Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homebuyer, looking at homes for sale can be a daunting task. It’s an important decision to make, one that informs how the next year or few years of your life might be spent. You’re not just looking at the house — you’re often looking at the nearby school, the surrounding area, and ease of access. If you’re buying a home for the first time, it can be a huge first step — almost three-quarters of first-timers lived in an apartment before making the leap to a first home. So you want to be sure that you’re looking at everything there is to look at and that you have all the information you need up front. One of the best ways to do that is to peruse real estate agents before you start looking at homes in earnest.
What Do Real Estate Agents Do?
The main tasks of a real estate agent fall under one of two categories. They’re either helping people looking to sell their homes do so — by establishing a listing price, listing the home, staging it, conducting walkthroughs, and communicating with the homeowner. Or, on the other side, they’re helping sell a home to a prospective homebuyer, by finding appropriate listings to show them, arranging showings and appointments, and negotiating the purchase.
Of course, there’s far more they’re asked to do as well. A good real estate agent will be up to date on the most recent local and regional market and industry news, will handle pertinent paperwork, be aware of what active, pending, or sold listings are out there, and will be updating any online profiles that they individually run or that a larger real estate firm they belong to might run.
How Can Real Estate Agents Help?
They bring a level of experience to the table that you likely don’t have. They have the resources to present you with a list of homes that fit your needs and budget — which means that you don’t have to spend time doing that kind of research yourself.
They’ll also know the area intimately and give you information about schools, crime rates, and pricing that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. They can also give you crucial information about certain market conditions, which will inform how you ultimately buy.
And they can open doors that were previously shut — over 60% of homebuyers will swing by a house that they viewed online, says the National Association of Realtors, but rarely are they going to get a chance to peek inside. A real estate agent will be able to talk to homebuyers and arrange a time to let you inside if you’re really interested in particular homes.
Real estate agents will overall save you time and stress. From handling the loads of paperwork that are inevitable to negotiating on your behalf, they’re your one-stop shop to handling a home purchase with relative ease.
What Should I Look For In Real Estate Agent Services?
You want a real estate agent with a good reputation, plenty of experience, and a good ratio of buyers and sellers. You should ask about their average number of clients, to get a feel for how well they manage their time — and to make sure that they’ll have time for you.
Describe your particular situation to them and see how they respond. Pose situations to them and ask them how they would handle. You should also know what their communication style is like upfront — different people communicate in different ways and you want to make sure yours jives with theirs.
It’s also important to ask them for references, so you can hear firsthand what they’re like to work with. Getting personalized referrals from family or friends can be an excellent way to narrow down the field, but you should still ask for references.
Minimize the stress of buying a home with the help of a real estate agent. A top real estate agent will make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible.