MyMortgageInsider.com was able to sit down with Ben Pridgeon of The Pridgeon Group and discuss how home buyers can find a quality real estate agent. Ben goes into detail about how you can find a great agent, how to qualify them, and how to make sure they are working hard with your best interests in mind and not wasting your time.
MMI: Let’s say I am a first-time home buyer who has zero experience. How do I find a realtor?
Ben: The best way to find a solid agent is to ask a trusted friend who has bought and sold homes in the past. Referrals from my past clients are the foundation of my business.
MMI: Upon meeting a realtor for the first time, what are some questions I should ask to make sure they will be a good fit?
Ben: Excellent Question!
- How long have you been in the business?
- Do you represent both buyers and sellers?
- How many of each did you close last year?
- Have you earned your broker’s license?
- Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors?
- Have you earned any designations?
- Do you have referrals to trusted lenders, inspectors, insurance agents, general contractors, locksmiths, cleaning companies, painters, roofers and other service providers?
- Where is your geographical area of expertise?
- Why should I choose to work with you?
MMI: Is it OK to interview multiple realtors at first to find one that you like best?
Ben: I strongly suggest that you interview at least 2 agents and see if you find a truly comfortable fit, someone you can really communicate with. Because at the end of the day, communication is what it’s all about. Don’t stop interviewing agents until you find one that really cares about your objectives and truly listens when you speak
MMI: How do I know my realtor has my best interests in mind as I look for a home?
Ben: You should never, ever, under any circumstances feel pressured. That’s all. Beyond that, make sure you are being provided with answers to all your questions in a timely manner. Agents have access to the information and if they don’t, they can get it pretty quickly. That’s our job, when done correctly. You should never feel like you are “flying blind,” so to speak.
MMI: What are some good etiquette items to keep in mind when working with a realtor? What are some things buyers should avoid doing?
Ben: You will find that common courtesy and respecting the agent’s time will gain you a loyal, hard-working resource for a lifetime. Avoid working with an agent that you don’t trust implicitly. There will be many decisions made throughout the home search and transaction, even beyond closing and you must have mutual trust in order to successfully achieve your goals in a timely fashion.
MMI: What services should you expect your realtor to provide for you?
Ben: There are approximately 185 steps to buying or selling a home. Your agent should make it seem like there are only about 6 steps total. And it should be an enjoyable experience. Your agent must honestly love what they do and translate that into a good experience for you, the client.
MMI: Are there any steps of the home buying process that the realtor will not be able to assist with? If yes, will they be able to make recommendations and referrals to help the home buyers?
Ben: Absolutely yes to both questions. Agents are not lenders or inspectors for instance. And good agents all have a complete list of trusted service providers for every possible development in the transaction.
MMI: How much do realtors cost? Will I be charged for any services while looking for a home?
Ben: Typically using an agent costs a home buyer absolutely nothing; the services are free to the buyer because the buyers’ agent is paid from the sellers’ proceeds per the listing agreement. In some states there may be an agent fee that is not covered from the sellers cut of the sale.
MMI: Any other thoughts about finding a realtor? Any final advice?
Ben: Thanks for the opportunity to express myself on these important issues and questions. Bottom Line: Being comfortable with your agent’s demeanor and communication is equally important as your trust in their industry knowledge and professionalism; you need both for a smooth and successful transaction. Ideally, you form a lasting relationship with a trusted advisor.
MMI: Tell us a little about yourself.
Ben: My time is happily spent helping people buy and sell homes. I am a licensed Managing Broker and Realtor specializing in Seattle’s Eastside; Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Bellevue, etc. This is my 10th year in the business. My wife, daughter and our two very silly dogs live in Carnation; we absolutely love it here.