If you want to buy a home, you probably look at various websites and drool over houses, cast second looks at houses you see up for sale when you are driving, and think about your future home day in and day out. But do you know what to do about your dream? Do you have an understanding of what you can afford and of how to get the best mortgage? How does submitting an offer work? You need a real estate agent.
A real estate agent is a go-between for buyers and sellers. They understand the local housing markets and can make finding and buying a home much easier than you might think. There are not any shortages of real estate agents, but as with any profession, some are better at their job than others tend to be.
Finding Your Real Estate Agent
First of all, check their credentials. There are real estate agents, and there are realtors. A real estate agent is not necessarily a realtor, but a realtor is always a real estate agent. Realtors are licensed as members of the National Association of Realtors.
This means they have completed courses in ethics and taken exams. They have made a commitment to keep to the standards of the association. These standards are even stricter than state and federal laws. A realtor is trained to consider the rights of their clients above everything else. A realtor is a real estate agent who has done extra work, passed exams, and sworn to abide by ethical guidelines.
Ask friends and family if they can refer you to a realtor or perform a search for licensed realtors in your locale.
Next, interview realtors. After you have referrals or have found realtors by searching, contact, and interview each of them. You should be comfortable with his or her personality and their attitude toward their job. They should be able to put in reasonable hours and create a workable plan for finding your home. A real estate agent who owns property themselves will have some personal knowledge of what is entailed. Ask how long they have been in their profession and find out which type of properties and in what areas they have the most experience. A realtor who is experienced with the types of property you are looking for, and in the location you desire can be an advantage for you. Find out if the agent is a member of the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. Such an agent will have access to more homes that fit with your needs. If a phone call is not enough to help you decide on your realtor, ask if they would like to meet.
Always conduct a background check. You can find out about any violations she has, whether ethical or legal. To do this, find your state’s Department of Real Estate website. There will be a link to check on your agent’s history or license. You can search by entering her name or the name of the business with which she works.
When you are done interviewing realtors and have looked up backgrounds, you will probably already know which one you would like to hire, but if you are not sure, try making a list of the pros and cons of each agent. Was there anything you especially liked or did not like?
Once you have chosen, it is time to get together with the realtor and sign a contract. Once the contract is signed by each of you, you will have hired a realtor for the express purpose of finding the home you want.
Have a list of everything you are looking for in a property. Do you have a specific type of home in mind? How many bedrooms should it have? How many bathrooms? Which area of town or country would you like to live in? Give your agent a price range for an amount for which you are pre-qualified. If you do not have a lender, your realtor should have references for trustworthy lenders she has had dealings with.
Once you have chosen a realtor and have pre-qualified for a home loan, you can start a serious home search, make one or more offers, and finally buy the home of your dreams.