How do I find a good buyer's real estate agent?
September 19, 2005 8:38 PM   Subscribe

How do I find a good buyer's real estate agent?

More specifically, if anyone can recommend a good buyer's agent in the Orlando area that would be great. Basically I moved here two years ago from Seattle and don't have any local connections to get recommendations. I work from a home office and all of my co-workers are either in Seattle or Fort Worth, so not much help there. I have lived here long enough that I have a very good idea of which areas to look in and which to avoid when looking for a house, but that is only a tiny part of what an agent provides. When it comes to making the largest financial transaction of my life, I'd really rather not just drop a pencil in a phone book to find an agent.

Any suggestions?
posted by Lokheed to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
In case you don't get a specific recommendation, The Buyer's Agent has an Orlando franchise. We've gotten fantastic service from our local franchise, and I've heard nothing but good things from people who have used them elsewhere.
posted by ulotrichous at 11:11 PM on September 19, 2005

There is a bit less risk with a buyer's agent than with a seller's agent. The latter will want an exclusive contract for 60 or 90 days; if you don't like what you get after you sign, you're somewhat stuck. By contrast, a buyer's agent has claims to a commission only if he/she shows you the house that you eventually buy.

I mention that because you might have seen offers for frequent flyer mileage, or other discounts (for example, my insurance company offers up to $1000), if you go though a company to get an agent. (The company gets the agents to pay them a percentage of their commission; essentially the agent is working for less than the normal 3-or-so percent.) You might consider investigating such offers, particularly (as was my case) if the company is willing to suggest several agents, whom you can interview. My sense is that you don't have to commit to any of the referrals if you don't like any, and (as noted above) you don't have to stick with anyone if you don't like him/her.

Another approach - drive around the area you're interested in, and see if you can identify one or more agents who have a lot of properties (or "sold by" signs). I happen to think that full-time agents who get a lot of referrals tend to be good ones. (You often can check an agent's website to see how many properties he/she has at the moment.)
posted by WestCoaster at 11:21 AM on September 20, 2005

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