When you buy a home, your agent will have to present real estate listings to you in order to show you the houses that are available. However, you can't go into this with no idea of what you want and no idea what to tell the agent. You and your agent need to sit down first and really discuss what you're trying to buy—and your preparation and ability to ask questions when you're seeing a home also help make the listing presentation as good as possible.
Give the Agent a Chance to Ask Questions
You would not believe how many buyers expect to see listings right off the bat after only a short time and with little prior discussion. That would be a mess; instead, your agent needs to get a better idea of what you really want. Not just the price and size, mind you, but also details like whether you want a house that has a taller house on the west side (for afternoon shade in summer—people do consider this when buying), whether you need a house that's already designed to be disabled-friendly, and so on. You need to separate your wants from your needs so that the agent has a list of those things you absolutely need. But it's good to sit with the agent and really hash out what you're trying to find.
Arrive a Little Early for Your Appointment
Getting to the appointment with your agent gives you a chance to get all your questions organized and to calm down after the drive over. It also gives you a few minutes to peruse any listings the agent might have spotlighted in his or her office, which could give you some extra ideas. A rushed appointment starts off on the wrong foot, while arriving a few minutes early lets the meeting start off on a relaxed note, which can make all the difference in what you remember to cover in your conversation.
Now It's Your Turn to Ask Questions at the Home
Once the agent knows what you're looking for specifically and has presented you with several options to see, you're going to have to go look at the homes. At that point, it's your turn to start asking a lot of questions. Ask about HOAs and fees, flight paths, nearby noisemakers like high school athletic fields or highways, future development in the neighborhood if it's near empty lots, and so on. If the home isn't new, ask when the roof was last replaced, the drains last cleaned, the wiring updated, and more. Buying a home nowadays is really not a cheap affair, so you need to be sure you can handle what you're buying.
Your agent does want to make a sale, but he or she also wants you to be happy (both because that's a sign of a good deal and because your future reference could bring in more business). Work together to pinpoint those listings that would work for you.