One of the first steps a potential homeowner needs to take is to find a good real estate agent. The agent should be someone you can relate to, someone who understands your needs and has the expertise and know-how necessary to help you find that perfect home. Once you begin working with a real estate agent, it is important to understand the principles involved in the real estate industry as well as some basic awareness of how agents do their jobs. In this way, you will be best prepared to foster a productive relationship with your agent, and together find a house you can call home.
Agents get paid on commission
Real estate agents are not salaried or hourly workers. They are paid only when a house is bought or sold. An agent may put in literally hundreds of hours talking to clients, explaining the buying process, showing homes and negotiating deals without being paid a penny for their efforts. If you are not seriously considering buying a home or planning to cut the agent out of the deal, it is unfair to waste the agent's time.
Working with agents
A buyer is not forced to work exclusively with any one agent. However, you should inform the agent if you are involved with more than one agent. Never call two different agents from the same real estate company. If you are already working with an agent, do not make direct contact with the listing agent on a house. Never allow two different agents to show you the same house - who would get the commission?
Clarify your expectations
Your agent will work hard to keep you, the client, satisfied. Why? Simply because they want you to work with them until they find you a home where you will be happy and they will earn their commission. Make sure that you are clear about what service levels you expect so they can adapt to your needs. Do you require door-to-door transportation? Do you want to be contacted by phone or via email? Do you prefer to see many homes and narrow down the choices yourself or do you prefer that the agent shows you only one or two houses that best match your criteria? Do you expect to find a house within the month or are you looking at a leisurely pace?
Open house etiquette
Generally, buyers attend Open Houses accompanied by their agents. An agent will show the house and ask the listing agent any relevant questions on behalf of the buyers. In the event that you do attend an Open House without your agent, be sure to tell the listing agent that you are already with an agent to avoid any confusion later on.
It is standard practice to sign a buyer's broker agreement, which explains the relationship between yourself and the real estate agent by detailing terms and fees involved in any future real estate transactions. The contract, which may be exclusive or non-exclusive, should allow for an 'out' if you are dissatisfied with the real estate agent. If you do not want to sign such a contract, do not allow this agent to show you any homes.
The more information you can offer to a real estate agent about yourself and your needs, the better the service your real estate agent will be able to provide. Of course, a buyer should always act in a courteous manner, show up for appointments on time and call if there is a need to cancel. By building an excellent relationship with your real estate agent, you will be one step closer to realizing your dream of becoming a happy homeowner.
Read more at: http://www.realtor.com/home-finance/homebuyer-information/rules-for-working-with-real-estate-agents.aspx