Any licensed real estate agent can act as a Buyers Agent, just as any licensed Doctor can perform brain surgery. But if you were going to have brain surgery wouldn't you want a Specialist?
What's the difference? The difference is training, experience, and commitment to knowing everything they can learn about their specialty. Any good Doctor knows quite a bit about brain surgery. In fact he or she knows just enough about brain surgery to know that you need a Specialist if you need brain surgery.
Would you want to use a "part time" brain surgeon?
Ordinary Agents list houses (most of the time), "help" Buyer's (some of the time) (note: when "helping" a Buyer, the Agent represents the Seller and is duty bound to get the highest price and best possible terms for the Seller), act as Dual Agents (some of the time), Facilitators (some of the time), Appointed Agents (some of the time), Designated Agents (some of the time), and in some areas even work as "non-agents" (some of the time) so they can "put deals together". In other words, they are "part time" Buyers Agents.
By the way, you will pay the same price for an Agent who is a "part time" Buyers Agent as you will pay for a full time Buyer Specialist, so why not get the real expert?
Do yourself a favor. Before you decide which Agent to use, talk to someone who has the specialized experience necessary to do an outstanding job of representing you and is dedicated 100% to serving Home Buyers!
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Our Standards Of Practice - Exactly What We Will Do For You
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Economic Stability-A declining employment rate in a area spells trouble for the future resale possibilities of a home.
Community Pride-How well is the community maintained? Is there litter in the streets and lawns that are obviously not cared for properly?
Municipal Services-Is there a public library and how well is it stocked? What are the crime statistics? Is the police force effective and responsive to community needs? Are fire stations located nearby so that they also can respond quickly in an emergency? Does the city have well maintained and parks? Community events, such as an annual parade? Are there activities available for all ages from children through senior citizens?
A good real estate agent will have amassed a wealth of information on these subjects.
Schools-Even if you don't have children or your children are grown and gone from home, schools are very important. They reflect the community's willingness to invest in it's future by providing a quality education for their children. Check to see how local students score on the standardized tests. You can ask your agent about these things, and there are also school reports available for free on the Internet. You can also obtain the phone number of the local school district and check with them yourself.
Property Taxes-While we all like to see lower property taxes, as some point they can be too low and not provide enough money for the city to provide proper services for their residents. While you do not want to live in a community that taxes it's homeowners excessively, it is important to strike a balance between taxes and quality of infrastructure (streets, sewers, water supply).