A Real Estate Agent can offer a wide range of assistance to prospective home buyers. Choosing the right one can save you a great deal of money and secure you the home of your dreams.
Also, did you know that you don’t pay for the Agent? The Seller pays the commission to the Listing Agent’s Brokerage which is split with the Buyer’s Agent’s Brokerage.
Educate You on the Process
When I worked with Buyers, I would first meet with them for an hour-long Buyer consultation. This would give the potential buyer a chance to ask questions about the buying process. It also gave us both a chance to interview each other to see if we could work together. Find an Agent that is willing to meet with you prior to signing anything regarding representation.
Interview a few Agents or get a recommendation from a family member or friend. After the interviews, determine who you would feel most comfortable dealing with. A good Agent can soon start to seem like a member of the family.
Find and Tour Homes with You
Showing you homes will be a key part of the Agent’s job, but they need to get to know you and your family, so they can help find a home that will suit your tastes and needs. They also need to have a good idea of your overall budget, as well as your must-haves and wants for a home.
Get You Pre-Approved
A good Agent should have a reliable network of trusted Lenders and professionals commonly involved in the many details related to buying a home, who can help the sale go through smoothly all the way to closing. The first step is to get a mortgage pre-approval, so you can start shopping.
Note that pre-approval means that the Lender has gone through all of your financial paperwork, such as proof of employment and income, and assessed your credit report. Be sure to get a pre-approval letter if you have been shopping around on your own before working with your Agent.
Share their Knowledge about the Local Housing Market and Neighborhood
Some neighborhoods have a certain character and are more desirable than others. Not all four-bedroom homes are created equal. Be sure to inform your Agent of any special requirements from the outset, such as being close to an elementary or high school, near public transportation and shops because you don’t drive and so on.
Your Agent will know what similar houses have sold for recently and might be able to show you a “bargain house” that needs to be sold quickly, or that has just been reduced significantly in price.
Negotiate Your Offer
Leave this to the pros and they should be able to get the best price for you. This is one of the key reasons you need an Agent during the home buying process. Your Agent will be the liaison between you and the Seller. Your Agent will advise and guide you through the entire process.
Connect You with a Reliable Home Inspector
Your Agent will provide a list of at least 3 reliable inspectors they trust. Based on what the home inspector finds, the house valuation may be lower, in which case you can adjust your offer accordingly. The house may also be in need of repairs prior to the lender approving a loan.
Your Agent will also advise you on whether the price is in line with the neighborhood. Prior to writing your offer your Agent will show you comparable home sales from the neighborhood to ensure the home is priced correctly.
Attend the Home Inspection
The Home Inspector and buyer(s) will be in attendance for the inspection and take part actively. The Agent will gain access to the property for you and the inspector, however, not all Agents stay for the entire inspection.
The inspection will last roughly 2 – 4 hours…depending on the size of the home as well as the number of inspections ordered (home, termite, radon, etc.,). The Inspector will provide a written report to you and your Agent.
After review of any issues in the report the buyer can determine what repairs, if any, they want the seller to address.
Communicate at Every Step
Your Agent will be in constant contact throughout this process. The Agent keeps the Lender up to date as to how the deal is progressing. The Agent stays in contact with the Listing Agent regarding the home inspection repair addendum, ensuring all agreed upon repairs have been completed. Your Agent is also in contact with the Title Company to ensure the home has a clean title, so settlement can occur.
Prior to the actual settlement the Agent will review your closing paperwork to ensure all credits have been taken into account, the sales price is correct, the monies due from or to you are correct, and everything is in order.
After this review the Agent is at the settlement with you to answer any questions you may have during the transaction. Settlement will last roughly 1 hour. After which time you are now a Home Owner. Time to CELEBRATE!!!
The above list is by no means all-inclusive. Every state has different requirements. Some counties within the state may do things a little differently than stated above.
This article is intended to give you a glimpse into what a Real Estate Agent actually does for a Buyer.