So, you have decided to buy a home! And you have probably looked around on the internet at homes... perhaps have started visiting Open Houses to see what you can get for your money. While you could try and navigate the process on your own, when you think about it, there’s really no reason to. After all, the home buying process can get complicated, and while you’re no expert, you want to make sure you do it right by turning to someone who is. This will likely be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make, and the home you end up with will affect your quality of life (and that of your family) for the foreseeable future. That’s why it’s important to take measures to ensure you get it right. Fortunately, a real estate buyer’s agent can help ease the process. Here are the top 6 reasons to have a buyer's agent by your side.
Helps You Read the Market
Many buyers believe they can manage the home-buying process on their own because today they have access to information such as housing inventory, market trend reports, etc. However, what the consumer doesn't always realize is that many of these online housing inventory sites are relying on local MLSs for the data, which can sometimes be delayed hours or even days so these online sources are not always the most reliable. Furthermore, most housing or market reports are done at a more macro-level. Which means that when you start trending data at a much more micro-level, such as neighborhoods or even tracts within neighborhoods, you could find a much different type of market than the general markets that are often reported. When the rubber meets the road, and you find your dream home, you NEED to know what type of market in which you're competing to know how to strategize, write and present your offer to give you the best chance of winning, particularly in a competitive market. What if the overall market in your area was being reported as a buyer's market, but your dream home is in price-point where there is a lot of demand (seller's market)? Wouldn't you want to know this going in so that you could write an offer that stands head and shoulders above the competition??
Helps You Strategize
Have you ever played the game monopoly? Or any sport or competition? You know how the game/match/competition comes with a set of rules by which you must play? However, in order to WIN the game, you need more than just the outlined and documented rules. In real estate, you need a strategy to help you win - either win the property in a multiple-offer market or get the best deal possible in a single-offer market - and a buyer's agent, upon helping you read and determine in which market you're competing, can help you develop a strategy for writing a competitive offer that gives you the best shot of winning your dream home.
Guides You to the Right Homes
One of the strategies a buyer's agent can help you utilize is to analyze your wants and needs and guide you to the right properties. Since the housing inventory is largely available online, you might be thinking that you don't need an agent for this, but this couldn't be further from the truth. First, creating your wishlist of features & amenities and searching for properties that meet this criteria online is a great start to the process, but a good buyer's agent will know how to help you drill down on the benefits behind those features to truly find out what is important to you and your family - and most importantly, won't lose sight of these when you are out shopping for homes. Many homes these days are marketed using a technique called staging, which helps draw your focus away from potential flaws a home might have, and your buyer's agent can help you focus on the benefits that are really important to you. If you didn't have a buyer's agent, would you know how to do this for yourself to ensure you don't buy the wrong property... or more importantly, if you went directly to a listing agent to buy a home, do you think this agent would go the extra mile to ensure the home truly fulfills your desired benefits?
Negotiates on Your Behalf
One of the most stressful parts of the home-buying process is at the negotiation table. It is stressful because you have probably just become emotionally attached to the home and you're now faced with a lot of uncertainty. You don't know if your offer will be good enough... you don't know what is most important to the seller or their level of motivation, which all plays into whether or not they accept your offer. You need someone who can remain level-headed and work collaboratively with the seller and seller's agent to find a win/win for both parties. Additionally, negotiation doesn't always stop when the offer gets accepted. Oftentimes problems arise during the inspection period, and in California in particular, these issues are subject to further negotiation if you, the buyer, want the seller to resolve them. Sometimes these are more difficult negotiations than getting the original offer accepted, so it definitely helps to have your agent advocating for you during this process.
Coordinates Your Escrow
As mentioned above, your buyer's agent helps to facilitate negotiations and resolutions during the inspection period. In addition to this, your agent helps coordinate the work of all the other professionals required to close your transaction - inspectors, loan officers & underwriters, appraisers, escrow officers, title representatives, etc. Meeting deadlines during the escrow period is critical to safeguard your interests and prevent unnecessary costs throughout the process.
Beyond the TransactionThroughout the course of your home-buying experience, you’ve probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent and you’ve gotten to know each other fairly well. There’s no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed. In fact, your agent wants you to keep in touch.
Even after you close on your house, your agent can still help you:
- Handle your first tax return as a home owner.
- Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
- Help your friends find homes.
- Keep track of your home’s current market value.
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