What should you look for in a realtor? Buying a home can be a difficult process, especially for first time home buyers. Finding the right real estate agent is an important part of the home buying process. Below are important things to look for:

Responsiveness – The current real estate market in Hawaii is very competitive and the best properties rarely stay on the market for more than a week or two. You want to find out how your real estate agent will update you when a new property comes out and how quickly they act to get their buyer’s contracts submitted.

The purchase contract has a lot of timelines that require real estate agents and buyers to make decisions. If time frames are missed then buyers may lose their chance to back out of the contract due to that provision, negotiate for a credit, or they risk losing their deposits

Knowledge – Every property is different. You want to find a realtor that knows the area you are looking at buying into. Do they know about Condos? Single family homes? New developments? Leasehold Property? Working with VA buyers? Ask them questions and make sure they have the answers for you.

Experience – Every transaction is a learning experience. It is tough to replicate the knowledge agents get by going through transactions. It’s okay to ask an agent how many transactions they have done and how long they have been in the business. Good agents will be able to give you information about areas or condo buildings that newer agents won’t.

They may also have experience in other professional fields such as accounting, finance, law, or residential lending that might be useful during the transaction.

Good Work Ethic – For many agents real estate may only be a part-time job or hobby. You want to make sure that you work with a full-time agent that is responsive. How do they handle the home buying process? Are they at every inspection (professional home inspection, termite inspection, appraisal, final walk through)? Do they assist in getting quotes from vendors for flooring, painting, electrical, plumbing?

Strong Company – Although a good real estate agent will take care of their clients no matter what real estate company they are with there are several advantages to working with a strong real estate broker. All things being the same, an agent might get two exact offers, one from an agent at a company they have worked with in the past and another from a company no one has heard of. Once again, all things being equal they may be more inclined to work with that company just by reputation.

Larger companies have more listings. This means that they might have knowledge of upcoming listings before they come on the market and your agent may be able to get you into properties sooner than other buyers.

Working with a strong company is not a necessity but an added bonus for buyers. Most people will make several real estate purchases in their lifetime. Working with a strong company also helps to insure that you will have a real estate agent from life that can help you achieve your real estate goals.

Learn more about Joseph Castaneda (Realtor Associate) & Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty