Last week my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary which got me to thinking about love and marriage ("They go together like a horse and carriage." ) and how one's relationship with their real estate agent is a bit like a whirlwind romance.
While it is typical for me to interview with Sellers to become their listing agent, it is less often the case that I am interviewed to represent Buyers on the purchasing end. For whatever reasons, Buyers often come upon their agent at a Sunday Open, or are referred their agent through a friend or an acquaintance. Surprisingly, it's often a chance meeting and an intangible attraction that throws Buyers and Agents together (kind of like a blind date!).
Last weekend , I interviewed twice for the honor. Why? I'm not certain but it may be that Buyers no longer have any sense of urgency, whereas before it was common to visit an Open House on Sunday and write an offer on Monday - often with the Showing Agent a Buyer met only the day before.
It may be that there's much more caution in the market as a whole and this caution may be translating into Agent selection as well - and certainly, there is no shortage of excellent Agents from which to choose (at The GRUBB Co., I work among many of the best!) It may be that the Internet gives Buyers an opportunity to objectively "shop" their Agent - something akin to Internet dating - before a face-to-face meeting is required (please visit my Website at juliegardner.com).
Whatever the reason, it makes perfect sense to selectively interview an Agent for what may prove to be a relationship that spans weeks, months, and sometimes, even years (kind of like going steady ) and I am more than happy to meet with a prospective client before engaging in a commitment to one another.
When considering your single largest purchase, you should make sure your Agent has local experience, is well respected by other neighborhood agents, and has a Broker that is closely involved with the process. On your side, you will need to share your finances, your motivation, and your past purchasing experience, as well as your future expectations.
In short, we are going to be intimately connected in a long-term relationship that if openly and honestly pursued, should produce a successful result in the end (kind of like a marriage).
Just as you thoughtfully select your Listing Agent, take the time to carefully select your Buyers' Agent as well (BTW - they may or may not be the same, depending on where you are moving to). Knowing that your Agent understands your goals, concerns, aspirations and dreams, will help avoid a messy divorce down the line. While not every relationship is guaranteed a happy outcome, your chances are greatly improved with a little thoughtful investigation and a timely interview (kind of like a courtship!)!
And Happy Anniversary, honey. Next year marks 20 years - so we are long overdue for a second honeymoon (kind of like a vacation, but more romantic!).
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 14 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.