Looking to buy a home and not sure where to start?
For a first-time home buyer, the thought of making the largest purchase of your lifetime up to this point can be a bit daunting. It can also be daunting for the “seasoned” home buyer. Whether you’re moving from an apartment, parents basement, upgrading to more bedrooms as the family grows, or downsizing, the process is I’m happy to say, is pretty much the same. Having the right guide to navigate the waters is the key.
Talk to an Agent
This is the first step, always, when it comes to real estate. Interviewing and hiring your guide will be the single key factor to getting from dreaming of a new home, to getting the keys to your new home. There are several things to decide when interviewing agents (yes, I recommend interviewing more than one, even if your best friend or sister/brother is an agent).
First: can you jive with them? Do you mesh well? You’ll know right out of the gate when you meet face to face. Is the agent trustworthy, honest, or feel “salesman”-ish. do they have what we jokingly refer to as “commission breath”? You will know after a quick gut check if the agent you’re talking with is the right fit.
Second: Do they have your best interests at heart? Do they ask the right questions to dig deep and help you realize what you’re truly looking for, or do they have a checklist “number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, style”. Determining the top 3-5 things YOU want before the interview will help. Go beyond the cosmetic things. Is it safe? Good schools? Reputable? New or established neighborhoods. Do you like having a tall oak tree in the back yard like you had growing up?
Third: What do they bring to the table? Are you just a transaction (see commission breath and “salesman”)? Or will the relationship last beyond the transaction? For example, if/when your AC goes out, do you feel comfortable calling for a recommendation? Do they have a contractor guide with phone numbers? These little things may seem odd at first, but a real estate agent’s worth goes beyond getting you to sign a contract for a home you’re not 100% happy with so THEY can get paid and put a tick mark on a “leader board”.
Hire the Agent
Before you do anything else, like look for homes or talk to a lender, hire the agent. What does it mean to “hire an agent”? It means to enter into an exclusive contract with them. It’s typically no cost to the buyer to do this and can be terminated at any time for any reason. The agent then works for you, and put them to work. They should be able to find properties (not just those listed that all the other agents and buyers see), help with a lender, and ultimately, guide you through the process step-by-step.
But it’s more than that. They also protect you and your information. You can freely home search or attend open houses without other agents trying to “sell you” (it’s actually illegal for an agent to do that if you have a buyer’s agency contract in place). This allows you to move about on your own without being hassled by a round of 20 questions every time you meet another agent. (if only we had this option when shopping for a new car, right?)
If you are looking to buy a home in the Jefferson City, Missouri area, I would appreciate the opportunity to interview with you to see if we’re a good fit.
Contact me today for a free, no obligation consultation.