For many people, especially first-time buyers’, purchasing a new home is one of the biggest and most complicated transactions of their lifetime. Let’s face it: it’s scary to deplete a large portion of your life savings as a down payment and then commit to up to 30 years of monthly payments, taxes, insurance and property maintenance.
The dramatic volatility of the real estate market over the past decade contributes to buyer anxiety and provokes a host of valid concerns.
- Will the property I am purchasing retain its value and appreciate over time?
- Am I paying too much for the property?
- Can I find a comparable home for less money in another neighborhood?
- Am I buying “more” house or taking on a bigger mortgage than I realistically need?
- Where do I find the best financing package?
- Which lender offers the best interest rate?
- Can I qualify for the loan?
To remove much of the stress from the home buying process, contact your banker or financial institution to pre-qualify for a mortgage. Once you know you are pre-qualified, you can move ahead with confidence in seeking out homes within the limitations of your budget.
The National Board of Realtors advises, before you contact a Realtor or start your search for property, it is important to have a definite idea in mind of what type of home you are looking for. Make a list of your priorities, preferences or dislikes so that neither you nor your realtor will waste precious time looking at properties that do not meet your criteria.
- Do you desire a specific architectural style?
- Do you want a freestanding family residence, a condo or a rural acreage?
- Do you want a spacious yard or a minimal landscape to maintain?
- How many bedrooms do you require?
- Are good schools important to your family?
- Do you want to live in the inner city, the suburbs or the country?
- Do you have a favorite neighborhood you are interested in?
- How soon do you need or want to move?
The 2007 housing crash has unquestionably altered the real estate landscape. Today, there as never been a time when it is more important to utilize the services of a reputable and knowledgeable real estate agent to guide you through the “minefield” of financial peril involved in purchasing a home.
Purchasing a new home is not a choice that should be taken lightly. It should be approached like any other business decision. You should apply the same stiff standards when selecting a real estate agent as you would when engaging the services of a doctor, lawyer or tax accountant. If you are not confident that your Realtor is looking out for your best interests and not just working for a commission, it’s time to change realtors.
If you choose the wrong realtor, you may miss out on your dream home. In many markets, the inventory of homes for sale remains sparse. You need a realtor that will go beyond just checking properties listed in MLS, the online directory of available homes. You need a realtor that will search out newly listed properties before they are posted on MLS and pro-actively seek out properties before they are put on the market for sale.
To find your “perfect” new home, it is imperative that you do the research and find a real estate agent that is knowledgeable, experienced and has the resources needed to navigate the market.
Characteristics Of A Stellar Real Estate Agent
Personality is important. You will be spending a great deal of time in the company of your realtor. You will want to choose someone who is personable, confident and does not grate on your nerves. Your realtor will be speaking for you in contract negotiations; choose a realtor that you feel can convey your offer with clarity and conviction.
A good realtor isn’t pushy. A seasoned and responsible realtor never makes decisions for you nor pressures you to make choices you are uncomfortable with. Rather, they lay out all the information, inform you of your options and present viable strategies for your review and consideration.
Choose an agent with local knowledge and experience. It isn’t good enough that your realtor is licensed; you want him/her to be familiar with schools, traffic patterns, building restrictions, community covenants and zoning laws that may affect your buying decision. When choosing a realtor, it is wise to request a copy of the agent’s transaction history of previously purchased and sold homes. If Spanish is your native language and you seek a Hispanic Realtor to guide you through the morass of paperwork involved in searching for a home, contact The National Association Of Hispanic Realtors.
You will want to select a real estate agent that takes their job seriously and works in real estate full time. Ask if your realtor has earned an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) certification or is a graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI). If your realtor only works part time and is otherwise employed elsewhere, you will not be his/or priority and it is unlikely they will have the time to work diligently on your behalf.
Statistics show that as many as 75 percent of all real estate agents only work part time. It is impossible for an agent that treats real estate as a “hobby” to remain current with the constant fluctuations of the market. The ideal agent will be licensed by the state and have a sales track record that reflects the business acumen required to successfully negotiate in a highly competitive market.
Truthfulness is one of the most important traits in a reputable realtor. A reputable realtor presents the truth about a property as best as can be discerned. He or she will tell you the positives and negatives that perhaps you do not want to hear or might cause you to change your mind and not proceed with the transaction. You cannot make an informed decision until you know all the facts; it is your realtor’s responsibility to ascertain these facts and inform you of any issue that affects the property purchase.
A responsible realtor depends on a diverse array of professional resources and advises you when their counsel or services are needed. From loan and escrow agents to building inspectors and lawyers, you want to be able to rely on your realtor’s recommendations.