Sunday, November 25, 2007

Do you need a buyer's agent?

The inside page of today's Seattle Times/P-I Real Estate section has an article about using a buyer's agent to purchase a home. (Sorry, the story isn't published online, so I can't provide a link.) Here are a few thoughts I'd like to add.

Studies show that nearly 80% of new buyers search for homes online before ever contacting a real estate agent, even if they intend to use one. I believe this is a really positive trend. Everyone benefits from being informed about what is available in the current market. But once you find a property you like and/or want to see, who do you call?

Some people think they can negotiate a better price if they contact the listing agent directly, but that is not the case. Remember that the listing agent works for the Seller. You need a Buyer's agent, who works for YOU.

It's not that difficult to find a skilled agent, but to ensure a positive buying experience, look for a skilled agent whose personality and work style align well with your own. This might take a little more time and energy, but it will be worth it. That's why it's a good idea to begin interviewing agents early -- so you are prepared to act quickly when you find that perfect house.

Where can you find a good agent? As the Times article mentions, Open Houses are a good place to meet agents. They provide the opportunity to conduct stealth interviews, since many are hosted by buyer's agents rather than the listing agent.

Additionally, ask friends and relatives about agents they have used. But don't be satisfied with lukewarm recommendations; hold out for glowing reviews! Hint: if they can't remember the agent's name without looking it up, the agent obviously wasn't that impressive. You deserve excellent representation, so be choosy!

Please call me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. I'd love an opportunity to interview with you. 206-708-9800. alice@alicekuder.com

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