Congratulations! You’re about to embark on one of the largest financial decisions in your life as you purchase your first home. And with experts predicting rent prices only increasing, not to mention the fact that current mortgage rates are a scant 3.5 percent, affording a home has never been easier on your wallet.
And here to give you the lowdown on the whole process, comes a series of blogs designed to help you successfully maneuver through your first home buying experience.
First up on your checklist is finding the right Realtor for you–because, after all, your Realtor is your biggest ally, your confidant, and your self-appointed BFF for the next six to nine months. In other words, choose carefully.
Why you need a Realtor
This isn’t your parent’s housing market, and thanks to the vast amount of information available to you via the internet, you can search for your first home while simultaneously binge watching your favorite show on Netfilx. So why even use a Realtor to help you purchase a home?
The answer to that question is simple. A Realtor is your trusted advisor, your advocate and your expert. You’re going to be navigating unchartered waters as you purchase your first home, and a Realtor can walk you through the process step-by-step. They will help reduce any risk you face, help carry the load by setting up inspections and recommending experts, and will help if the process goes off course.
Not to mention the fact that Realtors have access to listings before they hit the internet, giving you the inside scoop on homes ahead of everyone else. And when it comes time to close on your first home, your Realtor–who’s certainly no stranger to the negotiation process–will work hard to get the best terms to meet your needs.
How to find a Realtor
Ask your friends
If your friends just bought a house ask them who their Realtor was. But don’t stop once you get a name, ask if they were satisfied with their Realtor and whether or not they’d recommend them to others.
Once you have that recommendation, google the Realtor and do some more homework. Read reviews. Check out their website and bio. See what their social media profiles tell you.
If you’re searching for real estate online and come across a home you’re interested in, check to see who the listing agent is. Peruse their website, read online reviews and give ‘em a call if you like what you see.
Social media can be a great way to find your next Realtor. Use hashtags to search for a #realtor in a #specific location.
The interview process
Next on your to do list is to conduct interviews with the top Realtor on your list. Don’t sweat though—it’s you that’s going to be asking the tough questions.
- What’s your background?
Break the ice with an easy, get-to-know-you type question. The idea is to have a relaxed conversation in which you can learn about the person (in other words: does their personality mesh well with yours) who’ll be assisting as you buy your first home.
- Do you text?
AKA, what’s your communication style? This is a really, really important question. Ample communication is the key to any successful relationship, and your relationship with your Realtor is no exception. Case in point, if your preferred method of communicating is through text and your Realtor says they prefer to call, this may not be a perfect match.
Now this last one isn’t so much a question as it is a plea for assistance. You’re a newbie to this whole homeownership thing and you need to know the Realtor you choose has the expertise to help a first-timer, such as yourself. Don’t be shy here, ask for what you need (you’re looking for a guide, a resource book, survival tips, etc.).
The road to owning your own place can sometimes be bumpy. Make sure the Realtor you choose is someone you can trust, someone you feel comfortable with and someone you’re confident in. If you find someone that meets that criteria, you’re home free. If the first interview doesn’t make you feel comfortable and confident, then interview another Realtor until you find the right match.
Next up, we’ll talk about everyone’s favorite topic–budget. Tune in next month to learn about how much house you can afford.