Buying a home is one of the largest transactions most people ever make. It's important you have a great partner on your side to assist in the often tricky transaction. Traditionally in Georgia, the seller pays both agent's commissions, so buyers should definitely utilize the services of a real estate professional.
Here are the five key points to consider on your hunt for a buyer's agent:
1. Word of mouth: Past clients of the agent are a great source of information. Friends, neighbors and co-workers can tell you specifically of their past experiences with an agent. Be wary of recommendations to a distant family member that does real estate on the side. Google them to see if they have their own website and learn about their specialties, qualifications and experience.
2. Industry experts: You need to pre-qualify for financing before beginning your home search, so you know if you can secure financing and to determine your price range. Most agents will require a pre-qualification letter prior to spending time with a prospect. Your mortgage consultant can help match you up with compatible agent suggestions.
3. Personality test: You are entering into a partnership with the agent to help guide you through the entire selection and purchase process. Are you comfortable with their personality, professionalism and responsiveness?
4. Field of expertise: Is the agent familiar with your market and actively assisting buyers? A luxury home listing specialist may not be the best choice for a first-time "starter home" shopper. Also, an agent very knowledgeable about Cobb County may not be the best choice for a Clayton County buyer and visa-versa.
5. Professional: Many good agents may have a part-time job but are they flexible to arrange time for you and address issues during the week, if needed. You also don't want an agent that is too busy for you. A busy foreclosure listing agent with many properties may not be able to give you the attention you deserve.
Above all, ask questions upfront. Many of the most successful agents have a team that works with them, so find out who exactly you will be working with and get to know them.