How to get complete honesty and integrity when you need help making one of the largest financial decisions of your life.
Realtors can be an incredible wealth of knowledge and support when buying a home. Who you hire is a big decision, and of utmost importance is finding someone who is honest and has integrity.
Here are some suggestions to help make sure the realtor(s) you meet with are not going to try and “sell you something” but instead guide and support your selection process to ensure you get the best possible home for you or your family.
First you have to understand what motivates realtors to stay up late or get up early, miss a party or leave a comfortable chair on a Sunday to find you opportunities and ensure you are informed on the value, zoning, condition and price of the home you are considering buying. The two main motivators I see are incentive and pride.
Commissions are the incentive to entice realtors to show and sell properties. Pride in doing a good job improves the Realtors reputation and secures future referrals from you as a satisfied client.
The incentive for a realtor to find you a good home, secure the property for you (get your offer accepted) protect your interest (suggest and include conditions in the offer) and minimize the stress (do the legwork and explain the process) is starting to vary more now than I have seen in my 26+ year career. Here is my suggestion on how to level the playing field and make sure you get the honesty and integrity you are looking for in a realtor.
Ask your realtor what a buyers contract is all about. In a nutshell he or she should be able to explain: the contract states in all instances where the realtor's commission on the property you have agreed to view is the amount you and he/she agree is fair the realtor would accept that amount as payment.
In the event the commission is above that amount you agreed to, the realtor can give the difference back to you. In the event the commission is below that amount and the seller is unwilling to make up the difference you can avoid the property or make up the difference. This way the realtor knows if you buy a property he/she will eventually get compensated; their advice shouldn’t be influenced by fear of losing you after what often turns out to be months of viewing homes together.
This way the agent should be willing to take the time to educate you on what to look for and what to avoid, what similar properties have been selling for, on and off site influences that might affect your enjoyment and resale of the property and chances are it won’t cost you anything because most motivated sellers are willing to pay your realtor a fair commission to get their house sold A.S.A.P.