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Old 01-07-2010, 07:20 PM   #1
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How do I pick a realtor?

So I'm in the market to buy my first place, looking at condos near where I work. How do I go about finding a realtor? I've gotten pre-qualified for my loan from my bank and looked at some places online already. Do I need a realtor? Is there a difference between a realtor and real estate agent?

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Old 01-07-2010, 07:24 PM   #2
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Yeah, you need a Realtor unless you're ready to figure out all the mounds of paperwork. Cain and I tried it without and wow, after we stumbled across Caren it was so much easier. My advice is find one you're really comfortable with (may take a couple) and remember they aren't your friend. It's a business.

And congrats on getting ready to buy your first place. It's a nightmare and a dream all wrapped in one amazing experience.

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Old 01-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #3
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I think when buying a house, you deal with whatever realtor you get...whatever real estate company the seller is going through, you're gonna get a realtor from that company but you're able to pick and choose from within them. Now if YOU'RE the seller...that's typically when you'll want to pick a realtor/real estate company who isn't out to screw you over just so they can get a sale and make their commission.

I've never bought a house though so I may be waaaaay off...
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:45 PM   #4
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And from my experience, if the Agent tries to pressure you at all, walk away and get someone else. This will be the biggest investment you will ever make,so heed everyone's advice, ask questions, take your time and listen! Had I done that, I would not be renting today. Congrats and good luck, it's an incredible feeling when you aquire your first place!
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by s3nt3nc3d View Post
I think when buying a house, you deal with whatever realtor you get...whatever real estate company the seller is going through, you're gonna get a realtor from that company but you're able to pick and choose from within them. Now if YOU'RE the seller...that's typically when you'll want to pick a realtor/real estate company who isn't out to screw you over just so they can get a sale and make their commission.

I've never bought a house though so I may be waaaaay off...
Not quite. Realtors do try and keep the sale within their company, but the buyer needs to find their own. We, for instance, needed someone who understood VA loans and purchasing foreclosures. The foreclosures was easy, the VA specialist, not so much. You need to know your special needs when choosing.

But, you can look and contact the agent on the for sale sign, that works, that's how we ended up finding ours. We didn't buy that house, but we found out she was very experienced with VA loans and it took us a couple days to find and bid on the right place which we bought early last year. We got lucky stumbling across her, and Joe is right, no pressure and if you don't feel comfortable with them, walk away. It's a business and you're the one laying out the cash.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:25 PM   #6
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It's been more than a few years since I bought, but what I did was to find the realtor that knew what I wanted to accomplish and helped me get there. I actually had 3 or 4 "working" for me to find a house at first but I ended up using the one that knew what I was looking for, how much I could pay and was helpful in putting it all together.

I guess, it was fairly easy to figure out who to use for me.

As said above, they are in the BUSINESS of selling YOU on THEM. Just know that and then select the one that you feel is professionally best suited to help you.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s3nt3nc3d View Post
I think when buying a house, you deal with whatever realtor you get...whatever real estate company the seller is going through, you're gonna get a realtor from that company but you're able to pick and choose from within them. Now if YOU'RE the seller...that's typically when you'll want to pick a realtor/real estate company who isn't out to screw you over just so they can get a sale and make their commission.

I've never bought a house though so I may be waaaaay off...
Yeah not really . . . you have sellers and buyers agents . . . one represents the seller and works to sell the home at the best price for the seller and the buyers agent represents the buyer and should not only be in the know about the local homes on the market by reviewing MLS, attending Realtor Caravans, Open Houses, etc so they can show you a handful of homes that are a fit for you vs. you having to do the search, drive around writing down #s off of signs, etc . . . but, they should be able to help you negotiate to get the best price on the home by pulling prices on similar homes that have sold in area, etc. For a buyers agent, find someone in the area that you want to move that knows that market well . . . also be sure that they are experienced with the type of program you are looking for. Often times your lender might be able to assist as good Loan Officer will generally work with good Realtors and vice versa.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #8
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Congratulations on your plan to buy your first home! This is a fantastic time to buy. Houses are on sale.

Interview a few Buyer's Agents. Find one who specializes in condos in your area. Find one you like and feel comfortable with. Get recommendations from friends.

The seller of the house will pay for it. They've already set aside a certain percentage (usually between 5-7% depending on the area). This will be split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. If you go straight to the seller's agent, you MIGHT be able to save some of that money for yourself, but it is not worth it.

The complaints about Realtor's come from the sellers, not the buyers. Having a Buyer's Agent is a no-brainer.

Realtor's are part of a trade organization and basically pay to call themselves Realtors. Real Estate Agents are not necessarily Realtors. A Realtor will tell you this is a very big deal. I think a good personal recommendation is more important.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:18 PM   #9
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Use someone that is recommended by someone you know. If they're willing to recommend someone, that agent must have done something right by them. Of course that doesn't mean you are married to that agent. If for any reason you don't like them or what they're doing, find someone else.

The nice thing about being a buyer is that you are not tied to the agent or agency by a contract like the seller. Some people I know would use multiple agents and play them off against each other in an effort to get a better price.

Always offer low. You can always go up if the offer is refused, but if you offer too high, they'll accept and you can't go down then.

Realtors and agents lie. There always seems to be another buyer that miraculously bid a higher amount and they have cash and they can sign the contracts yesterday, so...."You have to move fast to buy this gem. You can't let this one go." Walk away and make your offer, if still interested, next week. If you really want to screw with that agent, make your offer on that house with a different agent.

Don't be desperate and if you are, don't let the agent know that you are. If you LOVE a house or condo, don't let them know. Go home and explode how perfect it is in private, away from the agent. If you are interested, tell the agent that you'd like a second look at it and that it may suit your needs. Play it close.

Happy hunting!
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for the warm wishes and good advice guys. Keep it coming. I will speak to my loan officer to see if they have any recommendations, as well as ask my friends who they used and their experiences.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:45 PM   #11
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Oh, I forgot one thing. The perfect house will come. And then you will miss it by two hours. Don't dwell on it, because amazingly the perfect house is one of many perfect houses.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:46 PM   #12
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Ditto on the referrals from friend/coworkers. You can also meet realtors at open houses, even if you don't like the house, you can chat up the realtor. If you find someone that you can talk to, that's big. You can spend a lot of time looking at houses with them, it's good if you get along.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:51 AM   #13
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One more word to the wise, you say you are buying a Condo, but if you settle on a small house. Unless there are visible property markings, than pay the extra money and get an instrument survey, so you know the exact boundaries.
Banks tape off the property to make sure it coincides with the plot plan, in some eyes it may be accurate, and although rare, it was not in my case.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:22 AM   #14
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Also, walk into every place with your eyes open, pay attention to the details when you are looking, not just the oh I love this place. Look at your neighborhood, and your neighbors and how they treat their property.
How quiet is the Condo you are buying, you should have at least two spaces for parking.
It may also be a good idea to make a list of what's important to you and what isn't and stick to the list.
Like Tiny said, you are the one "laying out the cash", once you sign that is it. So TAKE YOUR TIME, it is not a race.
It is a stressful but wonderful experience, knowing your monthly nut is going into your pocket and not someone else's.

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