Buying Information

How to Select an Agent

When you are ready to buy or sell real estate, the first question should be: Who is qualified to represent my best interests? Before you can answer that question, it is important to understand what services a REALTOR® can offer and what the term REALTOR® means. REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, and are pledged to abide by the 17 Articles of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Not all licensees are REALTORS®, so be sure to ask the agent if he or she is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Equally important, REALTORS® in any given real estate transaction may be "buyer's agents," who represent the best interests of the buyer, or "sellers agents," also called "listing agents," who represent the seller's best interests. Understanding the differences between these two agency types can play a vital role in your choice of a REALTOR® as well as the specific services, skills and capabilities offered by that individual.

The following information can help you understand how to evaluate and select an agent to assist you in meeting your goals, and help you decide whether a "buyer's agent" or "sellers agent" has a role in your real estate transaction. Select your agent carefully and then work with only one agent. Working with more than one agent results in wasted time and energy and will only complicate your real estate transaction - neither agent will provide exceptional service because of split loyalties, transaction commissions and procuring cause conflicts. However, agents will be committed to you if you are committed to them. If you select wisely, your agent will provide detailed housing market information, be able to optimally access and utilize the various available technologies, and will devote the time necessary to find you the best home at the best price or find the buyer for your home at the best price and terms for you.

What a buyer's agent can do for you:

The first thing a buyer's agent can do is to help you determine your buying power - your financial reserves plus your capacity to borrow, or how much can you reasonably afford to spend on a house. A Napier Realtors® ERA agent can help you obtain a loan commitment from a mortgage lender the very day you make application - and you can accomplish that in person, online or by phone.

Once you know your buying power, your next step is to find the home that fits your needs and desires. Your agent can help you establish priorities such as location, personal tastes, availability and budget. Your agent will be informed about the neighborhoods, schools, parks, playgrounds, golf courses, shopping areas - the things you need to know about the community where you want to live.

Napier Realtors® ERA agents have the latest technology to give you access to sales statistics, property taxes, zoning, utility, and school information as well as access to the Multiple Listing Service which provides information for the majority of all home sales in the community. Possessing solid information about a home's value, the sales trends for the neighborhood, planned road projects, utility easements and more, you will be able to make a well informed decision about your next home purchase.

One of the most important and valuable agent skills is the ability to negotiate for a favorable price and terms on your selected real estate. The price you pay will be influenced by market conditions, interest rates and market subtleties that your agent will know and understand. When you have agreed on price and terms with the sellers, you will receive assistance in locating qualified professionals to guide you through the inspection process, help you finalize your loan and select an attorney or title company to close your purchase. There are many choices you will need to make during the course of events that lead to the closing table. Your Napier Realtors® ERA agent is a skilled real estate professional who will work diligently to make sure your home buying process is a successful and enjoyable experience.

Once you have located the home of your choice, your Napier Realtors® ERA agent can provide you with a menu of services and products that will help you save time and money. You will have the opportunity to select a home protection plan to guard against surprise bills, discounted title insurance to protect your investment, reduced rate mortgage loans, homeowners insurance, and much more. Through our Preferred Alliances®, the consumer can receive discounts on such purchases as home security systems, car rentals, hotels and resorts, household moving, and much more.

Here is a list of other factors to consider when evaluating a buyer's agent and the real estate company. Look for:

  • An agent who is with a well-established, successful company that has a high community profile and commitment
  • A company that provides continuous education programs for its agents insuring they are up to date on the latest laws, regulations, and technology - knowing these changes may very well affect the price, terms and conditions you are able to negotiate
  • A company with a serious Internet presence for convenient previewing of homes, choosing services, evaluating agents, and reviewing neighborhoods
  • A company with extensive relocation experience through its affiliation with the largest relocation network in the world, Cartus Broker Network
  • A company that offers a comprehensive home protection plan designed to protect you from surprise repairs
  • An agent who can provide you with a loan commitment on the same day you apply, whether you apply in person, online or by telephone
  • An agent with a track record of success in good or tough markets
  • An agent who can guide you through the property inspections process, preparing well-crafted repair requests if needed
  • An agent whose good relationships with other agents can lead to pre-market notice of new housing inventory
  • An agent who has enthusiasm and a willingness to devote time and attention to your needs
  • An agent who is familiar with neighborhoods, schools, parks, playgrounds, golf courses, medical facilities, shopping and other necessary services
  • A company that can arrange temporary housing accommodations on a moment's notice for the night, the week or a month
  • An agent who is familiar with the entire metropolitan Richmond area versus one who specializes in just a small area
  • An agent who is an effective communicator and who has the necessary tools to enable good communications - voice mail, pager, cell phone, PC, Internet, web site, etc.
  • An agent who has the technology to supply you with up to date information about new listings, the latest on mortgage rates and terms, neighborhood and school profiles, tax information, neighborhood home values and more
  • A company with multiple office locations to serve the entire metropolitan Richmond area

To learn about our agents or to contact our managers, please explore theAgents/Offices section of our website or e-mail us at