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20 Feb 2017
You will be selecting a real estate agent. The purpose of this brief article is to share one tip with you–how to avoid the big mistake that some buyers make when selecting a real estate agent. If you screw up selecting a real estate agent who can represent you well, it will cost you, not me. Take this advice with a grain of salt if you want to, but it comes with almost 40 years in real estate, including 20 years as a real estate attorney. I share this hard learned experience with you absolutely free. Do with it as you will, but it is solid and sage advice.
I got a phone call a few days ago from a gentleman, but I was on the line with another person, so I didn’t pick up. I called back within 3 minutes, and the gentleman said, “I just went down the list and called the next agent, and he answered the phone, so I have an appointment to view a home with him.”
I don’t doubt this gentleman was doing what he thought made sense, but he was making a big mistake selecting a real estate agent, not for me but for himself. Think about what he did. He was about to spend a large sum of money, and he was selecting a real estate agent by just grabbing the next name off a list. And not a refined list of highly qualified Realtors. Just an unfiltered list on the Internet. Really? Is buying a home like buying a pair of socks on a shelf? Is selecting a real estate agent like finding the next clerk at the Post Office, or the next Barista at Starbucks? Or is hiring an agent just a matter of cold calling people off a list, and the first one to answer wins? May I speak plainly? It’s hard to imagine that anyone would use such a reckless approach for such an important task, and with so much money at stake.
Would you hire a financial planner and give him your life savings without some research on him and his company? Would you hire a babysitter without references? If you needed serious legal help, would you hire the first attorney to answer the phone in the Yellow pages with no interview, and no research?
I talked to another buyer months ago, and we had a great conversation about the real estate market. Then he told me something bizarre. He said when it comes to selecting a real estate agent, he would hire the first one “to make him aware of a home he decided to buy.” In other words, he didn’t qualify agents, interview them, do any due diligence. He wasn’t concerned about whether his agent was good, mediocre, bad, or terrible. He wasn’t going to ask if the agent had contract or negotiating experience. He was simply going to hire whomever emailed or told him about a home he decided to buy. He did not realize how his decision making process was far from being in his own best interests.
What should every buyer do? When it comes to selecting a real estate agent, find the best agent you can find, and hire him. Period. Why in the world would you hire someone with substantially less qualifications, or no qualifications? Why? Some think they owe some sort of loyalty to an agent if they talk to them or if that agent emails them some listings. Nonsense. There is no obligation unless you signed a written buyer’s agency agreement, and you should never do that. Find the best agent you can who will do an outstanding job for you, and hire that agent to represent you as your buyer’s agent. It does not matter where you find the home you want to buy. It doesn’t matter who has it listed. It doesn’t matter who told you about it. Find and hire the best buyer’s agent for yourself. Be loyal to that agent, because that agent is going to do more for you than any other less qualified agent could. Remember, this is about you and your best interests.
This may sound like I’ve written this just so you would hire me as your buyer’s agent, and I hope you do, but for goodness sake, take this advice for your own protection. My heartbeat is to help you make wise decisions at this phase of your life. Whether that means hiring me or some other agent is unimportant. What is important is that you don’t make a big mistake selecting a real estate agent–the wrong agent by randomly picking the next name on some list.
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