personality. Ask yourself if they’re someone with whom you’ll feel comfortable sharing personal financial information. Be honest with yourself, and never decide to work with a realtor to please anyone but your self. Professional realtors already understand this dynamic and want you to be comfortable with the agent you choose.
If you meet an agent that you feel might be a good match, don’t jump the gun. Learn about their background, get to know them a bit before you sign a contract. Buying a house is an emotional experience for most of us, and you want your real estate agent to understand when you feel overwhelmed, confused, enthusiastic—whatever your emotions, you want to feel confident that your agent understands and is there to guide you through the often rocky experience. During the buying process, he or she will come to learn quite a bit about your personal finances as well as your personal life. Most people who find a great chemistry with a real estate agent will stick with them for a lifetime, or as long as they live in the area.
If you’ve never bought a home before, brace yourself for what may be ahead. It is more common than not to lose the bidding war to another buyer on the first, second, or even third home you fall in love with. It can be a stressful and disappointing process even if you head into it fully prepared. Remember, buying a home is a highly competitive venture. Losing a few bids is most likely nobody’s fault but the market’s, a more aggressive buyer, or the alignment of the stars.
It’s easy to take out your frustration on the agent you’re working with because by nature, we often need someone to blame. Talk to the agent you are interested in signing with ahead of time to understand the market and ask them how they deal with bidding wars, aloof sellers and other factors that can arise. Find an agent that you trust to understand your feelings and expectations, and give them the opportunity to work with you on finding a good balance.
Real estate agents can try the patience of their clients unwittingly, just like everyone else. If you enter into the process fully aware that there is no time frame in which you can expect to find the home of your dreams in your price range, you will have an easier time with the process. Of course, if you feel your agent isn’t trying hard enough on your behalf, you need to communicate that sentiment with them. Don’t be afraid to speak up and give them the opportunity to explain themselves. Remaining patient is a powerful tool in maintaining your own health and sanity, and in encouraging your agent to keep working hard on your behalf.
Clear, uncensored communication is critical to maintaining any relationship, and your relationship with your real estate agent is no different. Be frank from the beginning about how you prefer to work with them and what your expectations of them are. Don’t hide your concerns along the way; be open and offer constructive feedback that they can use to move the search forward. You will probably spend a lot of time with your real estate agent during the home searching and buying process, so take your time and choose someone with whom you connect in order to make the process as simple and successful as possible.