Some of our most asked questions center around home buying and the involved processes. When we think about it that makes perfect sense. The item in your budget where you’re likely to spend the most is your primary residence. Buying a house is a huge undertaking. There are many important things to know when you’re ready to take the plunge!
How many square feet to buy, how you’re going to finance, what exactly to look for, whether or not you want an agent for help and on and on and on. That’s why we decided to launch this mini series. We do have other resources available which discuss home buying. However, our goal with this series is to discuss the home buying steps in depth, one at a time. The process can be overwhelming so our goal is to break it down into more bite-sized pieces.
Step 4: Find a Agent to Work With
An agent can be the difference between an outstanding home buying experience and a less than satisfying experience.
Where to find a good agent
- Past experience: If there’s an agent you worked with before and the experience was great, use them again.
- Word of mouth: Ask friends and family members for suggestions of agents they’ve worked with and had good experiences.
- Online research: Check the largest and most renowned agencies and look for the top agents.
- Professional referral: This is applicable if you’re moving to a new location. You ask an agent you know locally to refer you to an agent in the new destination. It’s a great way to find someone.
Interview your candidates
- Make sure you have a connection. Does it feel right? Do they not only listen, but hear what you’re saying?
- What resources do they have for support? This is where the brokerage and agent team come into play.
- Does the agent have a team? Will you primarily be working with the agent or someone on the team?
- What is the size and reputation of the brokerage firm?
- What does your gut tell you? Does the agent seem like someone who will be on your side? Will they go to bat for you during negotiations?
- What type of experience do they have? In your area? In your price range?
- Do they work a schedule that works with your schedule?
- What’s their process for showing properties?
- Are they an agent? Or are they a Realtor?
- These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors. To use the trademark name they must be a member of the association, adhere to a code of ethics, and pledge to protect and promote the interests of their clients.
Keep them honest by being honest
- Be straightforward and honest in what you’re looking for and your budget.
- If they ask you to look at a property outside your price range, decline and restate your budget.
- If this happens more than once, have a serious conversation about sticking to the budget.
- If it continues beyond the conversation, you’ll need a different agent.
- While looking at property, provide honest feedback!
- This is extremely important because it helps your agent understand what you like and don’t like, your unspoken preferences, and your priorities.
- Agents will often ask you to look at a property you may not like when you first arrive. Please take the time to walk in, look around, and give them honest feedback.
- Again, the feedback is invaluable to assisting your agent in finding properties that might work for you.
- It’s just simply polite to do this. The homeowner most likely went to a lot of trouble to make the home available for a viewing. Your feedback will make it back to them so they can improve their showings and they’ll know they didn’t waste their time.
Who you work with to find the home of your dreams is a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Don’t be afraid to take your time to research and interview possible candidates for your agent. This is the person who will be guiding you through the largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime so be sure it’s someone you can trust. Be sure they know what they’re doing, they have resources to support them, and can be counted on to act in your best interests.On to STEP 5
Gayle Evezich, AFC® is a Senior Financial Concierge at Your Money Line and personal finance author. Gayle’s greatest joy is to help others find comfort with their money through financial empowerment. When not working or donating her services, you can find Gayle hiking, cooking creative vegan food, traveling or reading scandalous murder mysteries!