Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Are you a young person on the hunt for a new home? Using an agent who knows the ins and outs of the business can ease the stress that often comes with the process. Ninety percent of adults aged 34 and under who bought a home between June 2013 and June 2014 used an agent. While many young people choose an agent by relying on referrals from family and friends, there are some important questions to ask before making a decision.

1. Whom do you represent? Beware of dual agency; when an agent is allowed to represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. Dual agency representatives are only able to give limited advice. As a buyer, you want an agent who is going to look out for your best interest. This is hard to do if an agent is assisting the seller as well. Search for exclusive buyer agents through the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.

2. When do you require a signed agreement? An agent will ask you to sign a buyer agreement which binds you to work only with that agent for a specific period of time (usually 90 days). You’ll want to make sure you and your agent mesh well together before you sign the agreement.

3.  What services will you provide? Make sure you and your agent are on the same page! You’ll want to know exactly how much your agent can provide you with. Remember to discuss how often your agent will be contacting you and whether it will be by phone, text or email. Be sure to also ask if the agent can give you leads on mortgage lenders, repairmen and other local service providers you might need for your new home.   

4. How will you get paid? The seller usually covers agent fees, but sometimes the buyer may be held responsible for payment. Be sure to read the agent’s payment terms carefully.

Happy agent hunting to you!

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