Many house hunters think they may be able to go it alone during the process of purchasing a home. It’s simple, right? Just cruise the listings on your favorite real estate search engine, call up the seller’s agent, and then make an offer on the home of your choice. Right? Well… not so fast.
It’s important to remember that your home is likely the largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s not a decision or process that should be taken lightly. If done improperly you could be losing thousands of dollars or worse yet – your dream home! A buyer’s agent can help you navigate the endless listings and options, including the best neighborhoods and school districts. On top of their local expertise they can also assist you with the oh-so-important legalities of buying a home in addition to your financing options.
While there are many reasons for using a buyer’s agent, there are some tips you should keep in mind to get the greatest benefit out of an agent when you finally do pick someone. Our biggest tip is to arm your agent with the tools they need to work the best for you. If you haven’t given your agent the right information it will be near impossible for them to find you the right home.
The Items on the “Must Have” List
Most people have them going into the house hunting or purchasing process – the list of items that can mean the difference between buying or not buying a home. You’d be surprised how often clients don’t share this list with their buyer’s agent. We think it’s the first conversation you should have with your agent. This will help them find the perfect house with little wasted time for you, them and other seller’s agents.
Perhaps you have a large family with kids that are all used to having their own rooms and anything less than four bedrooms just won’t work. Maybe you have three dogs and you absolutely need a home that has or has the capability of adding a fence in the backyard. Maybe you’re at the top of your budget and you know you can’t do any repairs to a new home so you need a turn-key property that doesn’t need a lick of work. Let your buyer’s agent know – that’s what they are there for!
This brings us to the next point. Always be realistic and honest with your buyer’s agent about your budget. Too often buyers will be overzealous about their budget and get nervous when it’s time to make an offer because they have fallen in love with a house they can’t afford. Other times buyers want to be conservative but their agent is leaving out a big list of homes that might be just perfect for them because they are just slightly over their buyer’s given, but inaccurate, budget.
Make sure you communicate your realistic budget – the number you’d be comfortable spending but can’t go at all higher on. Then you’ll get to see all the best homes in your budget and won’t worry about either missing something great or overcommitting yourself.
Any Long-Term Goals
Most buyers have thoughts around the purpose of their home before going into the hunting process. For some people, they are looking for a forever home – a place to start a family maybe. For others, they are looking for a starter home that they will likely move out of in the next year or two. Some ambitious buyers may even be looking for a fixer upper to flip. You may not think it’s important to share this personal information with your buyer’s agent but we assure you that it is.
Your agent can guide you in the right direction understanding your long-term goals. For instance, if they know you are looking for a bargain but can stay in a property for several years they may point you in the direction of an up-and-coming neighborhood that is poised for growth in the next five to 10 years. Additionally, if you’re looking to move quickly they will search for turnkey properties in good neighborhoods that will hold their value.
To get the most out of your home buying experience and to ultimately find that perfect home you’ve been dreaming of, you need to open up a little to your agent. You also need to take a lot of time to find a skilled agent that knows your area extremely well. They want this process to be as quick and easy as you do and while some of this may feel like an over share, it can all help your agent pin point the perfect property.