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how to find a realtor when you are going to buy a house?


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In 1993 when we bought our 1st house, we used a buyer's agent and it was a fantastic experience.  He did not work with people to sell houses, only worked with people to buy houses.  In 2004, when we bought our 2nd house, we used someone from dh's place of business.  This realtor had many years of experience, but she did not have our best interests at heart.

We are looking to downsize now in a different area.  What was called a buyer's agent in 1994 is now called an exclusive buyer's agent, and there are none in the area we are moving to.  There are realtors who call themselves buyer's agents, but it's not what it used to be.

So, any advice on finding a realtor who will have our best interests at heart rather than the seller's (who will pay their commission) best interest?

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ask locals of the area for recommendations.  Maybe on Nextdoor if you are able to post there or find a local facebook group to ask.  Also, I know people who have had good experience with Redfin.  They have realtors that only do buying and ones that only do selling.  But if you want a lot of one on one time with the realtor themselves you won't necessarily get it.  You will get help from their assistants though.  You do get money back after closer, a percentage of their commission. 

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This is a tough one. We used the same agent my sister used when we bought our last house. It was a good experience. He was not solely a buyer's agent. He also listed properties. But he represented our interests in the home buying process. It was a good experience. When we bought a condo in a college town, I asked around at church and on social media --since it was a town a couple hours away. That worked out well, too. 

Now we are considering a land purchase. Rural land. Uncharted territory for us, and we are also looking for a knowledgeable buyer's agent. I don't even know where to start!

Edited by popmom
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I recommend hiring a real estate attorney to represent you as buyers, and hire them BEFORE you sign a purchase and sales agreement. Most people rely on the bank's attorney, but their responsibility is to represent the bank in the deal. Many people who do hire their own RE attorney only contact them to have them review the signed p&s, so their attorney is left to work with a contract that almost always favors the seller, and not much they can do to amend it after the fact. Better to have the attorney negotiate terms on your behalf as part of any offer you make.

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3 hours ago, Sue in St Pete said:

In 1993 when we bought our 1st house, we used a buyer's agent and it was a fantastic experience.  He did not work with people to sell houses, only worked with people to buy houses.  In 2004, when we bought our 2nd house, we used someone from dh's place of business.  This realtor had many years of experience, but she did not have our best interests at heart.

We are looking to downsize now in a different area.  What was called a buyer's agent in 1994 is now called an exclusive buyer's agent, and there are none in the area we are moving to.  There are realtors who call themselves buyer's agents, but it's not what it used to be.

So, any advice on finding a realtor who will have our best interests at heart rather than the seller's (who will pay their commission) best interest?

I know there are vast differences from state to state but we went by a recommendation of a friend. Our agent was no exclusive buyer's agent but explained to us that he would recuse himself if we chose to buy a property he represented as a seller's agent. He said someone else in his office would be working with us. None of this came to pass as we bought a place that was listed by a different realty and therefore there was no conflict of interest. At a minimum, I would expect this potential scenario to be addressed in a similar fashion. 

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7 hours ago, slackermom said:

I recommend hiring a real estate attorney to represent you as buyers, and hire them BEFORE you sign a purchase and sales agreement. Most people rely on the bank's attorney, but their responsibility is to represent the bank in the deal. Many people who do hire their own RE attorney only contact them to have them review the signed p&s, so their attorney is left to work with a contract that almost always favors the seller, and not much they can do to amend it after the fact. Better to have the attorney negotiate terms on your behalf as part of any offer you make.

Sorry, this confuses me.  I am asking for advice on how to find a reputable real estate agent.  Maybe you are answering a different question?

FWIW, my intention is to pay cash for this house.  Does that affect your advice?  When you say most people rely on the bank's attorney, will there be a bank involved if I have no mortgage?  Or are you saying that I need a RE attorney to (not sure of the verb? look over? scrutinize?) the purchase and sales agreement?

I would be happy to hear about your experience using a real estate attorney, including how you found them, how much they cost, how they were able to create a purchase and sales agreement that favored you rather than the seller, and how they saved you money in the long run.  I know you are trying to be helpful.  Thank you.

