Buying a home is a big financial commitment — very likely, the biggest financial investment most people make. If you choose to work with a real estate professional, finding someone who understands what you are looking for and how much you can afford to spend is critical. Ask friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers who have bought or sold recently for recommendations. Interview several agents about their experience, style, and market knowledge. Expect an agent to be professional: to return your phone calls promptly, to be organized, to listen to your preferences, and to communicate clearly. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
  • How many homes have you sold in the past year? How many in the neighborhood I’m interested in?
  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • Are you willing to represent only my interests? Do you have any obligations to the seller?
  • What is the commission you are interested in? Are you willing to negotiate that? Will you accept a lower commission?
  • How many homes are you prepared to show me? Where will you look for these?
  • Will you show me homes that offer lower commission rates? Homes offered by non-traditional brokers? Homes that are For Sale By Owner?

Once you sign your purchase agreement, your agent may recommend companies for financing, inspections, moving, insurance, and other related services. It may be convenient for you to use these providers, but it isn’t required. Shopping for these services is just like shopping for any services: Compare prices and ask for references before you make your choices.