Post # 1
We have really gone back and forth on getting an agent or not, but I think we may decide to do so. (We put in an offer which was accepted in Feb on a house w/o one, but walked away after a bad inspection.) We would only want one if they can truly add value. I’m a lawyer, and in my state for about $75 could be licensed as one if I wanted (I don’t), and we’ve researched the areas we want to be in reasonably well. So, it comes down to determining if they would actually add value and aren’t wet behind the ears. What questions should we ask an agent? How should we hunt for ones to interview beyond asking friends for recs (and actually, our friends don’t recommend theirs…)?
Post # 3
@kay01: Maybe angie’s list? If you don’t have a membership I can look for you. Other than recommendations, I’m not sure; I would think recommendations tend to be biased (well, duh) based on the overall ease of the purchase, and not just the realtors performance, but I’m not sure since we didn’t use one. Still, recommendations can tell you a lot about them that asking direct questions can’t, such as how high of a priority communication is, for one thing.
You could ask
-How long have you worked in this area/market
-Are there any particular inspectors, banks, etc that you work closely with (this can actually be a red flag, in my opinion, because they may be getting kick backs and not actually making recommendations based on your best interests)
I guess that’s all I can really come up with! Other than finding out what their fee is.
Post # 4
We just bought a home and sold my own home. During the process we used 4 different realtors and I wouldn’t recommend any of them. If you’re an attorney, I might say go without one, although on the purchase side it costs you nothing to use one (sellers always pay the agents). We had problems with the agents we used because they were clearly not looking out for our best interests. We fired the first one after he wrote up an offer for us that was more than the amount we told him we wanted to pay. We fired the second one after he refused to look the sale price of some comparable properties in the neighborhood we were looking at. The third never had time to take us for showings. The fourth (that we used to purchase the home) went on vacation during the week we closed and was unresponsive to calls and emails. When we had problems with the seller fulfilling all the contingencies to close, it was up to me to make oodles of calls to get things going and because nobody was on top of it, we closed 2 days late. So, I don’t think too highly of agents. That being said, how are you going to get into properties if you don’t have an agent? Unless you are specifically looking at FSBO properties, which many agents refuse to show.
Post # 5
I had a real estate agent that I loved because she handled everything for us. She worked with our lender to make sure everything was done on time, and we didn’t have to do anything. All we did was call to set up our utilities and the rest was taken care of. We even got permission to have a cleaning service come in a few days before we closed, and the realtor is the one who met the cleaning people because DH and I were unavailable!
Post # 6
If you can easily get licenced and pocket the realtor fee, I’d just do that. Honestly, I didn’t think they were all that useful, especially when all the listings are online and you can easily find out anything yourself. The only thing I liked about having a realtor was being able to have him set up 4-5 houses for me to see at a time. And that was already after I saw the listing and gave him the list of houses I wanted to see. The only other thing, which would totally be by chance, is that if you were working with a realtor who hapen to get a good listing and could tell you about it before it hit the general market.
Post # 7
Honestly, the best realtors my family and we have used have been through referrals. You literally have to ask everyone from coworkers to family to friends to whoever. As you mentioned, a lot of people didn’t love their agents or had criticism, but you only need one! Then you have to just trust your gut when you meet them.
FWIW, we had a lot of problems when we used friends as realtors. They weren’t able to maintain a sense of professionalism and not to our benefit. They treated us worse than a regular client even though we were still going to pay them a commission and DH and I had to do a lot of legwork ourselves which our current non-friend agent does without asking.
Post # 8
@Ms. Kitty: Well, we actually successfully negotiated to have the price reduced due to not having an agent, as did friends of ours, so it can be done. So it does cost you something for using one even if you are on the buy side, because the price is higher (or correspondingly, could be lower). As for getting in to see them – pretty much every house has an open house and agents will show if you call and are serious so that hasn’t been a problem. But wow, 4 agents is not good luck!