Today kicks off the first article in a series of four we’re launching to help you buy a home in Charlotte.
The home buying process can be confusing…and it shouldn’t be! At Hendrix Properties we’re big believers in making things as simple as possible: Real estate relationships should be built on trust, and it all starts with choosing a qualified buyer’s agent.
Here in Charlotte, buyer’s agents are actually known as “brokers.” Licensed brokers can help you both buy and sell a home. If you’re looking to kick off a home search here in the Queen City we’d like to help. To kick it all off, we’ll tell you five things to look for when choosing a buyer’s agent.
1. Look for an agent that works pretty exclusively with buyers…but has other resources.
Seems like common sense, right? Well some brokers in Charlotte specialize in working with buyers, some with sellers, and some do a good job of working with both. But if you’re really serious about finding a buyer’s agent who can help you find the right home and negotiate a fair price it probably makes the most sense to seek out an agent who eats, sleeps, and breathes buyers. They’re more likely to know the ins and outs of the buyer perspective and also have an up-to-the-minute handle of the newest market offerings. There’s a caveat though. Make sure your buyer’s agent is part of a team or firm that also employs specialized seller’s agents. One day you’ll want to sell and if you’ve had a good experience with your Realtor you’ll want to keep putting that relationship equity to work.
2. Look for a full time agent.
There are over 2 million licensed real estate brokers in the United States. While most of these agents are full-time Realtors, hundreds of thousands of agents work in real estate part time. That’s great for them! But not so much for you. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make – shouldn’t you entrust that decision to someone who’s so educated about the local real estate market they’ve made it their profession? Full-time Realtors generally have a better understanding of the overall market, are more likely to know before a qualified home hits the market, and they’ll also have more industry connections that might benefit you in your home search.
3. Look for an agent that doesn’t push you to sign a long term contract.
When you meet a real estate agent in Charlotte they should offer you an official “Working with Real Estate Agents in North Carolina” brochure (if you don’t have one yet.) They are also required to tell you if they work for the seller of the home you’re inquiring about or if there are other issues of double-representation. Good agents do these things without being asked. It’s not unusual for a buyer’s agent to eventually ask you to sign an agency agreement – when in the process is up to them. Some buyer’s agents don’t mind talking at length with potential buyers and even adding their home preferences to MLS mailing lists, but most will want you to sign an agreement before they show you multiple homes. It’s fair for a good buyer’s agent to want the exclusive right to work for you…for a time. What’s not fair is an agent duping you into signing an exclusive buyer’s agreement that lasts 9, 12, or even 15 months. Read the contract carefully and talk to your agent about shorter terms such as 1 or 3 months. If an agent balks at this request consider the fact they want to have you under their thumb for longer than you’d like to be looking for a home.
4. Look for an agent that knows your desired neighborhood.
For most people, location is everything in real estate. Before you start looking at homes you should narrow down which Charlotte neighborhoods you may want to buy in whether it’s Dilworth and Myers Park or Huntersville and Cornelius. The most effective buyer’s agent for you likely is a specialist in a particular part of town: some agents know the lake, some are well-versed in Uptown. They’ll know the upsides and downsides of your chosen ‘hoods (i.e. the road construction headed your way in 2 years or a new development being built right behind a new home’s lot) and can give you helpful tips on where and how to buy. Additionally, they’ll understand the dynamics of a neighborhood; just like buyers in Sedgefield need to be prepared for bidding wars, buyers in Matthews may have the upper hand right now. The right agent likely even lives in or near the neighborhood in question.
5. Look for an agent you don’t mind spending lots and lots of time with.
At the end of the day, real estate relationships are all about trust. Meet a buyer’s agent and they give you a smarmy vibe? Move on. Set up an appointment to meet a new agent and they’re 25 minutes late? Move on. It’s crucial that your buyer’s agent’s personality meshes with yours – you’re going to be spending a lot of time together! – and that you have an easy communicative style. Every agent’s style is different. You may need an agent who’s casual and jokey while your best friend might prefer a take-no-prisoners style agent who’s all business. Referrals are one of the best ways to find a real estate agent that you can trust but they don’t tell you anything about your actual client/broker dynamic. Trust your gut.
Stay tuned next week for the article two in our Charlotte Buyer’s series:
5 Secrets Most Buyer’s Agents Won’t Tell You.
We’re on a mission to help Charlotte home buyers find the right agent and the right home in a simpler, more straightforward manner. At Hendrix Properties we want to help make the Charlotte real estate consumer better informed, one think piece, home sale, and coffee meeting at a time!
Do you need help buying a home in Charlotte? We’re here. Give us a call.