Buying Real Estate Step 2: Get a REALTOR® When You Buy a Home

Real estate is a tough business with a steep dropout rate, and although many people have earned real estate licenses, only a small percentage of them actively help buyers and sellers.

Real estate brokers and salespeople who belong to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) are bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of community information. NAR members are routinely active in a variety of community organizations. Active community involvement provides REALTORS® with a better understanding of the area in which they are selling.

Why Use a REALTOR® When You Buy A Home?

Buying and selling real estate is a complex matter. At first it might seem that by checking local real estate magazines or Web sites you could quickly find the right home at the right price. But a basic rule in real estate is that all properties are unique. No two properties – even two identical models on the same street – are exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Also, no two real estate transactions are alike.

In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. Those professionals are the local REALTORS® who actively serve your area.

How Do You Choose a REALTOR®?

Many communities have independent real estate agents and realty brokerages. You can find a local REALTOR® in local advertising, on REALTOR.com® and other Web sites, and by referrals from other agents, neighbors, lenders, attorneys, financial planners and CPAs. Recommendations of past clients can be valuable.

Many buyers interview several REALTORS® before selecting one to work with. These interviews are a good opportunity to consider such issues as experience, track record, market knowledge, marketing approach, professional network, representation, certification and fees.

What Should You Ask a REALTOR®?

  • What services do you offer?
  • What type of representation do you provide? Different states have different forms of representation: some agents represent buyers, some represent sellers, some facilitate transactions as a neutral party, and in some cases different agents in a single firm may represent different parties within a transaction.
  • What experience do you have in my immediate area?
  • What is your track record?
  • What is your market knowledge?
  • What kind of professional network do you have?
  • What are your certifications/designations?
  • What is your fee? Fees are established in the marketplace and not set by law or regulation. In some circumstances, a buyer agent might ask you for compensation in addition to his/her commission.
  • What disclosures should I receive? State rules require agents to provide extensive agency disclosure information, usually at the first sit-down meeting.

What Should You Expect When Working with a REALTOR® to Buy a Home?

Your REALTOR® will explain the options available to you, describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency disclosures (the details of your relationship with the agent) as required in your state.

Your REALTOR® will work with you to find listings and homes that match your requirements. You will get detailed information on current market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation. But remember that since market conditions can change and the strategies that apply in one negotiation may be inappropriate in another, this information can vary from situation to situation.

During your time in the marketplace, your REALTOR® will keep you updated and alert you to each step in the transaction process. Agents will also help you find a conveyance lawyer, an inspector, as well as recommend other professionals in their network. Your agent will help you understand, evaluate, write and deliver offers and counteroffers.

Your REALTOR®’s expertise and experience is a valuable resource in a complex undertaking of buying a home. Your realtor will help you every step of the way.

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The Walsh Team: Top Producing REALTORS® at the William Raveis office in Wellesley, MA, specializing in Luxury Real Estate, Antique Homes and Estates, Equestrian Properties and ALL other home sales and property types in the Metro West area.

Buying Real Estate Step 1: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Knowledge and experience are the keys to successful real estate transactions. The Internet is an enormous library of valuable real estate related information. Doing your research to gather knowledge as well as working with local REALTORS®, whose expertise and experience can interpret and guide you through the information, can be essential to your success in buying a home that is right for you.

Planning is one of the keys to making the home buying process easier and more understandable. With research and planning, you’ll be able to anticipate requests from lenders, lawyers and other professionals, and you’ll move more easily through the home buying process.

Do You Know What You Want in a Home?

Whether or not you are a first-time home buyer, you need to ask why you want to buy. Do you need to move, or is buying an option and not a requirement? What property features do you want that you do not have now? Do you have a purchasing time frame?

Whatever your answers, the more you know about the real estate marketplace, the more likely you are to effectively define and achieve your real estate goals.

Once you get an idea of what you want in a home, it is very helpful and practical to talk to an experienced REALTOR® who knows the local markets, current market conditions and the many facets of the complex business of real estate. An agent can answer your questions, give you a realistic picture of the market and help you clarify your real estate goals.

Do You Have the Finances to Buy a Home?

It is important to get prequalified for a mortgage before you begin your house hunting quest. This way, you will only view homes you can afford and get excited about.

Homes and financing are closely intertwined. Financing is the difference between the purchase price and the down payment and is commonly referred to as debt or the mortgage. There are a many different kinds of mortgages and different lenders, so be sure to shop around to make sure you get the mortgage that best meets your needs and at the best price.

In addition to a down payment, purchasers also need cash for closing costs (the final costs associated with completing the transaction). Some mortgage programs not only allow the purchase of a home with no money down, but also underwrite closing costs.

While some people purchase with little or no money down, it means higher monthly mortgage payments, so most homebuyers choose to put down some cash.

As for closing costs, in buyer’s markets, it may be possible to negotiate an offer that requires the owner to pay some or all of your settlement expenses. Speak with a REALTOR® for details.

Get Your Financial House in Order – Establish Your Credit

You need good credit to get a mortgage. For at least one year prior to purchasing a home, you should assure that every credit card bill, rent check, car payment and other debt is paid in full and on time.

Prepare yourself for the complex adventure of buying a home: do your research, work with a REALTOR®, plan ahead, know what you want, what you can afford and establish your credit. This will make your real estate experience run more smoothly.

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The Walsh Team: Top Producing REALTORS® at the William Raveis office in Wellesley, MA, specializing in Luxury Real Estate, Antique Homes and Estates, Equestrian Properties and ALL other home sales and property types in the Metro West area.

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