Although there are many good reasons to sign a buyer agency agreement, we generally advise buyers to take their time before they commit to an agent and sign a contract. Instead, we encourage customers to "test-drive" their agent before committing to a buyer agency relationship.
Why you shouldn't rush into signing a buyer agency contract
The last thing you want is to be locked into working with an agent who's the wrong fit for your needs. As an example, two different buyers recently contacted us saying they wanted to hire our team as their buyer representative. Both buyers said they were unhappy with their current agent and wanted to work with us instead. Unfortunately, we couldn't help either buyer. They had already signed a buyer agency agreement, and their agent wouldn't let them out of their contract.
How can you find a good buyer agent?
One great way to find a good buyer agent is to ask your friends, family members, and co-workers for their recommendations based on their own home-buying experiences. When you receive a strong recommendation, ask plenty of follow up questions so you clearly understand why a particular agent comes so highly recommended.
Another way to find a good buyer agent is through online research. Google business pages and Zillow are two good resources for online reviews. When you research online reviews, pay close attention to the customer comments. Look for agents who consistently receive positive reviews from clients citing specific examples of great service. On the flip side, watch out for agents whose reviews are less specific and may be contrived for marketing purposes.
Hire a consultant, not a salesperson
When you interview prospective agents, think about whether you're speaking to a "consultant" or a "salesperson". A consultant will ask you questions about your goals and lay out a concrete plan to help you achieve them. A salesperson will be more focused on their presentation and getting your signature on a contract. When all is said and done, you'll be glad you hired the consultant over the salesperson.