Your home may be the largest and most important investments you'll ever make. Qualifying the professional that is going to help you find the right home is extremely important. There are 5 key elements you should consider as part of your decision making process.

Exclusive Representation

An exclusive buyer's broker will represent you and only you. Your buyer's broker will work hard to find you the home that best suits your needs, in a timely manner and with the least amount of stress. It's not uncommon to sign a contract or an agreement for exclusive buyer representation. It's worth it.

Experience and Expertise

Ask the brokers you're interviewing how long they've been licensed real estate brokers, how many transactions they've done in the past year and the type of negotiating experience they have. Ask if they specialize in working with buyers. If so, what type of buyers are their expertise: first-time home buyers, move-up home buyers, luxury home buyers or senior home buyers. You want to be sure they have the experience and expertise to find you the best home for the best home value.  

Local Knowledge

Be sure your buyer's broker knows the area like the back of their hand. Be sure she/he is familiar with the school district, local property taxes and any homeowner associations that may control your subdivision. Ask where the nearest hospital is and if your broker has recommendations for doctors, dentists and other medical professionals. Research the nearest park district, library, exercise facilities, stores and restaurants but have your broker share recomendations.

Method of Communication

Talk to your buyer's broker about your preferred method of communication and be sure it's compatible with theirs. Some brokers prefer to talk on the phone. If you'd rather email or text, be sure that's clear. Ask your broker what you can expect in regards to response time to your phone calls, texts or emails. Some brokers are very attentive and will respond almost immediately. Some have other obligations and only talk to their clients or return emails and texts during certain times of the day. Be sure you have made your expectations clear.

Knowledge and Use of Technology  

If technology and automated systems are something you're looking for, be sure your buyer's broker has knowledge and experience using them. Many brokers can set you up in their local multiple listing service with automatic emails of new listings that meet your criteria. If you'd prefer to sign documents using an electronic signature program instead of in person, be sure she/he is familiar with a program and knows how to accommodate your request.

A good rule of thumb is to talk to at least three buyer's brokers before you choose one. Buying a home is a big decision so be certain you're compatible and share the same vision. Your broker's number one goal should be to get you the best home value.