Considering buying property in the Bozeman Area? If so, one of your most important decisions will be who you hire as your Buyer Agent. In Montana, once you sign a Buyer Broker Agreement, it is difficult to become disengaged from that agent. And, even without a signed agreement, if an agent shows you a property, they claim you as “their” client unless you have clearly stated otherwise. It is therefore important for you to interview and research an agent before you commit. Begin your discussion by saying, “I am talking to a number of agents before deciding which agent I wish to work with.”

What should you look for in an agent? First, you want an agent you like and respect. You will be spending time with this person, driving around the valley and looking at properties. You will be talking to the agent for hours on end, and probably emailing them with questions and concerns. Do you find them knowledgeable, interesting, honest, with opinions based on facts? Do you trust them to tell you any negatives about a potential property? Do you feel they value you, your time, and your requirements? Do they respond quickly to your inquires with solid answers?

The agent should interview you as well, asking what you are seeking in terms of price, location, bedrooms, acreage, “feeling,” amenities, time frame. A good agent will immediately suggest properties you have not discovered in your internet searches while explaining why certain properties might not be suitable. A great agent will mention properties that are not their own listings. Many agents today list every property offered to them regardless of whether it fits into their portfolio (rather like a restaurant that has a menu 6 pages long with no coherency) and then steer their Buyers to their listings exclusively, whether the property fits the Buyer’s needs or not. It is a waste of your time, and, more importantly, you may never see your ideal property.

Typically, 8 to 10 homes are maximum for a day of viewing. Your agent needs to be organized, to stay on a schedule. You should be shown not only homes that hit high notes in your requirements, but also at least one home the agent feels just might be perfect for you that you’ve never considered. Your agent needs to be intuitive, to sense what you want but might not be able to express, and to know a wide range of properties listed as well as ones not currently listed but available. You should be shown a price range—not just homes in your upper end. Great agents want you to find your dream property regardless of how much commission they earn.

Considering all of the above, if you are thinking of buying in the Bozeman area, there is a reason to call me.