You’re ready to start looking at houses, you know a little about what you want, what’s next? In my opinion, it’s time for you to hire your REALTORⓇ! Your REALTORⓇ is going to be your investigator, your paperwork guru, your negotiator, your cool 3rd wheel (maybe), and your partner through this process. Well, they should be, if they’re good… I’m going to take you through what I think is important when choosing your REALTORⓇ.
Full disclosure, I am extremely biased, I work part-time for a REALTORⓇ so I’m obviously going to tell you to work with one. However, I also think that working in an office of 80+ REALTORSⓇ has given me a unique perspective on what you should consider when choosing one. Either way, take this article with a grain of salt..
Before we get into choosing a REALTORⓇ, let’s talk about the why. Here’s a few reasons:
- It’s FREE – You might think that nothing in life is free, but if you’re a first time home buyer, the services of your REALTORⓇ are 100% free to you, no strings, no cost, nada! A REALTORⓇ’s commission comes from the seller’s side of the deal, so you don’t need to pay for the service at all!
- Paperwork – Purchasing a home involves a lot of paperwork and a lot of legal-ese. Having someone on your side that can help explain the ins and outs of the process will give you so much peace of mind! There’s so much more than just making an offer, and having someone that’s been through it hundreds of times makes it so much smoother. Remember, the details of purchasing a home can differ in every area, so don’t rely solely on internet resources (but keep reading my blog, okay?).
- Negotiations – Negotiations when you’re buying a house isn’t quite as easy as HGTV makes it look, you have to base your offers and counters on tangible facts about the property, about the costs of fixing issues (your REALTORⓇ has all the contacts to get you those quotes), and about historical data of the area. Making informed offers can help you hugely if you’re ever in a multiple offer situation!
- It’s FREE – Did I mention this already? Seriously though, it’s free, there’s no reason not to.
There’s wayyyy more reasons to use one, but I do hope that I’ve sold you on the idea of a REALTORⓇ! They’re there to protect and help you and there’s no reason not to use one when you’re buying your first home. It’s free to you, they’ve got your back, and they will help you literally with every step of the purchase… provided you pick a good one.
I already put up a disclaimer, but once again, I work for the REALTORⓇ I hired to help me with my purchase, but, I would have hired him even if I had not been working for him. I mean, you’re reading this on his website, so what follows will probably be a little biased towards Rob. I believe that I still have some worthwhile advice on making a choice, but if you’re here for 100% unbiased advice, you should probably click away now. Don’t forget to come back next week though when I go through the Mortgage Pre-Approval process and lingo!
So… What did I look for in my REALTORⓇ?
Here’s some of the qualities I think are important. Make your own list, or have a chat with your partner and prioritize these qualities, along with yours, so you can make an informed decision. You might not find anyone that will fit every single quality you’re looking for, but knowing what’s important to you will still help you find your best fit! One extra piece of advice, don’t be afraid to interview a few REALTORSⓇ! You do not need to work with the first one you contact! So, with that said, here are the qualities that were most important to me:
- Experience – This one’s pretty easy. I wanted someone who has been through a lot of transactions. While there are some amazing REALTORSⓇ just getting started, the knowledge and confidence that comes from having been through hundreds of transactions gives me a lot of peace of mind, so it was at the top of my list!
- Availability – Also pretty straightforward, but I wanted to work with someone who actually had time for me. I didn’t want to be passed off to a specific “buyers agent”, I wanted my transaction to matter, and that within reason, my REALTORⓇ would be available to help me see homes, answer questions, and just pick up the dang phone! Finding experience and availability can be tricky, but it’s definitely possible!
- Professionalism – See the trend, none of my wants so far have been that crazy. The main thing here is that I wanted to still feel valued and respected even though I was looking for my first home. Have you ever felt judged in a store because you didn’t seem like you could afford their products? I’ve been ignored at a few car dealerships before just for my age or the old car I used to drive, and I didn’t want to feel that way when purchasing my first home. Even if you’re looking for a $50,000 mini-home, you still deserve just as much respect from your REALTORⓇ as if you were purchasing a $400,000 home.
- Renovation/Construction Knowledge – Here’s the first more unique want. I wanted someone with real-life construction background or at least significant renovation experience. Why? Well, if I purchased something that needed fixing up, I wanted some advice on what actual costs would be, as well as advice and guidance. If I purchase something recently built, I wanted the knowledge that the contractors actually did a good job of it. I hate surprise costs, part of the reason I was happy to rent for so long, so making sure I wasn’t going to have to tear anything down right after I signed on the dotted line was very important to me.
With those qualities in mind, I chose my REALTORⓇ, Rob Hamel. He’s got over 10 years of sales experience, a background in construction, he’s into tech like me, and he actually answers his phone. He also works around 1 metre away from me, which made it very convenient to get a hold of him, but I mentioned that already.
When you’re choosing your REALTORⓇ, remember, consider your options and don’t feel like you have to use the first person you talk to. You want a partner, someone who has your best interest in mind, and someone you get along with well. On the flip side, don’t forget they’re humans with lives and families, so try not to have unrealistic expectations. Most full time REALTORSⓇ that I know work 70+ hours a week, so do your best to show your respect to them throughout the process. Oh, and I promise Rob didn’t make me write that part!
Next week, let’s get the scoop or Mortgages! What are they, how do I pick, what does amortization mean? So many questions! I’ll have (at least some of) the answers!
Andy Tree is a professional Wedding Photographer, marketing expert, coffee lover, millennial, board game enthusiast, and overall nerd. Over the next weeks he’ll fill you in on every step of his search and first home purchase.
Send us a message on Facebook if you have any specific questions or if you’re ready to start your own search!