I made the mistake of spending hours and hours looking at houses using listing sites. It was incredibly time consuming, the pictures are usually deceiving, and half the houses are not even on the market! If you are ready to find your dream house, stop looking at pictures, and take action. The best way to find your house is to visit houses so you can evaluate the quality of the house and the neighborhood. The only way to see a house is to find a real estate agent that can guide you through the process: a real estate agent is the key to a successful home purchase. Here are some tips I learned along the way:
Meet your agent in person.
The best place to meet your agent is at open houses, a lender office or online on the national Realtor association site (www.realtor.com). Be careful – some agents will represent the seller, working for their best interests. You need to talk to several agents before you choose. Get to know your agent and interview them. Ask them how many properties they have closed within a year and how long they have been in the real-estate business, and question them about the home-buying process. You can learn a lot from them. Buying a house is a huge investment, and you want to make sure you feel comfortable and have a knowledgeable agent guiding you through the process. Remember to not sign any agreement until you are comfortable with the agent representing you.
Ensure the real estate agent is familiar with the area where you wish to buy.
It is important for the agent to know the area where you wish to buy your home. I once met with an agent who had no knowledge of the neighborhood where I wanted to live. The agent recommended communities that were too far from my work and was trying to sell me on properties I was not interested in. You want a local agent that has done closing around the area. You also want an agent that is familiar with the school districts, crime rate and traffic patterns of that particular area. You want an agent whom you trust and who will guide you through areas according to your needs.
Hire a wise agent.
It is important for your agent to understand the market and be able to explain the market jargon. You don’t want to waste all your time looking up definitions. The agent should be able to explain in plain English what is talked about during a negotiation and be able to guide you through the paperwork process.
Make sure the agent is always looking out for your best interest.
Make sure the agent has your back. The entire job of the agent is to represent you as the buyer in the transaction. In other words, the agent is going to make sure you get the best deal and will look out for your best interest during the negotiations. By such reason, you should be able to trust your agent and feel confident about telling them what house you want and how much you want to spend.
Ultimately, you want to find a person that has the knowledge and experience to guide you through buying a house. Your agent will make the process go smoothly and you will start hunting for houses according to the checklist you created earlier (http://powermylifetx.com/the-dream-house-check-list/). The right real estate agent will help you find your dream house.
I hope the information above provides some insight into home-buying. My intention is to describe my experiences about home-buying, life and, every now and then, geeky engineer experiences. If you have questions or topic suggestions, feel free to add in the comments.