Why You Should Work with a Real Estate Agent
Since the seller will pay all of the real estate agent fees, there is no reason not to work with a real estate agent while you buy your home. They can make a substantial difference in the home buying process, and not always for the reasons that you may have thought.
Finding the Right House
The agent has access to tools that you do not, such as the MLS database. This allows them to see all homes that are on the market, the features that they have, and how much they were listed for. With technology, many borrowers turn to websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia, or Zillow. While these are good sources, they may not have all of the listings that are available.
Agents are involved with houses every day and can help identify homes with significant issues that will involve significant repairs. They should be able to guide you in looking at certain aspects of a home and what to avoid.
Finding a Good Area
Finding the right house is only part of the equation. The house needs to be located in an area that you want to live. The agent is familiar with the area that you are looking to buy, so they should be able to guide you to purchase in area that suits. Whether it is schools, close proximity to parks or shopping, or congestion, the agent will be able to fit you in a home that is in the right area to meet your goals.
The purchase agreement is a binding contract between you and the seller. Real estate agents are familiar with writing these contracts and can draw it up so all that you have to do is read and sign it. There is a lot of paperwork required when purchasing a house and a real estate agent is there to take care of it.
After an offer is accepted, there are many things to take care of including getting inspections, arranging movers, purchasing insurance, home warranties, and any necessary repairs. Your real estate agent can recommend inspectors that will give you an accurate report, which movers are worthwhile, and where to find insurance or warranties. Having an agent in your corner allows you to offload some of these tasks and arrange access to the home prior to closing if necessary.
How to Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent
Finding the right real estate agent is no different than shopping for a car or piece of clothing. You need to shop around until you find one that suits you best. They play a vital role in making sure that you home buying process goes smoothly, so it is important to find a good one.
Referrals can be a good starting point. Do you know someone that just bought or sold a house? How was their experience? Mortgage lenders and brokers work closely with real estate agents. Ask your loan officer if they have any referrals. Chances are high that if your loan officer is recommending the agent, they are good to work with and the loan officer has probably worked on other mortgage loans with them.
The most important, however, is finding a real estate agent that responds well to you. One that takes your concerns and molds a house search around them. If your agent is consistently showing you houses that are outside of what you asked them to show you, you may need to keep shopping.
What to Expect Once You Have Found Your Real Estate Agent
Agents differ in their processes, however here is a general idea of what you can expect:
- You will first spend some time discussing what you are looking for and your budget. The agent will more than likely ask to see your approval letter.
- The agent will send some listings or setup personalized MLS access for you to look at some listings. Choose a few that you would like to see and send them to the agent.
- Your agent will then arrange to show you the listings that you have chosen, and may provide a few others that are similar to what you sent them. Keep in mind that houses sometimes sell quickly. Your agent will move fast. It is a good idea to keep your schedule as open as possible while you search for a house to avoid a contract being signed before you can view it or make an offer.
- Attend showings with your agent. When you find a home that suits your needs, make an offer. The agent will then draft the offer and send it to the sellers agent.