Buying a house for the first time is an exciting experience. It can also be incredibly confusing and stressful, especially if you're inexperienced with buying property.
A real estate agent can help you navigate this important decision by answering your questions, providing advice, and helping you stay organized throughout the process.
If it's your first time looking into homes or you just have some specific questions about how to get started, here are some tips on what you should ask a real estate agent and how they can help:
An agent can help narrow down the search.
First-time homebuyers often get carried away with the process. There are so many possibilities that it can be hard to focus on just a few criteria before going out to look at houses.
A good agent will help you narrow down your search and keep you from wasting time looking at homes that won't work for you and can help protect you from yourself by steering you clear of bad decisions or overestimating your budget.
In the same way, an agent will point out problems with a house, they can also warn against poor choices during the negotiation process. If a price seems too high, the asking period is limited, or there's little room for negotiation, an agent can help you determine whether it's worth continuing.
An agent can help negotiate when you find the perfect house.
In a competitive market, it can be difficult to get your offer accepted. An agent will help you make a strong case for why the seller should choose your offer over others by providing comparable properties and highlighting all of the reasons you're a good fit for the home.
An experienced agent will not only be able to help you fill out the necessary paperwork, but they can also help decide on an appropriate offer amount, conditions of the sale, and other important details.
An agent will take you through every step of the process.
Negotiating a contract, collecting documents for financing, and arranging home inspections can be overwhelming without an experienced hand to guide you through each step. A good realtor doesn't need to do all of these things themselves- they'll have contacts with reliable professionals who are available on short notice so nothing falls through the cracks.
An agent can help you avoid extra costs when buying a house.
Closing costs add up quickly when buying a house, but they often catch first-time homebuyers off guard. There are so many fees involved in closing that it's easy to forget about one -- or worse, have an unprepared budget leading to costly mistakes down the road.
An agent will understand which fees are customary and necessary so you won't be blindsided by extras like title insurance or prepaid taxes.
An agent can help protect your investment.
Once you buy a house, it's important to protect the value of your investment. It takes some research, but agents are knowledgeable on local property values so they can recommend what changes are needed to not only get the best price when selling but also avoid costly repairs in the meantime. For example, knowing where to place flooring or how to design an energy-efficient home that will stand the test of time is something only experienced professionals have access to.
An agent can help if the deal goes sideways.
Even when you're working with the most reputable people, sometimes things go wrong. It's not uncommon to find that a property is in worse shape than initially thought or end up with unexpected fees on closing day.
Agents are there to fight for your interests and do their best to avoid these situations, but if the worst happens they'll be able to step in and minimize the damage so you can keep moving forward with your life.
For all these reasons and more, it pays for new homeowners to take advantage of a reputable real estate agent's expertise when buying a house. Agents are the first line of defence for people who don't know what they're doing, and one of the best tools to find a great home.