Working with a Realtor


It’s important to educate yourself and shop wisely when financing a home. Even a small difference in points, fees, payment type, or down payment requirements, can add up to thousands of dollars, affecting your monthly payment or ability to finance.

Some lenders have different names for their fees, and might even waive one fee while adding another. Meeting with a loan officer can help you compare your options and understand your choices to ensure you select the right mortgage for your needs.

Buying a home requires quite a bit of research. To choose the right home for your family, you’ll want to explore communities, amenities, home styles, floor plans, builders, and financing options. Some home buyers prefer to do all the legwork themselves. Others prefer to work with Realtors. (A Realtor is a real estate broker or an associate who holds an active membership in a local real estate board that is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.)

A Realtor can be helpful to a home buyer who is interested in a custom-built home if the Realtor understands the custom home building process and knows what differentiates one builder from the other. Knowledgeable Realtors can advise their clients about builders who are known for quality construction (what’s behind the walls as well as what’s visible in the finished home), good customer service, and attention to detail. A knowledgeable Realtor understands what’s necessary to make the building process a success for everyone involved.

Whether you get a Realtor through a referral or find one yourself, it’s important to ask each other questions to make sure you and the real estate professional are the right “fit”. This will help set expectations about the level of service the Realtor will provide as you progress through the home buying transaction.

An experienced Realtor will identify a client’s needs and make the research process more efficient by asking targeted questions and narrowing the client’s focus. The time spent answering your Realtor’s questions up front and establishing priorities can save days or weeks of searching. Imagine how confusing and time-consuming it would be to drive from one home to another without knowing what you wanted or what you were looking for.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a Realtor:

  • How many years of experience does the Realtor have?
  • What is the Realtor’s specialization? (e.g., neighborhoods, homes in a certain price range, etc.)
  • How knowledgeable is the Realtor about new-home construction?
  • How many homes does the Realtor sell a year?
  • Does the Realtor have an assistant?
  • Is the Realtor part of a Realtor team?
  • Is the Realtor in business full-time or part-time?
  • Does the Realtor run his or her business in a professional manner?
  • Do materials and printed information provided by the Realtor look professional and current?
  • Is the Realtor willing to develop a home search game plan with you?

In the past, a Realtor represented only the seller. Today, a buyer’s agent can access market conditions and educate consumers about the area in which they are interested. In addition, a buyer’s agent can research and advise about issues that may impact the property and help negotiate the price.

A Realtor can provide additional services, such as:

  • Determining your buying power
  • Finding properties that are not actively advertised in the market
  • Providing current information about the marketplace, pricing, and the condition of competing properties
  • Helping to choose a builder
  • Providing community information about utilities, zoning, and schools
  • Negotiating on your behalf
  • Providing names of movers, interior designers, decorators, and other service providers.

Realtors work at their own risk. You don’t typically pay for any services up front and agents are paid when you close on the home. That means you and the seller have no out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, it’s in your agent’s best interest to work quickly, diligently, and to use all available resources to help you meet your goals. Please note though that some buyers’ agents are paid by the buyer.

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