When it comes to buying a home, there are many different ways to go about it. And with the internet at our fingertips, first time home buyers can research for hours upon hours if they choose to do so. There are multiple websites out there that give detailed information about the multide of homes for sale, and the ever important pictures that can make all the difference when it comes to finding “the one”.
And while technology has made it easier to travel across town right from your living room, are you really getting the whole story? Sure, you can be confident in what school district you would be in, but when was the roof replaced last? And, is this house that looks amazing online, really worth the price the seller is asking for?
Luckily, you don’t have to go on this adventure alone. There are professionals out there that can help. Realtors are home buying and selling experts that take the guess work out of the process.
I took some time to speak with Matt Meister of Coldwell Banker Town and Country Realty here in Kearney recently to talk about the importance of having a realtor in your corner during the home buying process.
Why is it important to hire a Realtor?
“Hiring a Realtor is like hiring an insurance agent, an accountant, or a guide for a very treacherous journey,” Meister said. “Many people think they can make it on their own, only to find out in the end that they really wish they would have had someone helping them. The home is one of the biggest investments that most people make in their lifetime and having someone help you do it right is important. There is a lot of knowledge and experience that Realtors pick up over the years that make the home buying experience better and easier and the home selling experience more profitable. The scary thing is that most people who try to do it on their own don’t even know what they don’t know. Many lose a lot of money without even realizing it.”
What should you look for when hiring a Realtor?
“Experience is the number one trait in a Realtor for a buyer or seller to look for. If you are trying to sell a house, go to the internet, look at the listings, see which Realtors catch your eye time and time again. If you see a listing with horrible pictures, horrible descriptions or other things that just make the listing not appealing, cross that Realtor off your list.”
“If you are buying a house, look for someone who will work with you EXCLUSIVELY. Someone who clearly has your best interests at heart and not their own. It doesn’t take long to tell the difference. If you feel like the person you are working with is not working in YOUR best interest, talk with them. If they cannot explain why they are doing the things they are doing, it will be best to find someone else.”
What are some of the primary responsibilities of a Realtor when working for a buyer?
According to Meister, Realtors have a lot of responsibility when it comes to their clients.
“A Realtor should be helping a buyer make sound financial decisions.”
“A Realtor should help a buyer through negotiations.”
“A Realtor should be able to educate the buyer enough that the buyer never feels like they are going in blind. Interestingly enough, you can find a lot of Realtors who don’t know the first thing about the usual maintenance a house needs or how to explain the difference between different types of electrical systems, or what it means for a property to be within the proper zoning for its use.”
“A good Realtor never stops learning, and right in our Code of Ethics it states that we should share the fruits of that knowledge with our clients.”
What advice would you have for a first time home buyer(s)?
“Don’t just think about the house you are buying. Think about the house you would like to be in 20 years from now,” Meister says. “If you want to be in your first house for 20 years, that is fine. Many people don’t move much after buying a home.”
“If you would like to move up a few times and live in something in the future that you simply cannot afford right now, strategize with your Realtor about how you can buy a home, build equity and use that equity to end up in a bigger or nicer home in the future.”
“Many people take a short term look at their wants and needs. Those who plan ahead usually move toward that target without taking sideways or even backwards steps.”
Should you hire a Realtor before or after you are pre-approved for a home loan?
“You can hire a Realtor at either time, but a truly professional Realtor will want you pre-qualified (slightly different than pre-approved) for your financing before you go look at houses.”
“Realtors can help in the planning stages too, but should get you in very early in the process to get you pre-qualified. This will avoid a lot of problems in the future. It is important for a buyer to know they are ready to go before looking at houses. It is also important to the seller.
“Think about a few years down the road when you might be selling the house you are now buying. Would you want a series of people walking through your house that have no idea at all if they could even buy it?”
“Maybe the most important consideration for the buyer is, if you found a house you really like, would you like to risk losing it while you are working with a lender on the initial stages of financing and lose the house to a buyer who was already through that part of the process? Getting pre-qualified is simple and extremely important.“
If you are reading this post, it may mean that your are starting the process of buying a home. And while the internet can help peak your interest on a property, it won’t walk you through the entire process.
But a local Relator will.
Take your time and find the one that fits your needs and your personality. One that will listen to what you are looking for most, and do their very best to find you the home of your dreams, while helping you over the bumps in the road along the way.