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Need advice on finding a real estate agent

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Need advice on finding a real estate agent

Old 10-11-06, 05:02 PM
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Need advice on finding a real estate agent

So a while back I posted asking for some advice on my plan of buying my first place. I did the mortgage preapproval and have be monitoring listings in the areas I'm interested in. My lease is up 1/31 so I figure now is the time to find an agent and start actually looking seriously.
My brother had been thinking about buying a place a few months ago prior to his wedding. they ended up putting house hunt on hold until after the wedding but they reccomended a local agency that they worked with.
I submitted my info to them over the weekend and haven't heard back anything. I expected them to be contacting me like flys on a certain unpleasent substance, but nothing. I sent an email yesterday with my home and work numbers and a little paragraph about what I'm looking for. No response.
I'm thinking this isn't a good sign. So how do I go about finding a good agent? It seems like everyone knows someone, but I'm convinced you're better off going with an agent who is truly good instead of just a friend of a friend kind of thing. So how do I sepereate the good from the bad? Any tips for a first timer?
Old 10-11-06, 05:09 PM
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Go talk to the title company and ask them who does the most business. Go to an office and ask if they will pull up information on what agents are handling the most sales.
Old 10-11-06, 05:15 PM
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what's the title company? Is that like Century 21, Remax, etc?
Old 10-11-06, 05:21 PM
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Nothing beats word of mouth - sure, everyone knows someone, but go to someone you trust and ask who they would recommend. I would never send an inquiry into a website and see who they pair you up with (whatever random person is up at that time). Find someone who has had a good experience and go with them.
Old 10-11-06, 05:28 PM
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I have gotten "burned" twice on the two houses I have sold. I HATE these agents and think their sole purpose is to rip you off.

Without going into details, they "sold" me on the fact they really wanted my business but then never showed my house to anyone except when their contract was about up. They did not keep me informed as to what was going on or feedback that I had received on the house. Their ONLY suggestion if a few people looked at my house and did not sell was to lower the price, despite the fact I was at the lower end of the range for similar houses. I always got more information from the agents of potential buyers then I did from my agent. I was given bad advise from them that I'm glad I did not take ("offer to make any repairs at any cost if the inspection finds something"). One agent got made at me for not "verbally" negotiating. I told I wouldn't waste my time unless it was in writing with earnest money and she tried to tell me "it doesn' work that way". My last one offered to lower her commission if she sold it to one of her clients, however when she did indeed sell it to one of her clients she backed off saying that "they were licensed agents" so they kept part of the money (I e-mailed her boss for that one).

I swear when we sell our current house, I'm going to look into doing it myself. I think I would have a lot LESS headaches.
Old 10-11-06, 06:00 PM
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A title company is the lawyer/attorney/office where you would go to sign everything. Usually each area has a couple of big ones. Ask them for recommendations. If you don't get a call back from an agent in a normal time, I wouldn't bother with them. It means they are either flighty or too busy. You want an agent that is going to have you on priority.

This is actually a great time for your mortgage person to make an introduction. Presumably if they are experienced, they've worked with a lot of agents. I can see how if they're just in some random head office in California or Maryland that they wouldn't know but if they're local, they should have some recommendations. If they don't, it means they're not experienced with homebuyers and that's not really a good sign.
Old 10-11-06, 06:02 PM
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The OP is looking for a buyer's agent. Based on my experience, they're pretty much useless except for getting a little paperwork done. You can search the listings, go to open houses, and basically find the house you want without a buyer's agent at all.

I used ziprealty.com when I bought my place. The agent arranged a few tours, handled the basic paperwork (the seller's agent does 99% of it anyway), gave me some recommendations for lawyers and inspectors and that was about it. The nice thing about Zip is that you get a percentage of the buyer's agent's fees kickbacked to you (I got about $1400).

As for selling on your own, it's a snap. I sold my parent's home to a friend and it was little more than picking up a few forms at the Office Max. Their mortgage officer did most of the work on their end.
Old 10-11-06, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
The OP is looking for a buyer's agent. Based on my experience, they're pretty much useless except for getting a little paperwork done.
I'd respectfully disagree. There's certainly buyer's agents that are not worth using (and they often disappear from the business a year or two later), but there's a lot that are very good at what they do, from hand-holding the extremely ignorant and inexperienced to finding great investments for others. To some, they may not be essential. I know I read somewhere that people in this market buying high end homes ($1MM+) often do a value/offer research themselves.

Originally Posted by Numanoid
As for selling on your own, it's a snap. I sold my parent's home to a friend and it was little more than picking up a few forms at the Office Max.
If there's already a willing buyer, of course it's a snap.
Old 10-11-06, 08:37 PM
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Somehow I just knew Dave would be the second post in this thread.
Old 10-12-06, 04:50 PM
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Yeah I counted on him posting shortly too, that's part of the reason why I decided to post it
I took a look at Ziprealty (which I guess is called Homegain now) and got some proposals back from some agent. I sent my info to one of them who seemed to have the most experience and positive feedback from buyers (a few only seemed to have feedback from sellers) so we'll see. Hopefully I can get the ball rolling soon! Apartment life is driving me crazy.

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