I was watching some March Madness over the weekend and you all know what happens when a group of guys get together... you got it there is always an argument. Most of the time it is about the sport or game they are watching, but this group was a bunch of real estate agents and financial planners. So we naturally started arguing about work stuff and did not even look back at the game for some time. To make a long story short part of the discussion was about whether you should work with a licensed professional or save money and work with someone who just "knows" the business. So here are some of my thoughts on the question and hopefully they help you decide your next step in the future.
I would venture out and say that choosing the right person to represent you in negotiating your home purchase is a major decision for every home buyer out there. Whenever you see the designation of REALTOR® you can be sure that person has a commitment to meeting the standards of the organization. My team and I have a network of professionals that have done a great job for our clients in the past, and we can provide you with a referral to a qualified representative, and pre-approval to shop as a cash buyer. You definitely want to make sure that you are going to work with an experienced Real Estate professional that works with buyers on a regular basis. Someone whom will go the extra mile to show you that they will look out for your best interest and gain your respect is an almost definite partnership that will only benefit you the most at the bottom line. This type of Agent will act promptly to get you information about their team and their methods of doing business, along with quotes and testimonials from past clients.
Once you set an appointment to meet with a Real Estate Agent and his/her team, they should be making you feel like a real rock star. They should personally introduce you to each person you are expected to have contact with throughout the buying process. There should be a great deal of effort and attention to detail with the goal of establishing a long-term relationship with you, rather than thinking of you as a one-time transaction. An experienced buyer's representative should ask many questions regarding your goals rather than tell you what they assume you want to hear. Your agent will also take your financial situation into consideration, therefore helping you make the purchase you qualify for and not just adding to their numbers. Another great quality is this individual will seek to surpass your expectations by having a system in place that provides complete customer satisfaction.
Most experienced professionals will have access to the computerized Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which changes regularly. This allows them to provide you (the customer) with new listing just as they become available which could actually happen as you are viewing another property. This will also include important demographics, such as surrounding schools, shopping centers, libraries, etc... Another valuable piece of information included in this listing is market value information on the area you are seeking to buy a home. This allows you to see what other properties are selling for which helps you in the offer stages of the process. As you can see this person should be multi-talented and being a strong negotiator on your behalf and provide guidance every step of the way is a key talent. In the grand scheme of things, using a trained professional will save you time and money. It is pertinent to let your Real Estate Agent know of the type of property you are interested in so he/she can eliminate the listings that do not meet your criteria, which again saves time and money. In these times of a tough economy all the money you can save yourself the better.
Just as important if not most important please let my team know what your goals are so we can provide you with financing that fits your current and long-term situation. Our job is not just to close a loan for you, but to help you build a strong financial outlook by putting a plan together which will help manage that debt in the future. We use an extensive database system that allows us to run reports and determine when refinancing is appropriate and beneficial.