Buying your own house is a huge milestone, and it is possibly the biggest and most important (not to mention expensive) purchase of your life. It is exciting, being on your own, and being able to afford a place that you can call your own. But as exciting as it is, the whole process of finding and buying a home can be very exhausting, especially if it is your first time.
Hiring a real estate agent is an investment that saves you so much time, money, and effort. Whether you’re buying a starter home, looking for a retirement home, hoping to find a bachelor pad or trying to upgrade, your real estate agent will listen to what you want and use their expertise and experience to find the best option for you. Here are a few of a real estate agent’s job duties, and what you can expect when working with one.
Lots of Information and Guidance
Real Estate agents typically build their business on one or a few specific locations. They get to know the market well after years of working in it and building relationships with others in that same market. They become somewhat uniquely qualified to answer questions related to school districts, areas with the best dog parks, family-friendly neighborhoods, quiet streets, and other desires and concerns. They also learn important things to look for, like when a house might be on the verge of needing a new roof or if a foundation looks unstable. They may not be able to diagnose an issue, but they can bring your attention to the problems they’ve seen before.
They will be your primary source of information on the subject, and your guide into everything real estate related. They can answer questions you didn’t know you had when you first started the process.
Shortlisting of Desired Houses and Access to Listings
One of your relator’s primary duty is to listen to you describing the kind of house you are looking for, and then look for what matches your descriptions. You probably can’t have everything, but your real estate agent will shortlist houses that come close to your criteria. After listing down these houses, they will arrange a day and time for you to go and visit the house so you can see it for yourself.
They also have access to listings before they go online, usually because of the relationships they have. In a popular area, many homes will sell before you ever see them on Zillow or with a “For Sale” sign in the yard. This is when agents are particularly valuable.
Negotiating with Home sellers
Home sellers can give homebuyers a hard time, especially if they know you’re a first-timer. Your real estate agent will work with you throughout and negotiate the terms of the purchase on your behalf. Since your real estate agent should have more experience and knowledge about this, it is best to leave the task up to them. They typically know what a good price is and when you should accept or walk away.
Not only will your agent negotiate with the home sellers, but also with all other parties that may get involved, such as lawyers and home inspectors.
Your real estate agent will analyze and access the house for you. Since they know the market well, they will know about what the price of a house should be and if a seller is being unreasonable in their ask. Your agent will also scrutinize the house and organize a house inspector to check the house from top to bottom before the purchase is settled.
If the house has any repair needs or other issues, the agent will work with you on what is important and typically renegotiate with the seller about either fixing the problem or taking down the price based on the estimated cost of repair.
Guide You Through Possible Financing Options
Often times home buyers get approved for financing before starting their search. However, the options are many and can be confusing to someone who hasn’t dealt with them often. Let your real estate agent guide you through that, too. They will talk to you about different loans that you can take out and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Your agent will tell you about mortgage loans, such as FHA-backed mortgage loans, advise you about interest rates, and discuss how you want to pay for the house. But first, they should advise you to get pre-approved to verify that you qualify for a loan.
Fill Out the Paperwork
When buying a house, there is a considerable amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out before things can progress. You must be equipped with the knowledge of certain laws and required documents so you can go through this step smoothly.
Your real estate agent will educate you beforehand about what documents will be required. They will also accompany and assist you when it comes to filling out these papers and signing documents to make sure there are no legal difficulties later.
Take care of Closing
The last step of the process is closing. Closing is when everything has been approved and agreed to on both ends that the house switches ownership. Your real estate agent will explain the papers that you are signing so that you know what everything means. They will also explain the closing costs to you.
Now, you might be wondering – what are closing costs? Closing costs for buyers are between 2-5% of the value of the house, while closing costs for the seller can range between 8-10%. If the buyer is unable to immediately pay closing costs, your real estate agent can help wrap them into a loan or negotiate to get the seller to pay them.
In the end, try not to get overwhelmed, buying a home is exciting and you should enjoy the process, especially if it is your first time. We hope you find the home of your dreams. To ensure that the process is as smooth as possible, hiring an experienced real estate agent really is the best way to go.
If you feel that a real estate agent can be of assistance to you and can help you look for your dream home, FastExpert has thousands of trained professionals and many in your area. Search by zip code at fastexpert.com to find one that is right for you.