Choosing your agent
Many buyers start out by attending open houses. This is an excellent way to get a feel for the market and to meet a few agents. However, you should never feel pressured to accept just anyone, and you are not obligated to work with the first person you meet.
When talking to an agent*, be sure he or she listens to you and asks questions clearly directed toward understanding your needs and concerns. Your agent should impress you as a dedicated and skilled professional. Because you will be partners in the home-buying process, your agent should be happy to answer questions about agency relationships and buyer representation.
Be sure that your agent explains the standard forms and gives you an Agency Disclosure form to sign. This is consumer information that describes who works for whom. It is required by state law. Liz and Ellie are happy to explain the form and answer any questions you may have.
Determining your price range
In order to find what amount of money is reasonable for you to spend on a house, it is important to:
know your credit score
determine what you can realistically afford; and
get pre-approved before you get too far in your search.
If you aren’t paying for the entire home in cash, you will need to contact a local bank or mortgage lender and ask for a pre-approval letter. This is one of the most important steps in home buying. A pre-approval outlines how much money you’ll be able to borrow in order to buy a home.
Most home buyers have a rough idea of how much they would feel comfortable paying every month on their mortgage. Try this basic mortgage calculator to get a sense of what your monthly mortgage costs might look like. However, there’s no quick-and-easy way to pinpoint that monthly payment because of other factors — down payment percentage, mortgage insurance, property taxes, adjustable interest rates and so on — which are part of the calculation.
Shopping for your home
Once you connect with the right agent and have your pre-approval in hand, it’s time to get serious about finding your new home. We tell all of our buying clients the following:
There is no standard amount of time to spend searching. Some buyers find their home right away while others need more time to feel comfortable with the market.
Regardless of your price range, buying real estate always requires compromise. Some buyers put a premium on space while others may prioritize being near public transportation. Our job is to help fine-tune your wish list by listening carefully, asking the right questions, and showing you what’s really out there.
Liz & Ellie Local is part of the Compass family, which uses cutting edge technology to help you find your home. Click here to learn more about Collections from Compass and then contact us to get started.
*Not all agents or brokers are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of their local, State and National Associations of Realtors. They are committed professionals who agree to conduct their practice under the National Association of Realtors code of ethics.