Buying a home can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. Before searching for a real estate agent, be sure to get familiar with the entire process of how to buy a home. To be taken seriously when searching for a home, you should get preapproved for a mortgage loan which will also definitively determine how much you’ll be able to afford.
Once you’ve become more informed about all the steps required to complete the purchase, you’ll understand how important it is to have a knowledgeable real estate agent to guide you step-by-step.
When you go through the pre-approval process, you might talk to the lender to find out if they can recommend a realtor with experience in the community where you hope to buy a home, but don’t stop there. Having an expert at your side is your best bet for a positive experience – real estate agents get up to 30% of their business from repeat clients and referrals. Talk to friends and family, asking if they know a good realtor. Still, it’s always important that you vet them personally as well, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person throughout the homebuying process.
You want someone who’s not only a good fit personally but is familiar with the type of property you want – if you’re a first-time buyer looking for a starter home, for example, a real estate agent focused on luxury homes is probably not the realtor for you.
Research and Interview
Research potential agents online before meeting them in person to save time as you may be able to weed some out from the start. Check social media pages and customer reviews. More than one or two negative reviews could be a red flag.
Interview your top three candidates, asking about their qualifications and experience. A newer agent may have more time to concentrate on you, but it’s important that they have a good level of training and access to competent mentors. Get a feel for their communication skills too, including how well they listen to what you have to say. You’ll also want to know what their strategy will be, asking questions like how they handle multiple offers and what the plan will be for finding your ideal home.
Request references from every real estate agent that you feel positive about after the interview and be sure to check them. Make sure the individuals are related or friends with the agent – even better is to get a list of the realtors’ three most recent clients.
Review Your Contract
Carefully read every line of your contract. Pay special attention to fees and commission that may be charged to you. Generally, the seller pays the commission, but you’ll want to confirm this. Also, look at the length of your contract. If your agent hasn’t found a home you like within a few months, you may want to consider someone else, so make sure the length of the contract isn’t longer than what you’re comfortable with.