Choosing The Best Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agents can offer buyers more than knowledge of the community or a tour guide of homes for sale, they can save you money at closing, protect you from unexpected repair bills and more!

Buying a home is generally the most expensive purchasing decision you will ever make. Choosing the right real estate agent can be the key to making a smart purchase.

Generally there is not a shortage of qualified agents available to work with you but it is important to find one that understands your personal needs and whose judgment you respect and trust. You may need to talk to several agents before you find one you are comfortable working with and really listens to you.

There are many benefits to using a real estate specialist. A seasoned real estate agent is a licensed professional that can tell you about market trends in the area, interest rates and the overall economy.

PRE-QUALIFICATION

Prior to showing you homes a good agent will pre-qualify you to make sure you are looking at homes in the right price range and to determine if you are able to purchase a home if shown the right one for your needs. If an agent is anxious to just show you around without asking you some financial questions or referring you to a mortgage lender they may not be the right agent for you.

Agents should work closely with your mortgage lender to make sure you are receiving the best possible interest rate and can even negotiate with the seller to pay points or closing fees on your behalf. These negotiations can save you hundreds of dollars. Working with the right agent can also help insure a timely closing and smooth transaction.

LOOKING FOR A HOME

As you focus on what you are looking for in a home an agent will help you establish your priorities in three main areas.

1. Location

How close is your job and how far is an acceptable commute? Is there a specific area of town you prefer to live in? These are important questions in choosing the right location to preview homes.

2. Personal style

An agent will need to determine what architectural style you prefer and how large of a lot you require. Determining these answers early on can save you time as well as the agent's time in finding a property to fit your needs and wants. As you look at each home a good agent should be helping you to determine if it fits the way you live with spaces and features that appeal to your family.

3. Budget

How much home can you afford to own? Will there be additional monthly home association fees in the subdivision?



Agents should offer buyers more than knowledge of the community or a tour guide of home for sale. They also should have an extensive knowledge or the local schools and expected property taxes.

Agents can also provide you with a copy of the covenants and restrictions (CCR's) on properties you preview to make sure that your lifestyle will not violate the neighborhood rules and regulations already in place.

WRITING THE OFFER

Using a licensed professional can also help you to make a legal offer on a home once you have located the property you wish to buy. Your agent will write an offer to purchase, present it to the seller and negotiate the best terms for you.

A good agent will always ask for "earnest money" when you sign a purchase offer. This money is held in a special escrow account and is generally 1-5% of the sales price. $500-$2000 is a normal amount for a agent to ask for which can be applied to your purchase price at the time an accepted offer goes to closing.

HOME PROTECTION PLANS

A good agent can protect you from unexpected repair bills as well. After spending so much time, money and efforts to find the right home the last thing you want to worry about is a costly breakdown that your homeowners insurance will not cover. Real estate agents can offer you comprehensive coverage that can even be paid for by the seller to protect your home for a year or more.

Agents also make sure that your home does not have any termite damage. A termite inspection is usually ordered by the real estate agent and provided to your mortgage lender as required for your loan to be completed. These extra time-saving steps can elevate problems down the road for the buyer.

Agents can also help you do a final walk through on your home prior to moving in. this is an important step to check any work the seller agreed to do and make sure everything is in working order.

Real estate agents want you to be happy with your purchase and they stake their professional reputation on helping you make a smooth purchase.

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