Buying a home is a big deal. For most people, it’s by far the largest purchase they’ll ever make. So making sure you’re well informed throughout the entire process can and will ease any uncertainties. After all, you will be receiving a crash course in many terms and topics you may have never studied before.
Before you make an offer, it’s crucial that you educate yourself on the ins and outs of buying a home.
Here are 10 helpful questions to ask your real estate agent as you navigate the home-buying waters.
Do you have any references? The majority of homebuyers choose an agent based on feedback from a friend or family member, but for those who choose other methods, checking up on references will help you decide whom to select.
What is the market value of the home? The agent can provide a comparative market analysis (‘comps’), which list the prices of all the recently sold homes in the area in addition to those currently available. Agents can also tell you how long homes have been on the market and the percentage of the asking price sellers are receiving.
How many other buyers are you working with? Buying a home is a highly competitive process, and not having a flexible, dedicated agent can break a deal, so knowing in advance what your competition is with your own agent is important. There’s no magic number here, so you’ll have to decide on your own if a particular agent is representing too many clients. Keep in mind that sometimes, the busiest agents are the most efficient.
What percentage of clients are buyers vs. sellers? Some real estate agents specialize in either buyers or sellers, and many do both. Some argue that agents who specialize on buyers or sellers offer better service and expertise. An agent with a high percentage of selling clients may not be ideal for a buyer.
Do you charge a fee? Most real estate agents don’t charge their buyers a fee, but instead receive a commission on the final selling price of the home. The seller typically pays this commission. Some agents, however, charge homebuyers an upfront fee to show properties. Additionally, what happens if you find your dream home without the help of your buyers’ agent? Are they still entitled to a commission?
Are there any problems with the home? Most issues with a home will come out in the inspection process, but it saves a lot of time and hassle if the issues are disclosed up front. Asking about the home’s deficiencies from the beginning can save many headaches further down the line.
Are there any foreclosures in the area? Foreclosure and short-sold homes can temporarily hurt property values in their immediate area. Because many home values are cal culated based on past comparable sales, known as comps, it is important to know if anything is dragging down a home’s market value.
Are you a Realtor? Realtors carry a special designation from real estate trade organization National Association of Realtors. Not all real estate agents are Realtors. About 1.3 million licensed agents who carry the Realtor designation.
Are you a broker? A broker is a person who has taken additional training and testing beyond what is required to be a real estate agent. Brokers can work alone without a major corporate agency backing them and can hire real estate agents to work under them.
Research and education is the key to being in control of the home buying process. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable, stop, take a deep breath, and ask as many questions as you like until you’re up to speed. It can feel at times like you are detached from the process as you listen to agents toss out jargon-packed phrases, but always remember that you are in control.Call (888) 983-3240 for more information.
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