How To Pick The Perfect Realtor For First Time Home Buyers
Get The Industry Secrets On What Realtors Serve First Time Home Buyers The BestHow are you doing? I know things are rough out there. Maybe you’re confused about buying your first home. You’re scared, cautious, a little bit ignorant, perplexed, or lost in the matrix of the information trying to get answers. You’re not alone. You need a rockstar guide to help you on this journey so you avoid all the pitfalls and come out happier and more financially secure than you can imagine.
—We made it. I started way back on my birthday, somewhere around there in 2019 and here we are, episode 50. To celebrate episode 50, the whole goal, this thing is working to take the confusion out of what can be a massively bewildering task to untangle. I’m going to go right to the source. I’m going to go back to my roots. Let’s get deeper into picking the right realtor wherever you are. Anywhere in the country and anywhere in the process, this is going to be one of the biggest factors to help you figure out how to buy a home.
Rules Of The GameFirst, I’m going to give you one of my classic Sidonis. We’re going to talk about the insider tricks of the trade. This will be a little information on the make-up of how the real estate business works, how realtors and real estate brokerages work and how they survive, how the industry serves you, the first-time homebuyer, and how this business model absolutely blows for you. This is going to help you see through the BS. My goal for you is to help you come out on top and to do that, you need to know the game. You got to get a badass guide and you can get one if you know what to look for or you know who to ask. I call them the unicorn realtors. The elusive magical, mystical folks. Only about 25% of the realtors out there that I qualify as unicorn realtors. They’re in your town. You just have to know why the other 75% don’t want you or they aren’t good enough for you and you shouldn’t be working with them. You can then search to find or be referred to the 25% that are unicorns with as much vested interest in your success as you have.
You Get To Choose, Pick The BestYou're not limited by what you can afford. Click To Tweet Get this game. It’s as simple as a 1, 2, 3 formula to find a unicorn. Before we get to our formula, let’s start with the rules of the game. Why are the numbers so crappy? Why only 25% of the people out there are doing good for first-time homebuyers? Let’s understand the rules of the game. Rule number one, you’re not limited by what you can afford. That 25%, why is it such a small number? I have no idea. Rejoice in the fact that you can pick anybody you want, but no one’s out there saying, “I’m good at work with buyers, so maybe you should work with me because it’s all free.” You out there have to realize there are no socio-economic factors to hold you back on the level of service that you’re going to get. Imagine that you need open heart surgery and you could afford the best heart surgeon in town because they were all free. No insurance, no nothing. You only don’t get the best if you don’t know about this rule. You get to choose and it’s free, so pick the best. This is like unlimited money in your fantasy draft. Why on earth are you choosing a kicker in the first round? You have an unlimited, no max credit card to go out and buy your prom dress. Why did you go to the evening wear section of Walmart?
The Real Estate Training ModelThe next rule of the game, rule number two is the Best Buy and car lot customer service training model. Let me explain that. Imagine you’re going into Best Buy to purchase yourself a computer. You walk over to the computer section and you got to hope that the guy there who decides to help you is experienced and can do more than just read the specs off of that little label underneath the computer on the shelf. I hate it when the dude reads the info to me that I’ve been staring at before they walked over and decided to help me. “Thanks. I’m buying this computer to learn how to read. I’m glad that you read that stuff back to me.” You would think that a person who was assigned to stand in that section would be trained well, be able to give you excellent service, and answer all your questions, but that’s not true because training them doesn’t make fiscal sense for the store. They train them but they don’t train them well. They don’t send them to a three-month university with mock sales training and role-playing talking about RAM and all that stuff in a simulated store experience. That’s way too expensive, so they give them a manual to read for a couple of days, and then they have someone shadow, someone who’s been in the department for a long time, like three months. You’re on the floor and it gets busy in that section. You’re brand new but you’re thrown into one-on-one customer service, perhaps with someone like you. At that time, that’s a big purchase for you. You have questions and you could use some real guidance. Meanwhile, the experienced salesperson that trained that guy, the person who could help you who knows what’s going on, is there with another customer across the store, and you’re stuck with a guy reading you the details of the computer right