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The D.C. housing market is a cutthroat moving target. Properties move fast and can easily go into bidding wars; I unfortunately found that out first hand. (Image: Ashley Hafstead)

6 tips for finding the perfect real estate agent

Buying your first home is a daunting and emotional task -- that is why it is so important to pick the perfect realtor. They will be the ones that talk you off the ledge, so to speak, and watch your back when you didn’t even realize you needed to have it watched. The D.C. housing market is a cutthroat moving target. Properties move fast and can easily go into bidding wars; I unfortunately found that out first hand.

Our realtors Jesse Grimste and Ron Mangas from Sotheby's Realty were an absolute dream. Not only were they professional, but they understood that I would be a nervous wreck with very specific tastes and wants. Jesse and Ron went out of their way to find just the right properties to look at and helped soothe my nerves when necessary. With their years of expertise, they knew exactly when to play it cool and and when to strike. I couldn’t recommend them enough to D.C. home buyers!

After my experience with the D.C. housing market, here is some advice on how to choose a realtor and what to expect during the house hunt process.

  1. Take your time in finding the right person. You will be spending A LOT of time with your realtor on Saturday and Sunday mornings. For the sake of your sanity, make sure to choose someone you respect and enjoy being around. Talk to your friends to see if they have any recommendations.

  2. Sit down with your realtor, preferably over wine, and discuss exactly what you do and don’t want in your home. Make a top three list of things you are not willing to compromise on (parking, school districts, square footage, etc). This meeting is super important so that you can be on the same page with your realtor. Be absolutely honest about your budget as well --your realtor doesn’t need to be wasting his/her time looking for houses you can’t afford.

  3. Start by looking at lots of houses over a single weekend to understand what types of houses are on the market. By walking through homes, your realtor will learn about your specific tastes. If you don’t find the perfect home right away, a good realtor will use that first weekend to hone your search and he/she will be better able to identify potential houses as they go on the market.

  4. Make sure you and your realtor have a very open line of communication. Don’t be afraid to text or call with a stupid question. If you see a house online, ask your realtor to arrange a showing. If your realtor seems irritated with you bugging them, then perhaps its time to find a different realtor.

  5. Do not get discouraged and patience is key! If you miss out on your first offer, know that there is a better home out there for you.

  6. Finally, have fun! The process of buying a home in D.C. can be a wild roller coaster ride, but in the end you WILL find your dream house with the help of your realtor! Happy hunting!

You can follow Ashley's first-time homeowner series as she renovates #chic_villa here!

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