Buyers: How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

We find a select group of buyers who are well versed in the process of buying real estate. They’ve bought and sold real estate numerous times in their lives, have had a spectrum of experiences and know the ropes because of it. But most buyers are relatively fresh to the process and have only had a few real estate transactions under their belt. It can be intimidating. Plus, many of our buyers are not from Wisconsin and are not familiar with the laws, codes and customs when they come here to shop.

As an agent, it’s a thrill to help people find a property that makes them happy. We work hard to provide a great experience to those we work with and most of the time, they feel that way too! There are times though, when we witness an unfortunate situation or are told about a less-than-fun experience and we wish we could offer folks a do-over. Unfortunately, we cannot. Instead, let us offer some wisdom!

As always, every situation is different and every agent is different. We all come with strengths, weaknesses and bad hair days. You will not have the same experience or the same results with any two given agents. So soak up the following pros and cons and apply them as necessary.

Working with the First Available Agent
You see a property online and click the button that says “contact an agent”. The website uses its magic programming to robocall agents. The agent who picks up is who you get. Pro: You get instant gratification. Con: You have no choice in who you get. Maybe you’re lucky that day, maybe you’re not.

Working with Someone You Know
This seems like a good one, right? You know Thomas from soccer league and tote each other’s kids around each week. He’s licensed in Wisconsin and has offered to show you property. Pro: You know your agent has your back and it will be fun to have a few beers together after you look at properties. Cons: He has to use Google maps to find each property, knows nothing about the area and has no local connections to help with questions.

Working with a Buyer Agent
This is where you sign an agreement with an agent that says you will work with that agent for a particular property search. It’s a commitment on both ends. They have duties to you as well. Pro: You have dedicated representation from your agent. Their job is to work on your behalf. Con: If you haven’t done your research or fall out of love with them, it’s not as easy to run the other direction and find someone else.

Working with the Listing Agent
Another interesting recent phenomenon is buyers who will only work with the listing agent. With each property that interests you, you call the listing agent for information and to set up a showing. Pro: This is the closest thing to working directly with the seller. The listing agent is the most informed about the seller and their property and is the gatekeeper of all offers. Con: You have no buyer representation and never develop any kind of an ongoing relationship with any given agent.

Do yourself a favor and do your due diligence in choosing an agent to help you buy your next property. There are so many great ways to get to know an agent online before you even pick up the phone or send an email. Do a few quick searches. The cream will rise. Better yet, get a personal referral from someone you trust.

If you’re having a bad experience with the agent who is showing you property, stop it! Unless you’ve signed a Buyer Agency Agreement, you’re not beholden to anyone. Bear in mind, however, that if an agent shows you a property, and if you want to make an offer on that property, you need to use them. So choose wisely.

Lastly, let us enlighten you about fees at closing. One would expect that if One is getting a loan that there will be lender closing costs. But did One ask their agent (up front) if they will be charging any fees at closing? Please do. We’re seeing “Buyer Closing Fees”, “Buyer Administration Fees” or “Buyer Agency Commission” becoming more the norm than not. Some are as high as $500! This is on top of the commission. We do NOT charge this fee. You’re welcome. ~ Wanda Boldon

Leave a Reply