Even though I am still saving up my home loan down payment and still need to save a lot of money, I have started auditioning real estate buyer's agents. Real estate agents are expensive. They take a big cut of the deal and your hard earned down payment savings. Since you are working so hard to save up your down payment, you will want to work hard to find the right real estate agent just like you are working hard to find the optimal first time homebuyer's mortgage loan. Following are some tips for starting your real estate agent search.
Tip 1: Start Looking For Your Buyer's Agent Now
There are two types of real estate agents: a buyer's agent and a seller's agent. The buyer's agent represents the buyer and the seller's agent represents the seller. Sometimes the two can be the same but I highly discourage this. Your have worked hard for years to save up your down payment. You want an agent who is 100 percent on your side and fighting for you. Only a dedicated buyers agent can be exclusively on your side. The key in finding a great buyers agent is to start now. You wouldn't just place your hard earned money with any financial advisor. Similarly, take the time to audition multiple buyer's agents and start looking now so you have proper time to make the optimal decision.
Tip 2: Start Attending Open Houses
There are three reasons to start attending open houses on the weekend. The first reason is you will get a feel for the different neighborhoods and homes. It's like trying on different shirts when shopping for clothes. They may all look great from the outside but only a few are a perfect fit. Finding the right house takes some time and research. While you are saving for your down payment, it makes a lot of sense to start researching which homes and neighborhoods you like the best. The second reason to start attending open houses is to create excitement. We know that a positive attitude and excitement are very motivating forces. As you see the homes, you will get excited and have additional motivation to save for your down payment faster and smarter. I love going to open houses to keep my down payment savings on the right path. The third and most important reason to attend open houses is to start meeting real estate agents. Qualifications are important but they're only half the puzzle. To find the right real estate agent for your needs, you need to meet different agents in person and see if you like their personality. You need to find someone who you enjoy working with. Don't forget to grab their business card before leaving.
Tip 3: Leverage Online Real Estate Websites
My final tip is to leverage the resources available on the Internet. There are many real estate websites that connect you with real estate agents. The best real estate websites offer tons of information including historical prices in your neighborhood, in addition to matching you with agents. These sites get paid for connecting you with agents however they have a vested interest in only matching to the top agents in your area. The reason I like this strategy is not all top agents will be present at open houses because they sometimes delegate the open houses to a more junior associate. Just attending open houses is a great start but probably not a conclusive way to find your agent.