off the box. Realtors pass a test. That's not much harder than the DMV test. Click To Tweet The same thing happens on a car lot. All the people on the lot are new. Almost all of them are new people with little training. The sales industry has a business model for maximum profits and your level of service is not their main priority. When you’re there, the goal of the salespeople on the lot is to work with you to sell enough cars so they can get off the floor and move into the cushy offices, the finance department, the management. When they say, “I have to go talk to my manager,” that’s the job they’re trying to get, to get off of the floor. Only a few good select salespeople actually like working one-on-one with the customer directly right at the beginning. They like working on the floor on the lot. What are the odds that you get that one person, the one good guy who stays on the floor on the lot selling who’s decided that’s the way they want to build their career? Do you know how that guy makes more money than the other guys who moved to management? He works by referral, treating his customers so great, they send their friends and family. Most of the time, people just come to him. That’s a little bit of a spoiler in what you’re going to be looking later on for one of those 25% unicorn realtors. I hate to burst your bubble, but this is the sales industry. Real estate’s not the only sales industry to pass off the low-end consumer to the new salespeople. It’s true and it’s a practice. It’s a practice that I personally abhor. I hate it. It’s a big goal, but I’m seriously thinking about doing everything I can to try to change that in my industry. The first way I’m going to do is by educating you, the consumer, about what’s going on. Hopefully, the consumers rise up and start a revolution. I have said it before. I’m not insane. I don’t think helping a first-time homebuyer is on the same level as a doctor performing surgery or a lawyer representing someone in a courtroom when they’re facing jail time, but I do think it’s more important than buying a computer or a car. Maybe the training should be somewhere in between those two extremes. The real estate industry is still clinging on to a way below necessary training. It’s hurting what can happen for you, the first-time homebuyer. They tell the realtors that their main job is to get clients and the new realtors have not had the proper training for the biggest financial transaction of your life. They tell the new realtors, “Great. You’ve got your license? Cool. Go out there and get some first-time homebuyers. Go become an influencer on Instagram or TikTok. Go viral, and then get people to come in and sell them houses.” “Mr. Broker, that sounds great. How do I sell houses again?” “Go get them first and then we’ll tell you.” It’s true that realtors pass a test that’s not much harder than the DMV driving test, and then they go work for a broker. The brokers have an antiquated business model to maximize profits. They have inexperienced agents work with first-time homebuyers while experienced agents work with the sellers. That’s the goal. That’s the goldmine. They work on getting listings to sell and those will attract buyers. That’s a super old business model. We’re talking pre-internet. There was a day when buyers could only find out about homes that were for sale in their neighborhood by talking to neighborhood realtors or seeing a sign in somebody’s yard. The industry decided to start thinking of the buyers as sheep coming to them with their little glowing light of a listing and the listing agents are the gatekeepers of all the information. They still haven’t updated the training to help the buyers who are seeking to buy a home. The buyers nowadays are using that new thing fangled fiddle-faddle internet thingamabob. I’m not kidding. That’s the mindset these people have. They never heard of such a crazy thing. They give the rookie agents, the newbie realtors, the weakest of training and/or what they call a mentor program that is often seriously a joke and they barely oversee the new agents in what they’re doing. The new agents fumble through and who pays for it? You do. You might get passed on to a realtor guiding and advising you, the first-time homebuyer, and they’ve barely been given a Best Buy handbook. They don’t know squat about the homes, the laws, the market, how to negotiate, or how to process through the entire transaction. This training that the real estate companies are offering is no medical or law school training. It’s Best Buy training. The industry needs to change that. You deserve better and you can get better by figuring this out, knowing how the game works, and finding the 25% of the unicorns left out there. The industry is slow to change. This is how they work. They didn’t even get it when the internet came along and the dinosaur brokers buried their heads in the sand. I mixed my animals. Dinosaurs and ostrich metaphors all in one. All the Silicon Valley tech companies like Zillow, Redfin, and Opendoor realized that they could get you, the sheep, by using your computer because most of you have a computer in your pocket now. They outsmarted the industry. They got way ahead of it. Even now, once those