Here's a list of several topics you should most definitely discuss with your buyers agent before you start house hunting!
When you’re ready to buy a home, it will probably be one of the biggest investments of your life. It’s a huge decision. In fact, it’s life changing. It’s also very exciting. You will probably start browsing online when the idea to buy first pops up. You will probably even sign up for Zillow updates in the towns you really see yourself settling down in. But when the time comes to get serious, you will suddenly start to feel overwhelmed with all of the options, real estate lingo and paperwork involved.
When you’re really ready to take the plunge, find yourself a buyers agent who can assist you. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, make sure you have an expert to assist you to help you navigate the process. Most buyers agents will, and should, offer to sit down with you for an initial consultation to explain the process of buying a home in detail. Here’s some of the things you want to make sure your agent is up to speed on.
Most buyers have no idea how much time and effort goes into finding the right home. It’s very rare, and highly unlikely, anyone will walk into one home and say “Ok-this is it.” Not only do you need to first find your dream home, but then comes the negotiating part of the contract, attorney review, inspections and repairs, financing, closing documents, plus managing the logistics of packing and moving, etc, etc, etc…..
You should always ask your buyers agent how they plan to represent you and to explain how they will support you throughout the entire process. Not all buyer’s agents are created equal! A good buyers agent will be in constant contact with you, your attorney, your lender, the sellers agent etc. Most importantly in my book, they will not only have your back but hold your hand through the entire process.
Your wants and needs.
If you’re ready to hit the pavement, then it’s time to discuss exactly what you want in a home with your buyers agent. Think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need, your style preference, outdoor features that are important such as a flat yard as opposed to a hill, a busy road or private neighborhood, garage options and don’t forget about your commuting needs.
I always tell my clients to come up with their top ten 'really want' list and compare that to their 'needs list' then our goal is to check off as many boxes as possible. You may really want a fireplace, but will that be a deal breaker for you if you find a home with everything else you want and need, except the fireplace? Sometimes you are forced to make some trade-offs.
Current market conditions.
Every real estate market is different and unique. Your buyer’s agent can share specific details about the current inventory and availability in your desired locations, absorption rates and many other factors so you’ll have a better understanding of your buying power and what you can get for your dollar.
An agent with a close relationship to a few good lenders will not only help you get the right financing, but also help to keep you abreast of current mortgage financing rates. You will most certainly want to be pre-approved by a lender before beginning your house-hunt too.
Other real estate agents.
Once you’ve met your real estate match, it’s important to disclose this to other agents you may encounter during your search. For example, if you drop into an open house, write down your buyer agents name, along with yours, when you sign in. This way when other agents want feedback, they will contact your buyers rep rather than bothering you. This also helps other agents respect your relationship with your buyer’s agent.
Also, be sure to share your thoughts on properties you view with your buyers agent only. Try to refrain from expressing how much you love (or hate) a home while touring properties. You never want to hurt your negotiating power.
Everyone deserves to get paid for the services they provide, right? That includes your buyer’s agent. I like to say working with a buyers agent is free for the buyer- which is kind of true. In NJ the seller in the transaction pays for both the buyers agent and the listing agents commission.
The majority of real estate professionals work strictly on a commission basis which is only received at the end of the real estate transaction. (Commissions are typically split among several parties, but paid through the selling agents brokerage, using the seller’s proceeds on the sale.) I always recommend talking to your buyer’s agent about this if it's confusing to you.
Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to buying your dream home!
If you're ready to start house-hunting, reach out to us at Your Dream Home NJ anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to set up a buyers consultation for you.