How to choose a buyers’ agent

When you want to buy a home in Pittsburg – whether it’s your first home or your seventh – the right buyers’ agent can mean the difference between weeks or months of frustration and speedy success.
Unless you’ve gotten a good recommendation from a friend or family member, you’ll need to take some time to find that agent.
Many buyers begin by seeing a Pittburg home on line that interests them, then calling the listing agent. That’s not really the wisest course of action, for a couple of reasons:
  • You need your own agent – not one who has a contractual duty to work for the seller.
  • The seller’s agent will encourage you to choose that house – if not another one he or she has listed.
Instead of calling a seller’s agent, start by researching buyers’ agents here in Pittsburg. Or, simply look for Pittsburg agents whose bios and other web information impresses you.
If possible, choose an agent who specializes in the area where you want to purchase a home. It’s an advantage to you if the agent is familiar with the homes for sale, the homes that have sold, and their prices.
Interview the agent. Perhaps even view one or two homes with them before signing a buyer representation agreement. If that agent doesn’t impress you, interview another. Statistics show that most buyers and sellers meet with only one agent, but that’s not always the best idea.
You want an agent who will listen to you and ask questions. They should want to know what you’re looking for and understand why – so don’t withhold information. After talking with you, the agent should have at least a few suggestions.
Ask questions of your own. You need an agent who will explain the home buying process, keep you informed, and answer your concerns. It’s not realistic to expect him or her to answer the phone every time you call, but your calls or emails should be answered at least within a few hours.
You also need someone who will work for you.
I’ve known agents who told their buyers something along the lines of “If you see a house you like on line, let me know. I’ll set up a showing.” I’ve also known agents who tell their buyers to do a drive-by first. In other words, they ask their buyers to do the work. You don’t need that. You need an agent who understands what you want and will let you know any time a new listing that matches your needs comes on the market.
You need to do your part, too.
I’ve also known buyers who either didn’t know what they wanted or didn’t want to reveal it. When asked, they say “I’ll know it when I see it.” There really are few worse words for a buyer’s agent to hear, because they offer no place to begin the search.
It’s almost like saying “I want some kind of house somewhere in Contra Costa County – or perhaps in an adjoining County. So show me all of them.”
Don’t do that. Tell your agent what you want – and what you don’t want.
As you tour homes together, let your agent know what you like and don’t like. And, if seeing several homes makes you begin to change your mind about what you want, let the agent know immediately.
One more thing – if you want a successful search, do choose just one agent and sign a buyer agency agreement. Don’t hop from agent to agent, hoping someone else will have something different to show you. At best, you’ll see the same homes repeatedly. At worst, the agents will see what you’re doing and all of them will stop working for you.
Your successful relationship with your buyers’ agent must be a partnership based on honesty, trust, and loyalty – going both ways. It should also be a pleasant, easy relationship – so choose someone whose company you can enjoy.
Take the time to choose the right Pittsburg agent for you – then enjoy the process.