Realtors work for you in the whole home buying process – it is important to remember that as you choose someone to work with and as you go along through the process. You should have expectations of your realtor. They are supposed to be an unbiased professional, who will make a commission when you finally complete a home purchase or sale. You should feel comfortable with them, both their professional knowledge and their ethics.
Most importantly, unless you are a real estate professional yourself (which you are probably not if you’ve found yourself on this site!) you should absolutely expect that your realtor will explain everything about the process in a way that you truly understand and that they are using their professional knowledge to look out for your best interests. This should include them offering an opinion about anything they see at a property that could be a potential issue. It should also include them walking you through every part of the required paperwork and explaining what each part means and covers and exactly what you will be agreeing to if you sign it.
If you have certain criteria that are deal breakers for you, be upfront about that with your realtor too. No one wants to waste time on houses that are going to be a no-go! Outline these deal breakers specifically and clearly.
What do you want your realtor to do for you exactly?
- Send you listings?
- Set up showings for listings you find?
- Review listings you find to let you know if they spot any issues in the listing?
- Do drive bys for properties either of you think might work?
- Review available documents on any listing either they send you or you send them to keep you from visiting a house that has documented issues?
- Cross check items in the disclosure document against what you all can see at the house?
- Cross check the inspection report with the disclosure?
- Investigate transaction history on the home – were there other deals that fell through?
Be as clear as you possibly can be and DO NOT assume that they are just going to do something for you as “part of their job”. We thought a number of things were being “just handled” for us and they were not. If we had it to do over again, knowing what we know now, we would absolutely sit down with any agent we were considering working with and tell them in no uncertain terms that we expected them to do all of the above. We would have emphasized that we are smart people, but not real estate professionals, so we are absolutely relying on our professional to be on top of all of this for us.
You can’t ask too many questions. And it is ok to want what you want from a realtor. If you meet one that doesn’t like what you’re asking or saying, find another one who does!