Purchasing a new home can be overwhelming. You may have an idea of where you’d like to live and how much you’d like to spend, but when it comes down to actually hunting for your new home, you may not know where to start. If your head starts spinning as soon as it’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the house search, you may be thinking about hiring a real estate agent. But is this a good move? Here are some things to consider.
Why you might need an agent
Paperwork: Do you like spending your spare time filling out paperwork and sifting through piles of documents? We didn’t think so. A home purchase involves a ton of paperwork. A real estate agent is familiar with the process involved in filling out all of the necessary documents, so it will be helpful to have someone guide you through each step.
Details: If this is your first time purchasing a home, you may also need assistance with tasks such as choosing an inspector and figuring out who should cover costs for things like home repairs.
Connections: Unless you already have good connections, a seasoned real estate agent can make the process smoother by connecting you with professionals who can further assist you with your home purchase, such as a trusted home inspector or a mortgage broker.
Negotiations: Your real estate agent can act as the middle man (or woman) when it comes to negotiating. Sometimes sellers can be difficult to deal with, so having a third party involved can make communication a little smoother. You’ll also be more likely to snag a discount through your agent.
Why you may not need a real estate agent
This isn’t your first rodeo: Hiring a real estate agent may be a wise choice if this is your first home purchase. However, if you’ve been through the process before, and you know exactly what you want, you might be able to move ahead without a real estate agent’s assistance.
You have time on your hands: If you have enough time (and energy) to focus on the home purchase process, this is another reason why you may be able to skip the extra help.
You’re familiar with the paperwork: One way a real estate agent can help is by assisting you with paperwork. If you’re fairly familiar with how to properly complete the necessary documents, and you understand when and how the documents should be filed, you’ve won half the battle.
Finding the best agent
Make sure the real estate agent is licensed by the state. Your best bet may be to hire someone who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. This is because the association requires its members to adhere to a set of ethics guidelines that are put in place to make sure your best interests are protected and that you get the best service possible. In addition, make sure he or she is familiar with the area where you desire to reside. Also reach out to friends and family for suggestions. The experts recommend speaking with at least three agents before making a final decision.
A final word
Educate yourself: Whether you decide to use the services of a real estate agent, make sure to educate yourself about the home buying process. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it when it comes to handling the details of a major purchase. This is your hard-earned money, so make sure you understand what’s going on. If you leave everything up to someone else, you may end up paying more than you intended. So save yourself some cash and get some basic knowledge about what to expect before, during, and after your purchase. You can learn more by reading books and attending a first-time homebuyer’s course.
Be proactive: Don’t just let your real estate agent do all the work. Look at listings and go to open houses. Get involved in the process. At the end of the day, you know the best house for you, so make sure you take an active role.
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