Buying Your Home - Working With a Real Estate Agent

Interview Agents.                                                                                       Interview agents
So often Buyers start their home purchase process by calling on signs to get information. This sounds innocent enough, however this can often result in a Buyer disclosing financial or personal information to a lot of agents.  Your purchasing power should be left to be discussed between you and your Realtor of Choice.  And, your chosen agent can find out anything you need to know on any property.    

How do I find a real estate agent?
Asking friends and family for recommendations of agents they’ve used before is a good source.  Be sure to ask if they would use the agent again. And, interviewing, even if only by phone is the best way to a find a good fit for you!  Where you are looking to buy is often not so important for agents that work all of an MLS database.  However, it is most important to interview experienced Realtors that you feel you can communicate well with.          

What about a buyer's agent?
Per Susan - I can only cite the law in Louisiana, but for many years now, agents in the state can represent a Buyer or a Seller, and under dual agency work with both in one transaction.  It is very important to interview agents with proven records that have been in the business for at least several years.  As I often say - this is a business that is truly learned in the trenches.  Over time things have changed a lot in the industry, but Representation of Our Clients should be at the heart of everything we as Realtors do for our buyers and sellers." Securing a trusted agent to represent you as a Buyer is a very good idea.  This way, your financial and personal information are being kept with one individual.

How are agents paid?
When a property is listed, the commission is included in the price, no matter if the agent is representing the seller, buyer, or both.  When there are 2 agents or Brokers involved in a sale, this commission is generally split.  Of course, things can differ from state to state.                                   

Can I use an agent for a new home?
Yes.  Even when builders have sales offices in front of their developments, your chosen agent can work with you and the sales staff on securing your new construction home and help you with options for materials and appliances.  Whether new construction or an existing home -- Buyers should always Contact their chosen Realtor!  This will ensure your confidential information is kept with your agent and prevent confusion who is representing the Buyer!

How much does my real estate agent need to know?    
The more your agent knows, the better they can guide and direct you. However, what type of agency relationship you and your agent have may determine the comfort level of trust you should have with disclosing things to your agent.   Every state has different agency laws. In Louisiana, some forms are:  An agent can have a Buyer as their "Client", meaning the agent is representing the best interest of the buyer, or a Buyer can be the "Customer" of an agent, meaning the agent is assisting/facilitating things for the Buyer, but not representing them. As well, if a Buyer pursues a property that is the "personal listing" of their agent, then said agent would be in a "Dual" agency situation.   This information is explained in depth within the Louisiana Real Estate Commission Agency Brochure.  Any agent you are considering should supply you with this informative brochure upon first significant contact.