Hiring a real estate agent is the most important part of the home buying process. People say buying a house is the biggest financial decision you will ever make. It’s true, but that’s just part of the story. A home purchase is a major financial commitment, additionally an emotional investment. After all, this is the place where you and your family will be spending a great deal of time. Be certain the home you buy (and the price you pay for it) represent the wisest decision possible based on your specific needs.
The Problem Hiring a Real Estate Agent
The problem is, most of us don’t buy homes very often. Knowing “how to buy a house” isn’t a skill that just comes naturally. That’s why it’s important to have someone on your side who understands all the steps to buying a house. Someone that can help you navigate the purchase process with ease.
Having a buyer’s agent, someone who’s committed to your needs, and not the seller’s, is one of the smartest steps you can take to make sure you get the home of your dreams.
Six Steps to Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Here’s what you can expect during that first meeting when hiring a real estate agent:
- Discuss your needs and finances.
The initial meeting with the buyer’s specialist is your opportunity to let the agent know about everything you’re looking for in a home. It can help to have a list prepared ahead of time to help ensure you don’t forget to mention any important features you’re looking for. Break your list down into “needs” or “must-haves” and “wants” or “would-like-to-haves.” Listing items in order of preference from most important to least. Don’t restrict yourself to the home and property itself. Mention things like location, schools and other factors that could have a bearing on your home selection.
- Review the agency disclosure.
The agency disclosure provides all the information about how the real estate brokerage will represent you as a buyer. Go over the disclosure carefully. If you see something you don’t completely understand, ask questions.
- Go over the home-showing process.
If you haven’t been pre-approved for a mortgage, finding a lender and getting pre-approval will be the first order of business. Pre-approval not only shows sellers your ability to purchase, but it also helps establish your actual price range on how much home you can truly afford. Once you get pre-approved, the showings can begin.
- Review the home search process.
Your buyer’s agent is legally obligated to put your needs first. They’re not in the business of pressuring any buyer to close a deal. Instead, your agent will provide you with tips on what to look for when viewing homes. The agent will educate you on how to find out about “nitty-gritty” details like homeowner’s associations and the home inspection process. You’ll also learn about the offer process and what to expect during your search.
- Review the Buyer Broker Agreement.
The Buyer Broker Agreement is a contract between the broker and the home buyer. The Buyer Broker Agreement lets the buyer know the agent is serious about working with them. The agreement gives the buyer’s agent permission to identify potential homes for the buyer and to negotiate terms and conditions that are acceptable to the buyer. Be sure to review the document thoroughly and ask questions if you’re not clear on any item. Buyer agents are here to provide help, guidance and education at every step of the home-buying process.
- Enjoy the hunt!
Looking at homes can be exhausting when you do it yourself. Hence, with a buyer’s agent on your side, the process is much more efficient and fun. Once you start viewing homes, you might decide to “tweak” your list of “needs” and “wants,” so be sure to let your agent know. Your buyer’s agent can provide a wealth of information and ideas to help you enjoy a successful home buying experience.
One Last Note About Hiring a Real Estate Agent
During the interview, the agent is probably going to be asking a lot of questions. Some of the questions will help narrow down the type, size, location and features of the home you’re interested in. Additionally, they will ask about your budget and whether you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage. Remember, a buyer’s specialist is all about your needs, and the more information you can provide, the more successful your home search can be. Finally, doing a little homework ahead of time, like carefully considering what you want in your new home and getting pre-approved, can really help.
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