The number one piece of advice I give anyone looking to buy a home is to interview several agents before signing up with one. Your agent should know the neighborhoods you’re looking in either because 1) they live in the area, 2) have sold homes in the communities you’re considering or 3) at least had clients looking in the same areas and are already familiar.
Let me tell you a story about our move to Colorado in 2013. It was our third move in a decade. We felt like we knew what we were doing when it came to finding a new home, not our first rodeo…you know what I mean. (Plus, I had lived most of my childhood in the Denver area so we thought we understood what moving to Colorado was like.)
After seeing our move announced on social media, a college friend reached out to us and we hired him as our realtor. He was a good agent, but primarily worked on the south side of Denver and my husband’s job transfer was to the Boulder Valley, which our agent knew nothing about. (I grew up near Golden, again the other side of the city, and so I wasn’t familiar with the area either.)
Our agent was learning the neighborhoods With Us.
Although he was a good agent, he was learning the area with us. He couldn’t answer anything about the towns we were considering, commuting patterns, the closest grocery store or point out the best coffee shop in the neighborhood. In hindsight, it was the blind leading the blind. He couldn’t tell us anything that we couldn’t already find on Zillow or a map search. We ended up with the perfect house in a great neighborhood with breathtaking views purely on luck. (Thank goodness for listing alerts.)
Our agent wrote us an amazing offer and provided perfect customer service throughout the process and we got lucky landing in a good spot, but that isn’t always the case. We all know people who have purchased a home, never loved it and moved again within a few years because it was never the right fit. This can be avoided when you really look at who is guiding your through this process. They should be your guide, your partner…your NEIGHBORHOOD EXPERT.
Hire an Agent who KNOWS the area you’re looking in.
I often work with people who are relocating and don’t know where to begin their search. Sometimes they stroll into an open house and start asking questions about the area, where to buy a certain architectural style of home, size of yards, location that allows for commuting via bike, etc. Any good agent should know which neighborhood has the age/price of home or size of yard you are looking for. Maybe you’re looking for a more urban lifestyle, where restaurants, coffee shops and activities are all easily reached via walking or biking. Someone who knows the area can suggest homes not only in the town you’re looking in, but also make you aware of another hidden gem that’s up and coming. It’s their job to know more than you, not learn at the same time with you. Otherwise they are just the person unlocking the door for you, not a partner in the process.
Ask lots of questions, listen carefully.
Most agents are great at their job and want you to be thrilled with your new home. Make sure you listen to their answers when you’re asking questions. Listen for who will be your guide in learning your new neighborhood and town. That’s the person who will partner with you and make you confident in your home purchase.
Best of luck! If you need any help finding an agent or are looking to move to the Boulder Valley area, please reach out. I would love to help you find your dream Colorado home!