companies get you, they’re going to give you an undertrained, underpaid, uninspired realtor so that they too can get a better bottom line. It’s got to be better. I’m not saying the real estate industry is as important as surgery or a day in court, but the industry should emulate those more serious industries when it comes to the training. Deeming someone is ready to help you, a first-time homebuyer, making the biggest decision of your life. Instead, it’s emulating Best Buy, Target, and car lots. Maybe not years of MIT or law school for real estate training, but more than what we have now, that’s for sure. More than Best Buy, you guys rank a lot higher than that and you deserve more respect. This is a too important decision for you. How do you find that elusive agent who’s trained like a doctor or a lawyer with years of on-the-job schooling, interning, residency, mock trials, and real experience, someone who’s putting the work like that? First, you understand this game and you beat it. It’s like Michael Jackson and those West Side Story dancing gangbangers. You beat it. That reference is old as a rotary phone. That’s because I’m old because I have experience. A little side note, there are a bunch of new realtors out there following me on TikTok and Instagram and downloading my show. They are going to be pissed when I once again expose them to the world. Sorry, newbies. I don’t work for you. The industry that you chose is treating some consumers like dog doo-doo. The best way for me to help these consumers is to educate them. My mission is to educate you first-timers out there and give you the secret to finding the 25% of the good agents that you can get for free because you’re getting screwed. I know some unicorns out there. I can get you to them or I can teach you what you need to look for. It’s my personal opinion after more than many years of doing this and personally helping 120 first-time buyers myself and watching how the realtors and brokers grow their business. My opinion is the real estate industry is broken. It is subconsciously and consciously unethical. The treatment of first-time homebuyers is absolutely not right and it has to change. The best buy growth model is to bail on you, the first-time homebuyer, as soon as possible. Click To Tweet
The Growth ModelRule number three of the game. The growth model for all these 75% of the realtors out there is getting those leads or listings because that’ll bring you buyers. That’s what they think. They send you out to go figure out how to get more listings, people to sell. They train you to knock on people’s doors to see if they want to sell. They train you to send postcards everywhere and let everyone see how many homes you’ve sold on the street in the neighborhood and how you can help them get top dollar, too. They train you to cold call people that have been in their home for over seven years. They have all the data on that. They realize that you’re in an equity position and you probably want to sell your house. They cold-call you and give you all the information. They train you to call the people who already put their homes on the market and they didn’t sell so that you can say, “I saw you were selling with the Sallie Mae. My marketing plan can do wonders much more than Sallie Mae’s. Why don’t you sell your house with me?” They train you to do garage sales and community events so people see you as the community expert, all so you can help them sell their home when they go and move out of the community. It doesn’t make any sense. Why do 75% of the realtors still follow this? It’s because they believe that the buyers are going to figure out they want to buy a home and then figure it all out on their own, and then show up to them their listings for sale. It’s insulting to you that they don’t want to help you until you’re ready to produce a sale for them. They’re just waiting for you to show up, buy a house, and give them a check. Planning for buying your first home is a huge undertaking. Many people, including yours truly, lose or lost like I did, hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to plan their own way and wasting tons of time. No one good in the industry is willing to help to give them the time and show them what they need to do in order to buy a house. The only people willing to help you are people that pass the test and they don’t have any knowledge to guide you to help you avoid the mistakes that I personally made that maybe a lot of renters are making out there right now. There are few that have been taught that helping you is not only fulfilling and the right thing to do, but it can be fun, exhilarating, and a darn good way to make a living. It’s not just the start of a career until you move on past that phase. How do you find the 25% that think that way? First, you got to know you can and should only work with them. You’ve got the choice. Don’t let the game beat you. Start this revolution and change the industry someday, but it’s not happening right now. Go ahead and say, “Nope, that’s not going to do. I only want the 25%. I choose better for me. You cannot treat me, the first-time buyer, this way. I heard that my realtor is free and the seller pays for it, so I’m going with the best.”
