HomeBuyer University: Buying a Home, Just Got Easier
Course 1: The Home Buying Process
Step 1: Getting Pre-approved
Hire A Real Estate Agent
As a home buyer, you have the advantage of hiring a real estate agent to provide advice, negotiate terms, find the right home for your needs, and protect your best interests when making an offer on a home. Since aligning yourself with the right agent is so important, you should approach the selection process with care and diligence.
Here are some tips on how to find and select a real estate agent:
- Ask family and friends to refer you to a good agent. Family and friends can be a good source for a referral, because they care about you and the experience you will have during the home buying process. The people close to you have probably worked with an agent at one point or another, and can give you an honest assessment of the agent’s ability and knowledge.
Important: Make sure you ask “why” your friend or family member thinks the agent they are referring is right for you. Their answer should include specifics of the agent’s character, experience, and competence. Merely knowing of an agent or being friends with one through a social setting often isn’t enough assurance that you will get treated the way you deserve.
- Ask your lender to refer you to a good agent. Some lenders have developed relationships with agents across your state, and work together on several mutual clients throughout the year. For example, First World Mortgage works with hundreds of some of the most exceptional real estate agents on an ongoing basis. We can often refer you to several great agents in the area that you are looking to purchase your new home.
- Do your own search via the internet, and interview a few agents. You can approach this like hiring someone for a job by interviewing real estate agents. This gives you a chance to speak with several different agents to determine which one will best meet your needs. The down side to this is how much time it can take to find and interview qualified candidates. (The first two options listed above are more common methods and usually work out best).
Real Estate Agent Duties
Federal law requires that real estate professionals carry out certain duties to their clients after they formalize an agency relationship. Merely meeting with an agent does not automatically mean that person represents you. Generally, there will be documentation outlining the agency, duties of the agent, and your duties. Below is information on the importance of getting representation from real estate agents.
Agents must maintain confidentiality of client information. They must not reveal information about your financial or personal affairs, or your goals unless authorized by their clients. The real estate agent’s responsibility to keep your affairs confidential extends past closing on your home or contracts.
Real estate professionals have a reasonable amount of knowledge of real estate topics and on the real estate process, but they do not have expertise in all real estate related fields (such as legal issues or home financing). For information outside of their knowledge base, they must direct clients to the proper experts.
Adhering to Client’s Wishes
As long as clients’ instructions do not break any laws, real estate agents must follow their client’s instructions. For instance, you instruct your real estate agent to submit a low offer, and your agent feels it’s too low. Even though your agent disagrees with the offer, he or she must still present that offer to the seller.
Your Real Estate Agent must follow the transfer of any money pertaining to a real estate transaction. This refers to earnest monies given and the return of such funds when necessary.
Your Real Estate Agent will retain the best interests of their clients above all other individuals, including themselves.
Real Estate Agents will complete responsibilities and comply with client requests in a reasonable time frame. This can be critical when multiple offers are present. It is also important after a contract is in place with specific deadlines.
Disclosing all material facts about a property is required by all agents. This includes any information that can affect how parties make decision and negotiate terms or purchase price.
In addition to the before mentioned items, real estate agents play a crucial role liaising between the buyer and seller. Buying or selling a home is an exciting time, however, it can be stressful and complex. That’s why having the guidance of an individual who recognizes your best interests, but who is emotionally detached, can lead to desirable conclusions.