Part 4 - Searching for a home and using a buyers agent
Recently, I had the pleasure of doing an adult ed. home buyers class for the Marietta Community School. I have decided to take some of my outline notes and form the into a blog series for home buyers.
The content is geared a little more toward first time buyers but will still be very relevant for move up buyers as well. Also, this is based on my own knowledge and experience in our local market. All real estate is local, so if you are reading this in another part of the country then some of the ideas may not apply or at least they may apply differently.
Part 4 - Searching for a home and using a buyers agent
Searching for a home
Over 80 percent of all buyers begin their search on the internet. With the advent of the internet buyers can now see virtually every home for sale from the comfort of their own home.
Here are a few tips to help with your internet search.
- Put in good information. Your search results will only be as good as the search criteria that you input. For example, on the Seach for Homes function on my website there is also an advanced search option that I recomend. This allows you to add chools, subdivision, or other importan information that will help narrow down your home search. When the search results are returned you will be more likely to see only homes that might interest you.
- Consider signing up for an automated listing search. With the automated search the new or changed listings that match your search will be automatically emailed to you. You won't have to search all over the internet anymore since the newest listings are coming in to your email box everyday.
- Make sure that you see all of the homes! Here in metro Atlanta, and in many other cities, there is more than one mls service. Make sure that the search you are using searches all of the mls services for your area.
- Should I sign in? Many websites will require you to sign in at some point. The settings on my search will allow you to see the basic home information but require a sign in to see additional photos or virtual tours. If you are hestitant to share your information here are a few tips for you.
- Many (most) agents will never call you. I can't explain it they just don't. If they do call it usually is just an offer to assit with your search and there is nothing to heavy handed and there is no obligation.
- Many of the web sign ins do not screen the information. While I don't encourage this, I have had a few folks sign in as firstname.lastname@example.org :-).
Using a buyers agent
If you find a home that is for sale by owner you are not required to use an agent but you may want to consult with an agent or a real estate attorney to help you through the transaction. Some agents will offer transaction assistance for a small fee. This can be helpful in understanding the contacts and the homebuying process.
Most homes that you will be looking at are listed by agents. About 90% of all homes sold are sold by agents. So, should you use a buyers agent?
- Understand that the listing agent , the agent with the sign in yard, represents the seller and their job is to sell the home on the best terms for the seller.
- The listing agent shares their commission with your agent. That is how the agent that represents you gets paid. You get full representation but there is almost never any cost to you. Personally, I have never charged a seperate fee to a buyers agent, regardless of the commssion amount offered by the listing agent.
- Can I buy the house cheaper if there is no buyers agent? Usually not. The seller has a contract with the listing agent that they will pay x% commission when the house sells. That amount is the same whether there is a buyers agent or not. Plus, the buyer cannot negotiate the commission as part of the contract. That would be interfering with the already existing contract between the seller and their agent. When most agents see an unrepresented buyer they simply look at it as a larger commission check.
- A buyers agent represents you adn our best interest and will help keep you focused on the homes that best match your needs
- Buyers agents are obligated to keep your information confidential. if you deal with the listing agent directly, they can tell the seller anything that you share with them and in turn use that information to negotiate against you.
- Buyers agents have no responsibility to sell a particular home. They can point out the good and bad features of any home that you are looking at. The listing agent only has to disclose information that is required by law.
- Buyers agents will help coordinate all aspects of your home purchase form the beginning of the search, to apprisal, home inpsection, loan apllication, to closing.
Remember that commisions are negotiable. This is great to remember if you have a home to sell. Many agents have different policies on this. Personally I always offer a "volume" discount for representing clients on a listing and also a purchase.
Would you invest $150,000 or more in the stock market without the advice of a financial advisor? Would you go to court without your own attorney? Your home search will go smoother and your best interests will be represented if you have your own agent.
Next time - Making the offer.
Read Part 1, Here - Is it a good time to buy and should I buy?
Read Part 2, Here - Should you buy a home if you currently have a home to sell?
Read part 3, Here - Getting Credit Ready/ How much house can I afford?
Read Part 6, Here - Appraisal, Inspection, and Due Diligence
Read Part 7, Here - To the closing and beyond
Bob Southard, e-Pro, Realtor ®, Solid Source Realty, Inc. Buy a home, Sell a home, in Powder Springs, Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Dallas, Hiram,and Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, North Fulton, South Cherokee, County, Ga
Visit my website www.AgentBobSells.com
Call me for all of your Real Estate needs
Copyright © 2008 By Bob Southard, All Rights Reserved