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Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Although some people are tempted to try to save money by not using a real estate agent and conducting a home search themselves, it’s important to know that a real estate agent does much more than show you houses and find the home of your dreams. They also guide you through the entire real estate transaction.

A real estate agent will help you know how much to offer for a home– and no, the asking price is not always the best offer! Sometimes an offer at the asking price will be rejected based on market conditions, and other times an offer at the asking price is higher than necessary. Your real estate agent will help you know the best price to offer to make your’s a competitive bid.

Besides, the seller of the home pays both the seller’s and the buyer’s agents’ fees! So you don’t save money by not using a real estate agent. In fact, you’ll save money by selecting a real estate agent who is part of the Coastal Housing Partnership network– they can provide savings on your closing costs.

A good agent should guide you through the entire transaction:

  • Help you decide how much to offer for a property
  • Work to negotiate the most favorable price, terms of contract and contingency clauses for your home purchase
  • Write the purchase contract
  • Open escrow
  • Ensure contingencies are met
  • Help you organize inspections
  • Coordinate with the lender
  • Represent you in all negotiations through the close of escrow
  • Explain closing documents

Choosing a real estate agent you can trust and have confidence working with is a key factor in a successful transaction. One of the best ways to find a good real estate agent is through recommendations from friends, neighbors, family or co-workers who have bought or sold real estate recently.

Now that you know what to expect from them, interview several real estate agents before you decide. Ask for and check references. Click to see Important questions to ask when interviewing agents:

Important Questions

  • Does the agent have experience in the market and price range in which you are interested in?
  • What areas do they specialize in?
  • What percentage of their business is working with buyers?
  • What types of homes has the agent sold recently and with what types of buyers have they worked?
  • How long has the agent been in real estate? Does the agent work in real estate full time?
  • How often will they be in contact with you?
  • Does the agent participate in Coastal Housing Partnership’s Home Buyer Savings Program?

Once you have decided on an agent, tell them what you are seeking in a home–location, size, style, special features. You should determine which aspects are must-haves and which are on your wish-list in order to prioritize and organize your search. Ask your potential agent to show you some homes that they think meet these criteria. In this way, you can determine if the agent is responsive to your requests.