Buying a home is often the most significant investment a person will make in their lifetime. It’s a complex process that requires thorough research, meticulous planning, and importantly, a good real estate agent.
Just imagine it… your real estate agent sells you on your dream home, they hand you over the keys, you walk into your future — and then a week later the cracks begin to show. Real estate agents are typically honest, but may not always tell you the bad news upfront when they’re trying to sell. Therefore, it’s crucial you are asking the right questions and knowing exactly what your agent should be telling you.
The Importance of Pre-Approval
The first thing your agent should tell you is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start home shopping. This will help you know how much you can afford and ensure that you don’t waste time looking at homes that are out of your budget range.
Home Inspections are Crucial
Your agent should emphasize the importance of a professional home inspection. Even if a house looks perfect on the surface, there could be hidden issues that only a professional inspector can uncover. This could include structural problems, faulty wiring or water damage.
The Real Cost of Homeownership
A good real estate agent will be honest about the real costs of homeownership. This includes not only the mortgage payments but also property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and potential homeowner’s association fees. These additional costs can add significantly to your monthly expenses, so it’s crucial to factor them into your budget.
“Location, location, location” is more than just a real estate cliché. The location of a property can significantly impact its value — and your quality of life. Good agents will provide insights about the neighborhood, including amenities, schools, and future development plans.
Market Trends and Timing
Understanding market trends can save you thousands of dollars. Your agent should help you understand whether it’s a buyer’s or a seller’s market and the implications of each. While it’s almost impossible to time the market perfectly, understanding these trends can help you make an informed decision.
Negotiations Are Part of the Process
Your agent should inform you that negotiation is part of the home buying process. Whether it’s the selling price, closing costs, or contingencies, you should expect to negotiate. Having an agent who is a skilled negotiator can make this process smoother and more successful.
The Long-term Perspective
Your agent should advise you to think about the long-term prospects of the house you’re considering. Is it a house that can grow with your family? Can it be easily resold if your circumstances change? These are important questions to consider before making a purchase.
The Final Walkthrough Is Important
Finally, your agent should stress the importance of the final walkthrough. This is your last chance to make sure that everything is in the agreed-upon condition before the property legally becomes yours. Any issues discovered during the final walkthrough can be addressed before the final settlement.
Buying a home is both an exciting and daunting process. A good real estate agent should be open, transparent, and guide you every step of the way, ensuring that you’re fully informed about these crucial aspects of home buying. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to making such a significant investment.
The article above was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates’ editorial team.
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