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Rules vary from state to state, but where I live, attorneys are allowed to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, and can act as independent real estate brokers. As a former real estate agent, I would rather hire an experienced real estate attorney than a regular agent, especially if I was in a position to pay cash. You can find them the same way as an agent, by word of mouth or looking them up in a directory. Costs vary, some charge a flat rate, but most charge an hourly rate. 

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If you have local friends on Facebook, ask there.  Take the top 3 recommended and interview them.  Don't choose the person who tells you what you want to hear, choose the person who tells you the truth, but tactfully.  This has never failed me.  And these agents also tend to know great contractors when something goes wrong in the inspection process.

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My dad had to find a realtor recently, and ended up going with one advertised heavily on the city's oldest and most popular radio station.  haha,  I don't know if that's always good advice, but when he looked up reviews about them, they were outstanding!  He had a fantastic experience with his realtor.

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We are in the process of buying a house and used a buyer's agent. We found a highly rated realty company online, called them, asked to talk to their buyer's agent, made sure we kind of "clicked" or felt comfortable with him and we went from there.

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Word of mouth. Do you know anyone in the area you are moving to? Are you staying in the same city? The best realtors I have found are through friends and family. There is always someone within a neighborhood that seems popular look at the yard signs and you might see 1 selling more than others in an area.I prefer relators living in the same area/town since they are familiar with the hoa ,taxes and other info.GL

 

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In my area, I don't know of any agents who strictly are buying or listing agents - they do both.  Depending on the state, you probably need to sign some sort of contract so that the real estate agent is representing you, as the buyer.  For example, in Maryland when there is no signed Buyer Agency Contract, the real estate agent automatically represents the seller.  Once you have signed a contract though, the agent represents the buyer.  You can also decline to participate in a dual agent scenario - when the listing agent is also the buying agent, to make sure that your interests are fully presented.

To find an agent, I would ask local friends/facebook group who they recommend.  Once you have some recommendations, you can interview a couple.  

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Do you know the specific area/neighborhood you are interested in?

A month or so before we were ready to start looking, I looked on Realtor.com in the neighborhood we wanted and over a few months, I saw several realtors who had the majority of the listings. I then went to the "sell" portion of Realtor.com and looked at the sold listings over a year or two to see who had the most sales-- in my case, they overlapped, so that made choosing easier. You can also drill down into each sale and see what the listing price & sales price were. This gives an idea of the market in your area of interest.

Meanwhile, I asked on that area's local Reddit if anyone had recs. City-Data might also have recs if the area you are interested in is big enough to have lots of posts.  Are you looking local to where you area now? City-Data is quite active in that whole area, so you might find something on there, or create an account and ask. 

From there, I was completely sexist. LOL. I chose a woman of around middle age who had over a decade in the field. Either my sexism paid off or I just got lucky, because she found the little things that a man usually overlooks and pointed out what I'll call "women things" like the flow of the house, the angle to the sun (will the sun be in your face all day or can you open the blinds?), potential day-to-day annoyances, plus normal realtor things like: a part of the floor looks like it was repaired at some point, there were water stains, you have to watch out for X because they didn't do Y, they had this thing installed and it's a huge selling point in the future, etc.  Her recommended inspector was also wonderful, so we got an excellent 'man's view', as well, on the structure, etc.

Oh, my realtor also lived in the area we were looking in and most of her sales were around there, which was a huge bonus for us since she knew the area very well.

I didn't even bother with the buyer's agent/selling agent thing since I did my own due diligence on coming up with a price

As for the commission part, if you find a realtor who closes a high volume of homes, you shouldn't get pushed for an increased price, because the faster they close, the faster they get their cut, and then they can take on another client. That's the vibe I got from ours, anyway. She never pushed, even when we looked at homes with a huge spread in pricing. I think they also get awards/kudos from their brokers for volume, so that might explain things if there is a financial award (I'm just guessing at that, though, but our realtor did have awards for sales volume, so it must mean something).

 

Edited by Wildcat
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We have simply walked into the real estate office and asked for an agent.  That worked well once and not so well once.

The best way we've found is to get a recommendation.  A good buyer's agent will know that if they get you a good deal that you will recommend them to others and use them in the future.  

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