If you are in the market to purchase a new home, a real estate agent can be an invaluable help to you.
Several years ago I was in real estate sales, but quit for health reasons. Following is my perspective on working with a real estate agent.
If you are like many buyers, you will start your search by reading the classified ads and going to open houses. This is a great way to get familiar with the market. Once your search becomes more focused a good real estate agent can be a big help and tremendous time saver.
There are many ways to find a real estate agent. Once people know you are looking for a house, you will probably get referrals, which may be good or not-so -good. A great way to find a agent is to go to an open house in the area that you want to buy in. Agents know that the likelihood that the right buyer will happen into an open house is rare. Agents who are showing open houses are frequently interested in finding buyers to work with.
There are certain agents who do not like to work with buyers, because buyers are time consuming. I used to work in an office where agents refused to show buyers more than three houses. If you think you want to look at more than three houses, you probably don’t want one of those agents.
There are lots of agents, who aren’t as focused on spending their time getting listings, who will be happy to spend time with you, and help you find the perfect home. Agents who are overloaded with clients may not take the time with you that you deserve. Agents who have been in the business for over a year and are familiar with the market are often excellent at spending the time necessary to help buyers find homes.
You should be aware that most real estate agents work on straight commission. When they take you out in their cars they investing their time in you, as well as the expenses occurred in driving their car. The reason that you should know this is that you should respect their time. Make appointments with them in advance so they can schedule their time. Don’t just drop in on them and expect them to drop everything and show you houses. It takes time for the agent to make arrangements to show properties.
Some customers think they will get a better deal by working with several agents or contacting the listing agents directly. This isn’t the case, because all of the agents have access to the same inventory of houses. If you are curious about a house that is listed, ask the agent you are working with about it.
Buyers that attempt to work with more that one agent get a reputation as tire kickers.. The risk of that is that agents won’t invest their time in you if they know that you are not loyal. It’s amazing how fast word can get around that customers are working with more than one agent.
This is not to say that if you feel that an agent is not giving you good service that you have to stick with them. You have the right to switch agents. Just don’t try to work with multiple agents at the same time. It’s confusing to you and not fair to them.
Once you have found an agent that you feel you can have a good working relationship with, the agent will spend time helping to define what you are looking for. It’s at this point that you will probably talk about what you would like to have and what you can afford. The agent will also prequalify you or have you talk to a mortgage loan officer directly. Mortgage lenders have relationships with real estate agents and will spend a short time asking you the necessary questions and ask to run a short credit check. The credit check is important, so that your agent knows that you are working with the right price bracket.
Once you know what price range you will be looking in, you can discuss with the agent what kind of house that will buy in the market. It’s important to be realistic here. Talk with the agent about the size of house you need, he style you like and the location you prefer. You can start with what you need,such as: I need a three bedroom house with a living room, kitchen and bath. Then you can talk about features you don’t need, but would like to have, such as a full basement and workshop. You get the idea. The agent will help you get as much house as you can for your budget. Communicate with the agent about what you really want.
Real estate agents invest a lot of time in knowing the market. Once you have a relationship with an agent, they will constantly be on the lookout for new listings that just might be your perfect new home. This is where loyalty to an agent pays off. When the agent is out looking at new listings, you want to be the first person they are thinking of and the first person they call when a great new listing comes on the market.
Real Estate agents are hired by the seller, the person who lists the property. Their commission in paid by the seller, out of the proceeds of the sale. therefore the seller is considered the client, while the buyer is considered the customer. It;s a fine line of distinction, but one you should be aware of. Technically both agents in a transaction work for the seller, but have obligation to be ethical and honest with you.
When you find the perfect house, the real estate agent you are working with will help you write the offer. the agent will probably ask for an earnest money deposit. The agent will then present your offer to the seller and the listing agent. Chances are that there will be some negotiation of price and terms. Hopefully an agreement will be reached. During the following loan approval process, the agent will continue to help the process along and make sure that details are taken care of. Both real estate agents usually attend the real estate closing.
You can enjoy a good relationship with the real estate agent who helps you in finding and purchasing a new home.