Remember playing "house" when you were younger? What fun times! As we grew up, many of us dreamed of having our own, real house. This idea of purchasing your first home can be daunting, especially without the right knowledge.
Where does one acquire this knowledge? A real estate agent, is a great place to start. A knowledgeable real estate agent can help turn this daunting process into a walk down the yellow brick road, that leads you to your own castle.
How do I find a great real estate agent, you ask? There are many ways to find an agent, such as through referalls from friends or family, internet searches, meeting them at open houses, etc.. However you chose your agent, one of the most important factors to consider is your repoire with them. You will be working quite closely with this person as you go through this process, so you need to feel comfortable with them. Do they take time to listen to you and understand what you want or need, or are they busy telling you about themselves? Find out what current and past clients have to say about their experiences. Was the agent readily available to them, or did you have to wait long periods to receive a return call? Simply having a license and knowledge of the market is not enough. They need to be focused on you and what you value as important. Don't be afraid to talk with multiple agents, to find the best fit for you and your needs.
Another consideration is determining if you want to work with a REALTOR® or real estate agent. All REALTORS® are licensed to sell real estate, but not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORS®. Only those that are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) may use the REALTOR® trademark. The members of NAR subscribe to a Code of Ethics that establishes levels of conduct that are higher than ordinary business practices or what is required by law.
So, you've found an real estate agent, or REALTOR®, what's next? Check out my next post, where I'll discuss finding a lender.