Home Buying Step Five, Meet with your Agent
If you've been following along you have seen the overview of Home Buying, 12 Steps and the Serenity Prayer, so you have and idea where we are going. You have completed Step One, met with a lender and been Pre-approved. You have taken Step 2, and you have selected a highly competent agent. You have decided on where, Step Three and followed a process in Step Four, Priorities, setting up your "must haves", "would like to have" and "would take if you could get it" priority list.
Now you need to take all your information and have a serious talk with your Agent. In Washington your agent works for you as the buyer, unless you are working with the listing agent. You should receive a pamphlet called, "The Law of Agency" which describes what you can expect from an agent working on your behalf. There is Buyer Agency, Seller Agency and Dual Agency. I don't practice "Dual Agency" whereby I would attempt to be neutral. Once I have a signed listing contract, I have a previous contractual relationship with my seller. If you and I meet at an open house, I will gladly assist you in purchasing the home, but my loyalty and obligation would remain with the seller, so don't tell me your secrets.
Assuming you are not buying your agent's listing, tell your agent all they need to know to assist you. Discuss your financing issues, limits and plans. If you are pre-approved to $350,000 they need to know this, even if you only desire to spend $300,000. If the perfect house appears but is over your desired limit, but falls within your financing limit, I would want you to be aware of it and decide for yourself how to proceed.
Your agent should know the area(s) you have selected and be able to tell you about schools, traffic patterns, and neighborhood resources. If you tell them how you came to your decisions, they may have suggestions worth considering. Same will be true of the house amenities you have worked through in step Four. The more I understand my clients, the better equipped I am to focus on their goals.
After a thorough discussion of all your priorities, the agent should have enough information to do a comprehensive search for you online. Chances are you've already been doing this, but our search filters allow for a more precise detailed search than what public sites permit. If you want a one story 3 bedroom, 1.75 bath home on a corner lot that feeds to a specific school and has easy access to the freeway, we can search for the closest match.
Ideally there will be several homes which fit your criteria. Have your agent print out or email you the best options. If the list is large review them and let the agent know which homes appeal to you the most and schedule a time with your agent to view them.
Once you have done all this, you're well positioned for Step 6, Touring the Homes.