When you’re looking to buy a home in the Richmond region, you might think that any old real estate agent can help you find and close on the right place. Some rookies might even just call the listing agent of a property that interests them and move forward from there. But that would be a mistake. Homebuyers can benefit greatly by seeking out a real estate agent with special training to serve their needs: a buyer’s agent.
What does a buyer’s agent do?
“A buyer’s agent solely works for the buyer and has the buyer’s best interests at heart — as opposed to a listing agent, who represents the seller,” explains Ruckart Real Estate buyer’s agent Claire Johnson. “Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their lifetime. It’s good to have someone in your corner to navigate the transaction alongside you.” A good buyer’s agent will be with you through every step of the homebuying process, including:
- Working to understand your unique needs and finding properties that fit them
- Helping you understand market trends
- Negotiating on your behalf
- Contract and addendum writing
- Ensuring that the seller meets all contract requirements
What should you look for in a buyer’s agent?
Start by seeking out references and reading reviews to create a list of potential buyer’s agents. Then take some time to meet with them either in person on the phone to assess whether you feel comfortable with them and confident in their skills. You won’t be paying your buyer’s agent — that’s up to the seller — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t insist on working with someone that you fully trust.
“Buyers should look for an agent that is personable, prompt, intuitive, and has an in-depth knowledge of real estate market trends,” Claire says. She herself worked in the mortgage industry for nine years. This has turned out to be an invaluable asset for her clients. “I not only understand the emotional aspects of purchasing a home, but also the processes a buyer must go through in order to obtain a home loan,” she says. “Purchasing a home is a huge financial investment, and it’s helpful for me to address a buyer’s questions or concerns as we are viewing different properties.”
You may also want to consider working with an accredited buyer’s agent. “It can mean the difference between moving into the home of your dreams and missing out on it,” Claire says. “An accredited agent has more industry experience and understands the housing market far more than an agent who only sells a few homes a year. It’s important to align yourself with an agent who is experienced and will put in the work to help you reach your real estate goals.”
Questions to ask a potential buyer’s agent in Richmond
- How long have you worked in real estate?
- How many homes have you sold in the last year?
- Do you specialize in a specific area?
- Do you have a website?
- Where can I access your reviews?
- Do you require buyers to sign a contract or agreement?
What are some buyer’s agent red flags?
Not all buyer’s agents are created equal. There are some definite warnings signs that someone may not have your best interests at heart. “An obvious red flag would be lack of communication,” Claire notes. “If an agent does not respond to your requests in a timely fashion, you may miss an opportunity to purchase a home of interest. Because the real estate market is extremely fast-paced, it’s important to work with someone who is readily available.
“Another red flag would be bad reviews, or a lack of reviews altogether,” she adds. “Bad reviews speak for themselves. A lack of reviews could mean that an agent has a small client base. They may not be as experienced as you would have hoped.”
Are you ready to find a buyer’s agent in Richmond to help you buy your next home? Ruckart Real Estate has an experienced staff of showing specialists like Claire standing by to help you through the homebuying process. Contact us today to get started.