Let’s face it, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you have a lot of questions about the home-buying process. That’s what real estate agents are here for.
Almost 90% of buyers recently used a real estate agent or broker to purchase their home, according to the National Association of Realtors. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or this is your fifth house, it’s a good idea to use an agent to ensure you make a smart decision.
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who can guide you through the homebuying process. Not only do they find homes you’ll like at your price-range but they are also skilled agents that possess negotiating skills. An agent can keep you calm and informed, so you’re never in the dark when it comes to closing costs. But not every real estate agent is a match for every homebuyer.
When choosing an agent, you have to be careful and do your research. Make sure you’re working with someone experienced and who actually cares about what you want.
Find a real estate agent who:
1. Understands Risk Management
Most homeowners don’t know the ins and outs of the mortgage industry. That’s why they hire real estate agents. When looking for an agent, it’s important to find someone who understands the risks of buying and can explain those risks to you.
They should be able to provide real-time data when discussing the neighborhood’s performance and what the long-term impact of purchasing in that area would be. The last thing you want is to buy a home and its value significantly drops a year later. The right real estate agent can help you mitigate those risks, so you make the right decision.
2. Comes With Good Referrals
We live in a digital world where looking for a real estate agent can be done completely online. But does that mean it should be?
As a first-time homeowner, it’s a good idea to work with a real estate agent you have a connection with. Ask a friend or family member, who owns a home, if they’d recommend their real estate agent. You should also consider asking people who live in your ideal area and who purchased the type of home you’re looking for. Chances are, you’ll be able to find someone quickly and better suited for you through word of mouth versus looking through a real estate app.
3. Has The Right Experience
Once you have a list of potential real estate agents, do some research before choosing one to work with. Look at review sites and confirm the agent does in fact have a license, and check to see whether they’ve received any complaints. You can also interview agents, and ask about their experience and any other concerns you may have.
4. Matches Your Budget
Real estate agents charge a commission, somewhere between 5% to 6% of the home’s price. As a first-time homebuyer, you might be under the impression that sellers are the ones who pay this fee. But in actuality, the commission is included in the overall home price that the buyer ends up paying in the monthly mortgage.
When choosing an agent, find one with reasonable fees so you’re not paying for their services well after you’ve closed on your home.
5. Understands What You Want
When working with a real estate agent, it’s important to be very clear about what you’re looking for. An agent can only provide the right options if they know what kind of home you want.
That said, if you’ve been transparent, and your agent still isn’t bringing you good options, it might be time to cut ties. Unfortunately, some agents only provide their clients with homes that will benefit them in the long-run. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to move on to someone else.