Ensuring Your Real Estate Agent Has Your Best Interest In Mind
As a current or former military service member, you have access to a variety of home-buying programs. Even so, that doesn’t mean that you should dive headfirst into the process. You should carefully consider every step you take, as you want to purchase the right home at the best possible price.
This is where a real estate agent can help. But before you choose just any real estate agent — there are more than one million in the United States — you must know what you’re looking for. Here’s why: Most real estate agents have their clients’ best interests in mind, but that doesn’t hold true across the board.
There are agents out there who want nothing more than to close as many deals as possible as quickly as possible, even if it means putting their clients at a disadvantage. That might mean:
- Not taking enough time to do their research to find the homes that meet your needs
- Steering you towards homes that cost more than you’d like to spend
- Misrepresenting the local inventory of homes on the market
- Glossing over or minimizing homes’ imperfections and damage
To ensure that you choose a real estate agent who has your best interest in mind, it’s important to ask the right questions and be on the lookout for red flags.
Find a Real Estate Agent with VA Experience
A real estate agent is responsible for helping you find a home, not helping you secure a mortgage. Still, because the home-buying process is a bit different with a VA loan than a conventional loan, it’s a good idea to choose a real estate agent with applicable experience. There are two ways to do this:
- Ask the real estate agent you’re considering working with how much experience they have working with military service members
- Choose from one of the 5,000 real estate agents in the Veterans United Realty network
A real real estate agent with lots of experience working with current and former service members is likely someone who appreciates their time of service to their country. As such, they’re more likely to want to show appreciation by providing top-notch real estate services.
Look for Green Flags
You can’t read minds, but there are some indicators that a real estate agent has your best interest at heart. Here are some green flags to be on the lookout for:
- A willingness to share their knowledge of the local market
- The ability to provide sound guidance and advice, even when it might mean a longer home search
- The willingness to connect you with a network of local professionals, such as home inspectors, appraisers, and title companies
- Attention to details about what you need, such as by taking copious notes when you’re meeting to explain what you need in a home
Be Aware of Red Flags
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that every real estate agent is the same. Some don’t care if you end up truly happy with your purchase, as long as they’re walking away with a hefty commission. Some red flags that an agent may not be right for you include:
- Neglecting to ask about your goals, plans, and budget
- Offering to take a smaller commission than other agents (because all they are relying on quantity, not quality, of sales)
- Being unable or unwilling to provide you with professional guidance
- Exaggerating about the competitiveness of the market and pushing you to make fast decisions
If you think you’ve spotted a red flag, you’re probably right. That’s why it’s so important to talk to multiple agents before deciding which one you want to work with. After all, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you can make.
Ask the Right Questions
Before you ever go out to view a house with an agent, consider asking them a handful of basic questions to better understand what they have to offer. Some helpful questions are:
- How much experience do you have working with military service members?
- What’s your knowledge of the home-buying process with a VA loan?
- Are you familiar with any ways I can leverage my military service to save money?
- Do you work as a full-time or part-time real estate agent?
- Do you have references I can contact?
If an agent doesn’t have time to answer these questions, they don’t have time to provide you with high-quality service. Conversely, if you like what you hear in response to your questions, you can continue to dig to determine if the agent’s approach aligns with yours.
Find an Agent, Buy a Home
Once you decide on an agent to help you find your next home, you’ll want to get a pre-approval letter from your chosen VA lender. This letter will be essential for showing sellers you are actually able to follow through with the purchase, once you put in an offer. Hero Loan is here to help you get a VA loan to purchase your dream home. Our five-minute approval process can put you on track to closing on your new home in 14 days!