oooYou will have a better home buying experience if you learn the ins-and-outs of working with real estate agents before you make your first phone call to an agency. Researching and showing properties is time-consuming, and you will be spending the next few months in close contact and communication with one another. You will get better service if you choose an agent that you connect with, and stick with that agent. If you are home shopping in a specific area, the agencies belong to Multiple Listing Services, which means they all have access to the same properties. Generally it is better to find out which company has more of the market share because it will give you more options. Also, there is a misconception among many first time homebuyers that by using a Real Estate Agent, they will be subject to paying a commission. In virtually all situations, this is not the case. The seller, not the buyer, pays for the commission for the sale of a home.

oooWhat should a homebuyer expect from a buyer's agent? Homebuyers should be able to expect loyalty and confidentiality from a buyer's agent. The agent should promote your best interests and provide you with all available facts that could influence your decision about making an offer for a home. Without representation and the use of a Comparative Market Analysis, how do you determine a realistic selling price for a property? A buyer's agent will also offer research materials that help you make a reasonable offer. An exclusive buyer agency agreement normally ties you to one agent. The contract should cover a specific time period agreeable to both parties. The agreement should be in writing. It should outline the expectations of both the buyer and the real estate agent. Ask the agent to explain the services you can expect if you make them your buyer's agent. Don't let anyone pressure you into signing an agreement that doesn't feel right.

oooSo how do you find a great agent? Don't grill an agent with standard questions; having a real conversation is a much better way to find out if your personalities match. If an agent exerts more pressure than you're comfortable with, avoid them. They should pay attention to what you say about your needs and wants, and should be responsive to calls or e-mails. The agent should also take time to answer your questions.

oooDon’t run off looking at homes, surfing the web or calling on advertisements before doing some up-front preparation. Being unprepared can be a disaster. If you contract to purchase a home and change your mind, the chances of getting released from the contract are almost non-existent. Over-buying the first time, or being "house poor" is a very uncomfortable existence. A life where almost all of your earnings go to the support of your home wears thin very quickly and is a frequent cause of family stress. Also, not comparing mortgages has far too many variables (type of mortgage, term, lender and amount of points) to not investigate all of your options. Don't simply accept the first plan presented to you, spend time comparing to get the most advantageous plan for your requirements and financial situation. Prequalification and pre-approvals are a necessary part of the home buying process. Not only will it give you an exact price range for your purchase, pre-approval will add a great deal of strength to your offer. Many first time buyers make the mistake that they will, if they look around long enough, find a home that has a full 100% of their needs and wants. With the thousands of variables available in housing, including location, style, size, amenities and condition, this is almost always an unrealistic goal.

oooThere are two potential problems with this strategy: First, these buyers pass by homes that meet 90% or more of their requirements only to eventually give up, and second, while they are waiting for the "perfect" home, housing market prices (and often mortgage rates) continue to rise, adding expense to their purchase. Instead, it makes sense to determine the most important of your needs and the most desired of your wants and selecting a home that meets the majority of them. There can be costs in waiting to buy a home. Paying rent leaves you with no equity for the future, and the market can start to surge at any moment. There have been many people who felt that they waited too long, and became priced out of the market eventually. The first step in your most important investment is finding the right Real Estate Professional that you feel comfortable with to represent you. The rest of the journey can be made quite pleasant by that agent’s knowledge and hard work.


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