The Winning FormulaNow that you know the game, here’s the formula. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. The best realtor for a first-time homebuyer is an experienced agent who will still work with first-time buyers as part of their client list and who grows their business mostly, if not all, by referral. For the next 5 to 7 years, until the industry changes, you’re going to have to find these three traits to figure out if you’re working with a unicorn realtor. Way back in episode six in my early days of the show in 2019, I gave you all the specific questions that you can ask in an interview to find out if they are all-stars and if they do meet these criteria. Since I told you, you can pick them for free. Remember, if you go back to that, the show was a little different back then. There were lots of bad audio, worst jokes than now, if that’s even possible, and lots of rants from me about how much the industry sucks. Maybe that part hasn’t changed much. My YouTube page has videos for first-time buyers going back to when I was twenty pounds lighter, I had way more hair, and was doing backflips on YouTube to get people to listen to me. All the way back in 2011, I was telling buyers about market, market conditions and talking about rent versus buy. Also, trying to help them find a realtor that has experience not just helping you buy a home, but a realtor that understands the financial complexities of this whole situation. Understanding that this is a huge purchase that needs to happen. Finding someone who can be creative to help you see the numbers and figure out what the numbers are right for you instead of paying rent. The best way to find a unicorn realtor for first-time buyers is like being in The Walking Dead or playing a video game. You’re in the middle of chaos and you got to figure out where the secret door is or the hidden passageway, and then you find that master, someone who’s survived for a while. They’re working in some safe space right in the middle of the apocalypse. Many of the best realtors for you are not the ones that are obvious, the ones that you see on the bus bench or the shopping cart. They’re not the ones at the top of the Google search with the most reviews. Why? In the entire industry, if they’re out there advertising, it’s because they’re looking for listings. They want to sell homes. The top agents with all the reviews will most often never even work with you if you give them a call. Their team will. Do you know how they grow their team? With new agents, with no client experience, but plenty of time to shower attention on you and make you feel like you’re super special and you’re the only client they have because you are. If you do end up buying a home with them, it’ll be the second one that they’ve ever closed and you’ll never see the team leader throughout the deal. You’ll be lucky if you end up not overpaying or getting a bummer deal. Is it always like that? No. Is it like that? Yeah, it is like that a lot of the time. You need to find a realtor, someone that’s part of that 25% who will work with you oh-so difficult and low return first-time homebuyers. Sometimes these great realtors have a team, too, and maybe they advertise a little bit, but on their team, they have properly trained buyer’s agents that have years of experience. That can work for you, too. The 1, 2, 3 formula, experienced agent that’s easy to figure out with the questions from episode six on how to interview an agent. It’s just asking them some math stuff. Step two of the 1, 2, 3 formula works with first-time buyers as part of their personal client list. For this one, there are a ton of simple questions in episode six about how many first-timers they have helped in total forever or in the past twelve months. Here’s the insider information, a lot of good agents have long-time clients, and eventually, those clients have kids or nieces and nephews or other younger people that they know. Sometimes, they’re helping other people who work for them at their company who are excited about buying a house. The realtors are happy to work with those people and give those younger people the million-dollar service that they deserve as a thank you to the loyal client who referred them. Many of them will help first-time buyers purchase the listing that they sell themselves as the realtor if you walk into my listing, sure, if it’s the right fit. If it’s not the right fit, then I’m going to sit down, and I’m going to go over the financial and emotional goals. We’re not just going to be looking at buying a house because we can. We’re going to be looking at it as the right thing for you in the long run. It sounds crazy, but this is the way it works. A lot of agents won’t work with a first-time homebuyer. Seriously, raise your hand right now wherever you are if you thought that all the top agents that were at the top of the Google that when you found them because their reviews were so great and they’re so awesome, that when you call them, you’d be working with them. If you raise your hand, you’re wrong.
The Most Important Part Of The FormulaTwenty-five percent of the agents are out there are going to be working directly with you. The rest of them get you to call in and then they pass you off. If you talk to them, maybe sometimes they’re going to blow you off. The most important part of the formula 1, 2, 3, three, they work mostly or all by referral. Why do you, the buyer, care how your realtor sets up their business? Let me explain. This is the benefit to you, the buyer. Think of it this way. If they do a lousy job for you, then their business doesn’t grow and they don’t eat next month. If an agent’s business grows because their overly satisfied clients tell everybody how amazing they are, not only do they get to work with more cool people like you because you’re cool and you’re going to refer cool people to them, but that’s how they get their clients. That’s how they get their leads. They don’t have to spend their day knocking on people’s doors to get listings. They don’t have to call people who tried to sell their home with somebody else. They don’t have to spend tons of money to get to the top of Google or being an ad on the side of your computer somewhere. They use their time to serve their clients. Novel idea, isn’t it? The growth model for 75% of the Realtors out there is to get leads. Click To Tweet Once they get a client, now they spend their time serving clients they have instead of working 60% to 70% of all day trying to get more leads. In this scenario, when you find someone who works by referral, not only does it help you but you are the star. You have to be thrilled with them. You must feel like you’re getting basketball lessons from LeBron James. You have to be the kind of person who wants to give them 5 million stars because that’s how their business grows. Realtors who know this work harder for you. They’re invested in your success and their past clients will tell you, “This guy, this gal, they’re the bomb.” The other 75% of the realtors out there are working to get listings to help people move away from the town where they’re the community leader. The 25% that helped you find your first home know that you probably have younger friends who are renting and are looking at you and are jealous. They know you might want to move up in 5 or 7 years.
