If you’re currently browsing local home listings for your next home purchase, you’ve probably already had a few moments where you were unsure about a term used in a home description, a specific area or the next step in the buying process. The assistance of a Realtor can be helpful, even if you’re simply perusing the current market in the area.
A Realtor’s expertise is priceless for buyers because there is a lot to consider throughout the buying process that inexperienced buyers may miss. Before you begin seriously looking for your next home, you should enlist the assistance of a licensed real estate agent. Review these five ways a Realtor can help you when buying a home and you’ll want to call and agency for assistance as soon as possible.
1. Access to Data
Realtors have access to a variety of data that most buyers cannot investigate themselves. In addition to a complete market inventory, licensed real estate agents can also obtain information on:
- A home’s buying and selling history.
- Recent purchase prices in an area.
- Homes for sale in a specific community or neighborhood.
- Comparable sales prices to similar homes a buyer is interested in.
This type of data is extremely helpful for buyers who are calculating how much they want to offer on specific properties. If you have just started browsing desirable areas, the data provided by Realtors can also help you learn about potential price ranges in local communities. This data can help you save time and effort by identifying which areas are realistically within your price range and which areas you should leave out of your home search.
2. Home Accessibility
Even if you obsessively check new home listings on websites or in local magazines, a real estate agent is still more equipped to find a home that meets your criteria before you can. Realtors have access to local home listing systems that can alert them of brand-new listings that have just been entered into the market. If you have a real estate agent searching for properties for you, he or she may be able to send you information on a property as soon as it hits the market and before it has even been advertised locally.
In addition, some sellers never intend to advertise their homes are for sale, due to personal or health reasons. A Realtor can gain access to these unadvertised listings and alert you if they potentially fit your needs and budget. Without a real estate agent’s help, you may never know about some available listings, even if you consistently look for homes for sale online.
3. Bidding and Negotiation Experience
One of the most tense and stressful steps in the home-buying process is negotiating the sales price. As a buyer, you don’t want to lose a home that you’re in love with but you also don’t want to overpay for it. A Realtor truly becomes a lifeline when it’s time to bid on a home. He or she is the middle man between you and the home seller, which ensures that even if you are both emotionally charged, the negotiations remain calm and organized by a third party.
Real estate agents can also help you decide how to negotiate with the seller. There may be additional options you can include in your offer that you may not have thought about on your own, these include:
- Updates or renovations.
- Maintenance items, such as pool cleaning supplies or lawn equipment.
When it comes time to bid on a home that you like, you also have the ability to ask for closing costs or inspection charges from the seller. Since real estate agents have experience with negotiations, they can assist you in figuring out how to make both parties happy in the agreement and how to close the deal successfully.
4. Expert Advice
When shopping for a home, you will create a unique and personalized list of home and location characteristics you want the property to include. While a Realtor can’t necessary help you identify the specific needs of you and your family members, he or she can offer important insight and expert advice on homes. For example, if having a fenced-in backyard is important to you but you’re interested in a home without a fence, a real estate agent can offer you a general idea of the process of building a fence, taking out the necessary permits and the estimated cost.
If you’d like to build an addition onto a home or expand an existing porch, the Realtor can also give you information on the county building codes you must meet and if your vision is realistic. This advice and insider information is invaluable to you as a buyer because it allows you to rule out homes that you can’t change or create visions for homes that do not meet all your expectations right away.
5. Navigation Through the Buying Process
In addition to negotiations, there are several additional steps in the buying process that can be confusing and lengthy. If you plan to finance your purchase, you’ll need to contact a loan officer and become pre-approved for a specific price range. A real estate agent can be your link to a loan officer, can tell you what to expect throughout the financing process and they can tell you how realistic it is to find what you’re looking for within your price range.
Once you find the perfect home and the seller accepts your offer, you’ll need to complete the paperwork to finalize the offer. You’ll also usually be required to put money into escrow and a real estate agent can help you with these steps and walks you through the process. The real estate agent will also help you schedule an inspection for the home and is usually there on your closing day to assist with a walk-through of the property. Having a Realtor available to walk you through the buying process is helpful because he or she:
- Is your support system.
- Can help keep you organized.
- Becomes a liaison between you and other professionals.
- Alerts you when you need to complete different tasks.
Most real estate agents are even available after you close on your home to answer any general questions you have about the purchase, filing taxes as a homeowner and your home’s potential resale value.
Whether you’re just starting out with searching for a home to buy or you’re ready to pull the trigger, a Realtor can help you with the process right away. Before you attempt to navigate the market and buying process on your own, consider these tips and hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent by your side, you’re bound to have a great experience buying your next home!