Sure, it can be fun to research home-buying on your own and pop around on popular real estate sites. Using websites to understand general market trends and narrow your search can be an important part of the initial buying process. However, when you take the leap from thinking about buying your first place to starting the process in earnest, the nuanced knowledge and creativity of an experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify and close on the home of your dreams. What most people don't know is that working with a buyer's agent usually costs nothing but it helps you become a successful buyer in four ways:
Working with a Real Estate agent that focuses on buyers is one of the best things you can do for your mental and emotional health while shopping for a home. The buying process can be long and strenuous, and is replete with emotional highs and lows. If you were to try to learn everything there is to know about real estate in order to buy, you would not be a happy camper. By harnessing the education and experience that your agent has, you can relax a bit more. Trust that your agent will train you where needed, but handle any of the more routine stressors or conflicts behind-the-scenes so you don't have to. A good buyer's agent can also help you set expectations and see potential road-blocks well ahead of time so you are hit with as few surprises as possible. They will also be able to preview homes for you, or attend appointments you may not be able to make, allowing you to focus on your own life with more balance.
Market & Pricing Expertise
You should feel comfortable consulting your agent on ideas for identifying the right neighborhood, type of home, and price range for you. In addition to knowing the pricing and market history for an area, they should know the school ratings and public transit options, among other things. A good agent will also share data on previous home sales to help you make the right decision about what to offer on a home.
Possibly the most important step in the buying process is making an offer, and negotiating terms, dates, and price. Understandably, this is what makes most buyers nervous. And for good reason! Most buyers don't know what traditional deposit amounts, timelines, contingencies, and pricing strategies look like. A good buyer's agent is an objective and experienced ally in the negotiating process. They’re trained to present your best case to the selling agent while keeping your best interests in mind, and your information confidential.
From the offer to purchase to the closing papers, the paperwork on a sale can get overwhelming; and most buyers don't even know what paperwork is necessary when. The average real estate file is between one and three inches thick—with many legally binding documents that can greatly impact your finances or legal claim on a property. With the help of a real estate agent, you can trust that your papers are in order and save yourself hours of combing through documents you don't understand. Today's best agent also harness technology to make paperwork a breeze. Agents using programs like dotloop and Docusign have thought deeply about the buyer experience and want to make sure you spend more time doing things important to you, and less time driving to and from an office to sign papers.