Finding that perfect home might seem easy. After all, there are endless websites, blogs and apps nearly everywhere listing homes for sale. This wealth of information, however, can sometimes be overwhelming. You might know your price range. You may have a good idea of what section of town you want to live in. But after that…what’s really the best way to choose a new home?
That’s when you realize you need a good real estate agent. A good agent is experienced, with an established track record of helping buyers and sellers successfully navigate the challenges of the current real estate market.
It’s about service
When you’re looking for a real estate professional to help you, look for someone you can relate to, someone who understands your needs and has the expertise and know-how to help you find that perfect home. The more information you can offer about yourself and your needs, the better the service your agent will be able to provide, such as:
- Help you find a house you love.
- Inform you about neighborhoods, local schools, and public safety.
- Make your home search more efficient by narrowing your choices based on your preferences.
- Recommend or suggest an offering price or give you an opinion about whether a particular house is priced too high or too low.
- Structure the offer with your best interests in mind.
- Answer your questions and provide guidance.
The agent’s role
If you want someone to represent only your interests, look to hire a buyer’s agent—one who works with buyers, not sellers. Keep in mind the listing agent’s first responsibility is with the seller. If you use the same agent, there could be a possible conflict of interest. Your contract with any agent should allow for an ‘out’ if you are dissatisfied with the agent.
Real estate agents can provide you with a valuable research tool called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a database listing houses for sale in your area, often including pictures and numerous details about each house. Be sure your agent is an MLS member.
The nuts and bolts
A good buyer’s agent should be your quarterback through the whole process. Realize that only about half of what an agent does involves finding the right home for you.
Here’s a checklist describing all the things a good buyer’s agent should do:
- Search and show properties—the magic key!
- Strategize and negotiate—on your terms.
- Review, present, and analyze all offers/counter-offers.
- Navigate contracts, contingencies & pit-falls including:
- Home inspections
- Radon tests
- Termite inspections
- Rent-back agreements
- Lead based paint
- Pre-settlement logistics (coordinate with the lender and the title company)
- Walk-through and closing
- On-going negotiations
Resources: Jeremy Walsh Real Estate, CU Realty Services