How to choose a real estate agent when you are the buyer
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lowcountry native or you just fell in love with Charleston like I did, with more than 5,000 real estate agents in the Charleston market, you might ask how should I choose an agent to help me purchase wisely and find someone who will look after my interests?
Hire a career professional
There are not more than 5,000 agents making a living as a professional real estate agent. Many, work part or full-time at other professions, some work part-time by choice, and still others have a license just to represent friends and relatives. There is however, no substitute for a full-time, experienced agent who has seen many potential pitfalls and can recognize great opportunities when they arise. Additionally, there are many details to be addressed in any real estate transaction, and having someone whose only job is to see your purchase through to completion is critical.
Hire someone to protect your interests
New construction buyers are frequently not educated about their own consumer protection. They arrive at a model home to be greeted by a friendly site agent. It’s important to remember that as nice and professional as those agents may be, they are not primarily focused on protecting the buyers’ interests but rather on the interests of the company that pays their salary. Make sure you have someone on your side who understands the details of the contract you will sign and can manage the details and deadlines along the way to protect you financially. Remember, the seller pays your buyer agent’s fees so hiring an agent costs you nothing and protects you on everything.
Hire an expert
Everyone “knows someone” in real estate (especially here in the Lowcountry) and whether it’s a friend or relative, think about how that relationship might be affected when issues inevitably arise. Would you rather have that conversation with a person who can be neutral and objective, or find yourself in conflict with issues unrelated to the matter at hand? Consider the benefits to the friendship by hiring an expert – after all, it is a business decision.
Hire a Realtor®
As Phil Dunphy on Modern Family has said, he’s not just a real estate agent, he’s a Realtor®. A Realtor® is held to a stricter code of ethics than real estate agents. Having confidence in your agent’s ethics and knowledge of best practices will help you sleep at night. Realtors® are members of a national organization and are required to take additional continuing education courses to insure they are up to date on the most current laws and the best practices. Make sure you select a Realtor® to insure you receive the best possible representation.
Hire a CNE®
Only a small percentage of agents throughout the country are Certified Negotiation Experts. Advanced, continuing education is required to achieve the CNE® designation. I recently interviewed agents in Chapel Hill, NC for clients who were moving there from Charleston. I did so because they had a bad experience with an agent in Asheville, NC while looking for a vacation home. After talking with three Realtors ® with this particular designation, I referred two of them to my clients. They went with my first choice and have been delighted with the outcome and closed on a new home last week. When interviewing agents ask if he or she is a Certified Negotiation Expert. It can be a huge asset to have someone on your side that is more effective in using a variety of techniques to achieve your best outcome.
– Terry Bell-Aby, Realtor®, CNE®