Video Transcript: Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Stacey: Many people use a professional real estate agent to help them with the home buying process. So how do you select the right agent for you? Let's find out on "What Works Now"

Voice Over: AOL and Bank of America Home Loans--helping you find out what works now.

Narrator: So you've decided to buy a home, establish your budget and prequalify for financing.

Stacey: [On the phone] Yeah I know, I'm really excited. OK, I'll talk to you later. [Hangs Up.] Now comes the fun part – shopping for a home

Narrator: Thanks to the internet, it's easy to quickly sort through listings that match your price and location preferences. But, once you find something you like...

Stacey: [Standing in front of property] You still need to see the property in person, have it inspected, and negotiate a final price.

Narrator: That's where the real estate agent comes in.

Gregory: Hello, My name is Gregory Olson and I'm a licensed real estate professional. As a buyer, you do not legally need a real estate agent, but it's good to have one on your side for when you go into the negotiating or any of the property searches. The agent makes it easier for you to graph the home buying process by educating you along the way. They show you the different steps it takes to start your home search, so you get exactly what you want out of the deal.

Narrator: Referrals from friends and neighbors are usually a great way to find professionals of any kind – and agents are no exception.

Gregory: You should interview a minimum of three agents. Even if you like the first one you've interviewed, you still want to see a couple more; and if you still like that person after that, then I would hire them. The first thing you want to do when selecting an agent is to figure out the neighborhood you want to live in. Look around that neighborhood and find out who's selling. Also, you want to find out if that agent has the same schedule as you. It makes it more convenient for you, and you'll always know they're available when you're ready to look.

Stacey: [driving with Gregory] I like the house across the street.

Gregory: That's very nice.

Gregory: [to audience] So you want to ask them how long they've been in the business. It's important because of product knowledge. When someone's been in the business more than two years, normally they have very good product knowledge and know the neighborhoods they work in. If anyone is below two years, you probably don't want to hire them yet. It's not who the agent works for – whether it's a large franchise, a boutique firm, or even if they have their own office at home – it's all about them and you mixing together personally.

Narrator: And once you get the basics out of the way, you may want to select an agent who agrees to represent only you – and not the seller, too.

Gregory: [Walking with Stacey] So I think this is the one you're going to be looking for. It has five bedrooms, four baths.

Gregory: [to audience] You're going to go to an open house, and you're gonna see an agent their. Who does that guy represent? The seller. You'll want someone like me, who's going to represent you, the buyer. You want to hire someone who's going to represent your interests and have your back in the deal.

Stacey: Finally, you should look for a real estate agent with sharp negotiating skills.

Gregory: Say we're at the open house together, and you like this house-you want to make the offer. OK, you can either go in at that price, we can go in a little lower than that price. If there happens to be a bidding war, we'll obviously have to go higher. Say there's roof damage and you need to pay $8,000 to get the roof fixed. Then what we do at the negotiating table is say "I want $8,000 off the price so the roof can be fixed." Or we can ask the sellers, "Would you fix the roof before we buy the house?" Everything is negotiable.

Stacey: Once you have all this information, you should have a much better grasp of who you feel most comfortable working with during the home buying process.

Gregory: [Joining Stacey on the lawn] So what do you think? You want to see some more open houses?

Stacey: Sounds great, lead the way.

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