So you’ve decided to buy a house. Congratulations! That’s a big deal. Whether it’s your first, your last or somewhere in between, buying a home is an amazing thing that has the power to change your everyday and your financial future.
There are two things you’ll want to do before anything else: find a Realtor, find a lender. Either one can be done first, but both should be done as soon as you begin even thinking about buying a home. I always suggest to begin building your team early on, even if you’re a year out. It doesn’t cost anything and all it can do is help!
Finding a Realtor far in advance will help you to locate the right neighborhood, price point and strategy. A good agent will help you plan for the right timing, and may be able to point out other things that you had not considered (house hacking? Creative financing? Rezoning/Reclassifying?). If you’re selling as well you’ll want them involved early on to get the home ready for market as effectively as possible and plan the transition, but even if you’re only buying, it can pay in spades to get your agent involved as early as possible.
By the way, did I mention the best part? As a home buyer, your agent works for you for free! Of course, nothing in this world is truly free, but the agent is paid from the sellers proceeds at closing, so why not take advantage of that and get your agent involved at the get go?
When it comes to actually choosing your agent, there are four things you want to make sure to look for:
- Responsive: Get an agent who answers your calls. I feel silly even putting this on the list but I’d say the biggest reason my clients left their old agent is because they couldn’t get ahold of them! This doesn’t mean they are a bad agent, they may just be too busy at the moment to effectively take care of you, but you need someone who can handle new clients.
- Professional: Find an agent who shows up ready to get the job done. It’s great and all if a casual relationship is born out of friendship, but first and foremost this is a professional relationship with a lot of money on the line. If they show up in sweats, late, to your first appointment, that should tell you how important your business is to them.
- Knowledgeable: Is Real Estate their full time job? Do they own investment properties? Someone who puts their money where their mouth is will definitely be spending their free time learning everything they can about Real Estate. Also, find an agent with war stories! You want someone on your side who has dealt with and knows how to fix big problems.
- Like-ability: Do you like the guy? This is more important than you might think. Obviously, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them looking at homes and it’d be nice to enjoy that time spent. But equally important, if you like them, other people probably do to and that helps when it comes to negotiating and bringing the parties together. Real Estate is called a relationship business for a reason.
It seems like you can’t walk 100ft without a Realtor chucking a card at you, but unfortunately the barrier to entry into this industry is pretty low so you get a lot of people who don’t take their job very seriously. Find an agent who’s going to work hard for you and who wants to build a long term relationship and you’ll find Real Estate will become surprisingly simple and profitable.
P.S. Click here to find a rockstar agent!