Buying your first home can be an exciting, yet stressful, situation for anyone.
Not knowing what to expect is a usual worry -- but with help from the right realtor, you can conquer your fears of the unknown and find the home of your dreams.
The first thing to remember is that all realtors can work as either a seller's agent or a buyer's agent. That means they can sell houses or help you buy one.
When they work for buyers, realtors are responsible for helping you find the right home, acting on your behalf during price negotiations, and helping you with all of the necessary paperwork.
Best of all, working a buyer's agent won't cost you anything! That's right -- their services are usually free to you because the seller will pay the commission for your agent.
After all, your agent not only helped you find the right home, but they helped the seller and their agent find the right buyer.
The biggest thing your realtor will do for you is to help you negotiate. Remember, the seller's agent is going to help out their client as much as possible, and therefore, will try to get you to pay top dollar for the home. Your realtor, on the other hand, wants you to get the best deal. Ultimately, both sides will have to come up with a price that everyone likes.
If you've got a good realtor, he can save you thousands of dollars on a home -- especially right now, since we're in a buyer's market!
But we're not done yet. Your realtor still has to deal with all of the paperwork. Because they do this for a living, realtors already know about every piece of legal documentation that must filled out and submitted.
OK, so you know what a good realtor SHOULD do -- so how do you find one who will actually do all of that for you?
- Ask close friends or family for recommendations. Don't rely solely on a recommendation, because the realtor may not fit your needs, but it's a good starting point.
- Choose an agent who is a realtor. Anyone licensed by the state can sell real estate as an agent, but realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and must abide by a strict code of ethics. The organization takes these ethics very seriously, so if someone is a licensed realtor, you know they're a professional who follows all of the guidelines.
As an added benefit, realtors have access to more listed properties for sale than non-members, so they can give you more options to consider when you're house-hunting.
- Look for someone who fits in with your schedule, needs, and personality. For example, if you can only look at homes on certain days, make sure that your realtor works on those days. There's no need to hire someone who is a Monday through Friday agent, when you can only look at houses on weekends!
- Make sure that your realtor is serious about your budget. Their commission will be based on the selling price of the home, but their main concern should be finding the right house for you, not their wallet.
- Make sure your personalities jive before you hire them. You are going to be talking to this person quite a bit during your home search, so a realtor should be someone you trust to guide you through the home-buying process.
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