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Hiring A Buyers Agent For Free - What Should You Require Of That Agent?

I have a home buyer who also eventually became a home seller and second time buyer who said I have “the heart of a teacher and the mind of a CEO!” As a listing agent and buyers agent, I understand both sides of the home transaction equation as well as the people involved in every step of the selling, buying, lending and escrow process. And because I’ve handled well over 100 transactions in my career to date, I have experienced most every type of person and transaction obstacle that occurs in real estate sales. Understanding, respecting and caring about people in general has allowed me to thrive in serving others. 
Selling and buying a home is a stressful event. It often requires selling a home that you raised all your children in. This home is full of memories that you want to keep near and dear to your heart. This home represents blood, sweat and tears from long, arduous hours of work invested to not only pay for the home but to keep the home maintained all those years. Buying a home can be very stressful as well. You are hoping you are making the right decision. You are hoping you are buying a home that will be perfect or as close to perfect as possible for your family or yourself. You are hoping you are making a great investment and that this particular home will grow in equity throughout the years you enjoy there. And you are investing the majority of your hard-earned money into the purchase of this home. 
The last thing you need to do is hire the wrong agent for the wrong reasons only to make your life that much more stressful after you purchase the home and potentially the wrong home. 
I take my career very seriously. Now don’t get me wrong, I have fun with my sellers and buyers. They can tell you first hand I make the process of selling and buying more fun because I can. Why? I have the competence in my business which has provided me with the confidence and thus the ability to juggle representing my clients on one of their largest financial investments of their lifetime while at the same time managing expectations, emotions and communication throughout the selling and buying process among ourselves and among all the other parties involved. I always treat every home transaction as though I am investing my own money. That’s only fair to my clients. 
Would you hire an average doctor to do a very important and intricate surgery?
Would you hire an average financial advisor to manage all your hard earned money that you have worked your life saving?
Would you hire an average real estate agent to handle your largest financial investment you make in your lifetime?
The unfortunate answer to all 3 of these questions for a lot of people is YES! They do hire average people to do these massively important tasks. And unfortunately they pay dearly for doing so. Lives are lost, financial ruin can occur and they overpay for homes that end up costing them even more money because they weren’t represented well. 
I want you to avoid these mistakes. You are a person that deserves to have the best representation, the best financial advice and the top surgeons performing your surgeries. How do you get all that? You demand it. Your the one paying for it! But buyers real estate agents are free aren’t they? We are technically free to the buyer because the seller negotiates how much they will pay the buyers agent for bringing them the buyer that closes escrow on the home. But when you hire the wrong buyers agent, your free agent just cost you dearly. 
Hiring the Right Buyers Real Estate Agent the First Time Is Vital! 
Let’s talk about the most important characteristics and skill sets of a great real estate agent. 
First, you want to be sure you are prioritizing your priorities. I want you to decide what is most important to you. Buying a home is a business deal not a personal deal. So why would you hire a friend to sell your home or buy your home? Typically every time I see a home seller or home buyer hiring a friend to sell or purchase their home its because that friend is giving commission back. You think you are saving money, however, the joke may be on you. Almost 100% of the time I see sellers and buyers use discount agents and/or friends as their real estate agent, I see very expensive mistakes made and I see tens of thousands of dollars either overpaid by the buyer or lost by the seller. 
Think about it. If you are professional and one of the best in your business, are you going to work at a discounted price for anyone? And if you decided to do so, do you think you would invest more time on your deals that are full price or your deals you are giving a discount to? Be honest? We all know the truth is that a discount agent is going to give discount service or they have discount experience meaning not much. I’m not here to disparage discount agents or your friends. I am solely here to encourage you to think deeply before you entrust a friend or discount agent to sell or buy your largest financial asset you will transact in your life. 
Prioritize what you want. I’m speaking of communication and rapport building skills, negotiation skills, people skills, fun to work with, experience, area expertise, knowledge of neighborhoods and HOAs, knowledge of lending, escrow, title and inspections. It’s one thing to have a buyers real estate agent that is nice and fun to see homes with but lacks skill sets in communicating with the other agents, lacks knowledge of the area you are buying a home in, lacks strong negotiation skills because they have only done 5-10 transactions and don’t have a previous business experience that created strong negotiation tactics. I’m going to remind you again that this is a business transaction not personal transaction. Hire accordingly. 
I have kept in contact with almost all of my past sellers and buyers. They have all given me very positive reviews on Zillow and Yelp. They refer me family and friends. And many of them have hired me a second time already. Would all these clients refer family and friends and rehire me if I didn’t exceed their expectations the first time or if they regretted their purchase or sale because of the way I handled their transaction? Of course not. 
I want you to have this same type of experience. So, interview your buyers real estate agent like you would interview a listing agent selling your home. Because home buyers don’t have to pay buyers agents commission, they tend to hire just anyone. But when they go to sell their home, they interview 2-3 agents to hire the person they see best fit to get them the most net dollars from the sale of their home. How about you think about buying in the same way? You interview 2-3 buyers agents to hire the agent you think will save you the most money on the price of the home (not through discounting their commissions) and negotiate you the best terms, will communicate well and consistently while advising you and ensure you are well represented every step of the way. Ask questions. 
Few Questions You Could Ask of Your Potential Buyers Agent:
Do you live in the area? 
Do you know most of the neighborhoods in the area we want to buy?
Please tell me a few reasons you would tell us not to buy a home based on what you saw and know from your experience?
Are you a strong negotiator?
Do you know many of the real estate agents that do most the business in this area?
How many homes have you bought and sold in your career?
What do you think is the #1 thing we should look for when we go to see a home?
Bottom line is you deserve to be represented by a well rounded real estate professional that works full time and has tremendous experience with all scenarios of real estate. You deserve a buyers agent that will work tirelessly to find your ideal home, will negotiate as though they are using their own money to buy the home, represent you in a way that exceeds your expectations because you are made aware of things you never would have thought of. Don’t short yourself and hire an amateur when you can hire a professional for the same price - FREE!
Skillsets Your Buyer’s Agent or Listing Agent Need to Have:
Transaction experience to know what to look for and protect you from at every step of sale
Ability to connect with all parties involved
Strong communication skills
Strong rapport building skills
Strong negotiation skills
Deep knowledge of real estate 
Caring personality - truly cares about your family and treats the purchase as though it’s their own money
Area expert familiar with neighborhoods, HOA’s
Vast network of real estate agents;
Vast network of vendors (contractors to assist you once you buy if you are a buyer or to assist you to get your home ready to sell)

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Whether it’s transitioning from one home to the next, retiring by the beach, first time home buyers, investment purchases - my passion is helping people win in life. And selling and buying homes for San Diego families is the role I play to help you win!
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