Finding The UnicornAll those things mean if you’re happy with them, you’re going to tell those people, so they treat you like gold before, during, and after the transaction. This next part is going to make some of you upset, but I talked about it a little bit earlier. The best realtors for first-time buyers, the real unicorns, many of them don’t have a lot of reviews online and lots and lots of the bad ones. Bad for you, not necessarily the best realtor, the best agent to help you. They have a ton of reviews and stars at the top of Google. The best agent for you is an agent that works by word of mouth. They might not be working hard to get a ton of reviews since they don’t often take leads from the internet. Think about that. Those reviews on the internet mean that people called them cold who’ve never met them before. Those people are working hard. They’re turning and burning clients like a diner in the morning. They’re trying to get people in and out as quickly as they can so they can turn the tables during the breakfast rush. The ones who work by referral do a kick-butt job for the clients, make them happy in the town that they’re in, and they’re going to tell their friends. Working by referral doesn’t mean that you need a ton of reviews online when other people that people trust are telling them, “I worked with him or her. They rule.” They’re not trolling the internet trying to find the next client. They’re just waiting for you to tell someone who needs help. If you’re looking online and you see all the ads for the agents, that ad is for listings. They’re trying to get listings from that ad, not buyers. This Zillow agent that you see on the side, that agent that you see a lot of times on the screen with you, that’s a banner ad. They paid for it. It’s not even the listing agent for that house. They paid to have their picture right next to that house so that the buyer would call them and show the house to them. Don’t even get me started on the online discount agents like Redfin, Opendoor, and all those places. That’s a whole other episode. I’ll give you the real short synopsis. Do you want a part-time agent who waits for the phone to ring or the emails to come in from people who find them on the internet or do you want an agent that’s out there working so hard with first-time buyers? They don’t need to pay to be on someone else’s site. They don’t need to give a discount through a website to get people to call them. People call them because they’re awesome. Their clients are happy and they tell their friends and family. The best realtor for a first-time buyer follows this formula. One, experience. Two, actively works with first-time buyers or has an experienced first-time buyer agent that they are well trained. Number three, they grow their business by referral, so you have to be the star. No matter what you do, find the 25% unicorn realtor and you’ll be so much better off. You get to avoid all the drama. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from first-time buyers who had a rough experience with a part-time relative realtor or an inexperienced person that they met at an open house. “We had a great connection with them.” I’m sure that you did. There are lots of nice people out there, but it doesn’t mean they’re great at their job. Check their stats. Do they have all the time in the world to work with you and they’re super responsive? Maybe it’s because they don’t have any other clients, don’t have any other transactions, and haven’t sold any homes? That’s a secret I’ve told people, “A lot of times, agents who need clients will hold open houses on somebody else’s listing to wait for someone like you to walk in.” I’ve had to bail out so many buyers working with inexperienced agents who didn’t get the proper training. Even if they’re at a good broker, they don’t have the proper support. Use these guidelines. If you want to, you can always reach out to me directly. I’ve got a unicorn nation going. We’ve got unicorns all over the country hooking up with so many buyers like you. I spent fifteen years going to boring seminars all over the country to meet all kinds of different realtors. I go home and throw away 75% of those business cards, but I keep 25%. Those unicorns are out there. The unicorns are finding followers and the followers are finding unicorns. You can go to HowToBuyAHome.com or DavidSidoni.com, fill out the contact form, and ask me for a unicorn. I get a lot of people to do that. “I’m in Denver and I need a unicorn.” Great. You can DM me on @DavidSidoni on Instagram. You can find me on TikTok, but I’m mostly dancing around like an idiot. I don’t even know how to message on TikTok yet, but maybe in the future, I will. Reach out if you need someone or use these guidelines and figure it out for yourself. Would you rather do this blindly? What if you could just ask? We’ll get you a unicorn realtor. You’ll get one of those 25% awesome unicorns and they’re going to crush your deal, not crush your hopes and dreams. That was crush in two different ways. I’m here to help. Many of the very best Realtors for you are not the ones that are obvious. Click To Tweet I got one last thought on a realtor. In a transaction, your realtor is like the coach and all the players participate in the transaction. The players are the buyer, lender, seller, other agents, title and escrow, home inspector, termite and sewer inspector, and everyone involved. In the end, you’re the star player and the coach is looking to set you up to score the winning run, the goal, or the basket. You’re the hero and you’re the winner. Make sure you’ve got an awesome coach. Ted Lasso, I cannot get enough of that show. One more thing, you can do this.
- Episode six – How To Interview And Choose A Realtor Specifically For You
- YouTube – How to Buy a Home podcast – David Sidoni
- @DavidSidoni – Instagram
- TikTok – David Sidoni