Buying a home, for some, is a once in a lifetime activity.
When you first start to consider the idea of owning your own home, condominium, or multi-family building, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. The advent of websites like Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia have made it easier to access information, but in a marketplace where this is true for all buyers it can be difficult to shine through and end up with the home of your dreams.
Beyond finding the home, buyers are saddled with writing a competitive offer with a proper timeline, arranging their financing and getting a mortgage, appraising and inspecting the home, negotiating the sale price and requesting repairs, and finally pouring over documents that include a Purchase and Sale Agreement and all closing documents.
Here are five reasons to hire a buyer’s agent:
1. The Pre-approval Process
Unless you have the cash to pay for a home outright, in most cases, you’ll be borrowing money from a bank to pay for your house. Finding the bank that will hold your mortgage is a critical part of the buying process. As in many professions, connections are everything, and real estate agents work with a range of loan officers that represent a variety of lenders.
Finding the right loan officer and lender is like finding a great teacher. They will guide you through questions like: how much mortgage can I afford based on my monthly income?
How much do I need for a down payment? How much are closing costs? If I just had my home inspected, why do I need to have my home appraised? Who is the best lender for my home type and location?
Leverage your buyer’s agent to introduce you to the best loan officers and lenders that your local marketplace has to offer.
2. Finding Your Dream Home
Using Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia in your jammies with a cup of coffee is fun. But it’s also like buying a used car via Craigslist just by looking at the photos; in most cases, it would be prudent to have a mechanic look at it before purchase.
In real estate, an agent can help you determine how much money you’ll need to put into the house to upgrade things like your hot water heater, electrical wiring, or furnace. They can tell you about traffic patterns, schools, owner occupancy in the area, and the current conditions of that specific marketplace.
A buyer’s agent ultimate goal is to ensure that you’re happy in your new home and that it is a strong investment in the long term.
3. Making An Educated + Competitive Offer
This happens fast and it can end just as quickly. Often, after a Sunday open house, there will be an offer deadline on Monday or Tuesday. Making an educated and competitive offer is necessary to getting your offer accepted.
How to make an educated offer? Know your numbers and run the necessary comps to understand recent sales of similar homes within 0.3 miles and also what the neighborhood’s price per square foot range has been in the past six months. Was the open house well attended? This is often an indicator of other offers and may impact your offer strategy.
How to make a competitive offer? There are many factors that play into writing a competitive offer, including: timing, sales price, down payment, contingencies, and love letters. Some of these may be foreign to you now, but a great agent will provide you guidance on all of these once you’re ready to submit an offer.
4. Closing On Your Dream Home
Having an offer is accepted is a big deal! It might feel like your buyers journey is complete, but you are far from finished. You’ll need to conduct an inspection (ask your agent for recommendations), have the home appraised for your lenders, review and sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement, conduct a walk-through, and ultimate sign closing documents.
Details abound during this phase of the home buying process and an agent is there to work you through the nitty gritty to ensure nothing is missed!
5. You Own It, Now What?
The buyers journey is over but your relationship with your agent is not. Over time, you may want to make upgrades or improvements to your home and your agent can be a great a great sounding board in making these decisions. Will redoing the entrance to our home increase its value, or should we upgrade the bathroom instead? Who is the best roofer, electrician, snow plow guy/gal, and plumber in the Boston area? They might even be able to provide recommendations on enrolling your young ones in school.
Without a doubt, you will encounter questions like these as a homeowner. Leverage your agent in these scenarios, you won’t regret it.