Whether you are a first time home buyer or you’ve been down this road before, buying a house and finding a realtor that can keep you safe and sane can be quite a task. Most people looking for a realtor will usually ask a friend or will feel comfortable calling one of their neighborhood realtors. Whatever the case might be, understanding what you should expect from a realtor is key.
Here are some helpful tips to get you through this process and on your way to finding a home.
DO THEY KNOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
The agent you are looking for should know the neighborhood and have good working relationships with other agents. Your agent should be more than familiar with the neighborhood in which you are interested, the inventory, and any trends in the last few months. They should know what is currently in escrow and what has just closed. They should also know any recent rule/law changes as well as the locations of local schools, potential loud nightlife and where you can find your closest Trader Joes.
Trust me when I say agents don’t like to work with difficult agents. If you are in a multiple offer scenario, having an agent with a good reputation will help. I have unfortunately seen agents get in the way of a deal because of ego – it honestly just doesn’t make sense.
HOW WILL THEY NEGOTIATE FOR ME?
You want an agent who knows the line between helping a deal along and backing you when walking away. This is YOUR purchase and you need to know that your agent will work hard to get you the deal YOU want. That being said it is important to listen to your agent’s suggestions when negotiating. Your agent should know how to submit a clean offer that puts you ahead of the pack and keeps you in play when countering.
THE HOUSE HUNT BEGINS
Once you have settled on an agent you will need to get busy getting pre-approved with a lender so that you clearly understand your financial parameters. Your agent should be able to recommend highly qualified lenders if you need a few referrals. It is just as important to interview more than one lender and shop rates. It is a good idea to act as a team with your agent. Life is busy and it is always helpful for your agent to know what is on the market and make sure they are seeing any new inventory. This can help illuminate specific homes so you can see the ones that best suit you. Your agent should also be able to see things about the house that you may simply overlook – love can be blind once you think you have found the perfect home.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ESCROW?
If you thought you spent a lot of time with your agent while you were looking for a house, that’s just the beginning. You will have a pretty tight contingency period and it is crucial that your agent is involved. If you don’t know any inspectors your agent again should be able to provide you with a list of vendors they love and trust to do good quality inspections. This time period is your opportunity to find out everything you can about your new potential home. If there are problematic items that appear (immediate or long term), the right agent will negotiate for them to be corrected or credited towards escrow fees…and they can add up quickly.
IN THE END GO WITH YOUR GUT
I have to say I have worked with many wonderful real estate agents that love what they do and do it really well. It might actually be difficult to choose one. In this case I would say do what you do in any big decision after performing your due diligence – go with your gut!
Happy House Hunting!