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A little background.

I posted last summer about buying a fixer-upper. Well the seller's agent lied & pissed me off, so I walked a way from the deal. I live in NYC, so 9/11 and the aftermath has kept me out of the market until now.

My question. What should I do to start. Is it necessary to have a buyers agent or can I do it myself? I've lurked here for over a year and I have the homebuying for dummies book. Is that enough?

I'm really not in to this so I want to make it as painless as possible.

Thanks for any assistance.

Crazyinlovefool
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Ask friends for recommendations for an agent. I know that there are people that say you can do it without an agent but I wouldn't recommend it. The seller's agent is there to represent the seller. And he/she will know all the tricks to get you to pay 300K for a 200 sq ft. one room shack. You need a buyers agent. However you must still be careful. The buyers agent traditionally has a perverse incentive plan. He gets a % commision from the sale price. So even though he is supposed to represent your interest (which should be best house for least amount of money) your agent actually has more incentive to get you to pay more for the house. An honest agent will put your interests first of course but how do you know he is honest? If you just randomly picked an agent out of the phone book it is really hard to know. So ask your friends for a recommendation.
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I've tried this. The problem is that most of my friends & family are either still renting or opted to purchase their homes in another state(NJ or PA). The same with co-workers.

I'm ok with finding properties on my own. It's just what to do when I get to the point of making an offer or counter-offer that kind of has me stuck. That was the problem with the previous agent. I just got the impression that he wasn't taking my offers back to the seller.

Crazyinlovefool
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Talk to your friends who purchased in another state. Find out which reality company they used. That will help you narrow it down a little. I would say that most of they agents get their attitudes from the company they are working for. If the company puts an emphasis on customer service, they ususally filter out agents that don't. If the company justs wants profits to roll in, and they try to push a sale without regards to the buyers interest, that is what their agents will do. Shop around for agents. Call one up, tell him or her that you want to look at houses in your price range that have 3 bedrooms (or whatever you want) in certain neighborhoods. Ask her to find about 8 or 9 houses to look at. Then go out one evening or saturday and just look at the houses. Find out how close to what you are looking for she gets. See if she is content to let you look or if she tries to push you into a sale right away. Critize the houses. Remember you have to live there. Does the agent take notes to better understand what you don't like and why you don't like it. Or do they minumize your critisms. With my agent, after the first house he showed me, he skipped the next 3 because he knew that I would have the same complaint about each of them.

Never sign a contract with an agent while you are looking. I did that once, then decided I wasn't ready to buy after all. This guy took great pains to remind me that since I signed a contract, if I started looking again within 6 months, I would have to use him. (I later found out he was lying) but I still say, you shouldn't have to sign a contract until you are ready to make an offer.

In the end go with your gut. If you don't like your agent don't use him. If you don't like the house don't buy it. This is your money after all.
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