“To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations.”Anthony Hitt
Should I Use a Real Estate Broker?
There are many things to consider when purchasing real estate.
- Is one type of real estate better than another?
- Will I have a more difficult time obtaining financing on a condo or a house?
- Is there a market that prices are getting ready to go up?
- Is there a market with a particularly hot rental market?
- How much should I offer on a property if I really want it?
- What if my offer is accepted and I don’t end up obtaining financing?
- What if I change my mind after my offer is accepted because I find out the house needs too much repair work?
These are tough questions that if left unanswered could lead to costly errors & mistakes. If you work with a broker, they can answer and research any questions you have and provide additional important questions to ask the seller. How many times have you thought you knew something about a subject, then upon speaking with a professional, you at some point said, “Good question, I hadn’t even thought of that!”?
The reasons you should work with a real estate broker are endless. Buying a home without representation is not a smart decision. When making such a sizable investment, you MUST work with a professional who is accountable for acting within your best interest. A real estate broker lives and breathes real estate every day and will provide the expertise you need.
One of the most costly mistakes a new investor can make is to try and do it without representation.
What If I Don’t Want to Work with a Real Estate Broker?
If you are a buyer, you have nothing to gain by choosing not to work with a broker. It’s free! Who would turn down free expert advice? If you are a seller, the cost to you is the commission you pay the broker for selling your home. However, if you are a seller and opt out of listing with a broker, you are still likely going to pay a buyer’s broker. The majority of homes are purchased by a buyer who is represented by a buyer’s agent. If selling your home For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you have to cooperate with buyers agents and offer 2-3% or they will have no incentive to show your home. A good broker easily pays for himself, and then some!
What Should I Look for in a Real Estate Broker?
You should consider at least the following when choosing a real estate broker to work with.
- Where do I want to buy? – Choose a broker who works in the area you are looking to buy. A broker who lives or has an office where you want to buy a home should be very well versed in that area. It’s important to find someone who is an expert in that particular sub-market. Quiz them. What is happening in this market? What are prices doing? What is inventory doing? How is the local economy? What are the main employment drivers?
- Are they the expert they say they are? – If they claim to be an expert in the area, ask questions and have them prove it. How many transactions did they do last year in that area? Do they have testimonials?
- Compassion, Patience, Sharing and Knowledge – Your broker should never pressure you unnecessarily. They should understand that you are making a big decision in buying a property and sympathize with you. More importantly, your broker should educate you. Brokers should not tell you to do something without explaining why. We believe that information is the most valuable resource, and we like giving it away for free. That being said, it’s also their job to pressure you when it’s in your best interest, such as when you’re at risk of losing a property but lack the experience to recognize the signs.
- Communication – How important to you is it that your broker picks up the phone when you call? Return your e-mails in a timely manner? Are available to visit properties with you? Most likely, very important. A readily available broker is essential to purchasing an investment property because properties are going fast! Wouldn’t you hate to miss out on an opportunity to make an offer because your real estate broker doesn’t call you back for 2 days?
- Online Presence – The entire world is becoming more and more Internet based. Real Estate is certainly no different. In fact, even more so than many industries, real estate is taking place online. The MLS is Internet based; buyers and sellers can do their own online research better than ever with sites such as Zillow.com and Redfin.com. Entire transactions are even completed now without people meeting face to face. If the broker you are considering does not have a powerful online presence, it’s a big red flag.
What Should I Expect Out of My Real Estate Broker?
Real Estate Brokers are Full Service! Do not just expect full service.. DEMAND IT! One of the most common things buyers do now is perform all of their own research. Listing brokers get calls daily from buyers who find them on Zillow.com or a similar site. There is nothing more aggravating than having a buyer call up and spend a considerable amount of time with them over the phone only to find out that they are already working with a buyer’s broker.
If you are working with a buyer’s broker, the BROKER should do all the research for you. Your broker should send you every available property that fulfills your investment criteria. Every time a new property comes on the market that fulfills those criteria, your broker should be immediately sending you those too. You should not be able to find anything online that your broker hasn’t already sent you.
If you work with the right broker, you do not need to waste your time (a costly mistake) on searching for properties, that’s what the broker is there for. Instead, spend your time focusing on your business or job that provides you the income to make investments, preparing for you loan, and touring properties with your broker. Sure, there is nothing wrong with doing your own online research, in fact, you should. However, if you find a property your broker has not already sent you, send the information to your broker. They may be able to find out much more and better information about that property than you could on your own.
How Can I Get Help Choosing the Right Real Estate Broker for Me?
Your friends, neighbors and family members are great resources. Perhaps someone living in the neighborhood you are looking to move to knows a great agent. Real Estate Brokers thrive on referrals. A referral means someone has had good experience with that Real Estate Broker; they are at least worth following up on.
In addition to asking for referrals (or if you can’t get any), the best place to look for a great agent is online. Find brokers who have sold properties or represented other investors in the types of properties and in the areas you’re most interested in so that you can work with people who have their finger on the pulse.
Online Location Matters Too In Real Estate
Real estate is all about location, location, location! The better your physical location, the more valuable your real estate. Have you ever thought about what the role of “online real estate” can play in buying and selling properties?
Most people begin looking for homes through the Internet. When choosing a real estate agent to work with–consider their online location.
If you can’t easily contact your broker of navigate their website–imagine how other agents, buyers, or sellers would feel. When choosing a real estate agent to work with, remember the importance of your broker’s online presence.