This fall has seen the housing market slow down in many parts of the country, challenging both buyers and sellers. For buyers, higher interest rates combined with the home prices that have risen in the past several years mean that the right home still may be out of reach. And sellers who have seen their neighbors sell their homes in hours with multiple offers must now adjust to the fact of a slower market.
When the housing market becomes difficult, who you choose to represent you is more important.
Are you planning to buy a home? Many buyers will work with the first REALTOR® they meet, but this can be a mistake. You’ll want to look for the following characteristics in any REALTOR®, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer or if it’s been a few years since your last home purchase.
- Experience and Process
The first step in finding a REALTOR® is to ask about their experience representing buyers. Do they typically represent buyers, sellers, or both? How often do they show properties?
How does the REALTOR® work to educate you, the homebuyer. For instance, does the REALTOR® have a firm knowledge of the steps to purchase a home, and the times where deals can go well or can go sideways?
In addition, if you have a tight timeline to be in a house, how will the REALTOR® go about finding potential homes for you to view?
Finally, how does your REALTOR® communicate with you throughout the process? How well will they be able to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks?
- Knowledge of Houses and Areas
Many buyers understand that their REALTOR® should understand the various areas. Depending on the size of the metro in which you live, there may be multiple counties, cities, and school districts, each with their nuances. Is your REALTOR® familiar with the preferred areas in which you want to look, and will they be able to suggest other neighborhoods that may fit your needs? One thing to keep in mind here: REALTOR®s are not allowed to advise on whether a neighborhood is a “safe” neighborhood, due to fair housing laws. Your REALTOR® should be able to provide resources for you to do additional research.
However, buyers may not realize that the right buyer’s agent will also know about houses and what issues they may have, based on when and where they were built. For instance, here in Des Moines, any house built before 1930 may have knob and tube wiring. While you’re checking the house to see if you like the floor plan and finishes, your REALTOR® should be looking for potential costly issues and advise you accordingly.
You may have mortgage lenders, inspectors, and other vendors that you already know. But if not, does your REALTOR® have connections to service providers to give you? Experienced REALTOR®s know which lenders and other partners in your purchase are likely to provide the best service, and should be able to give you a list of options throughout the process.
- Contractual Knowledge and Negotiating Ability
How well does your REALTOR® know the purchase agreements, inspection addendums, and other legal documents relating to the purchase of a home? These are legal documents that once signed, are binding. Will your REALTOR® take the time to explain every applicable clause?
In addition, is your REALTOR® able to think outside the box to ensure that every party to a purchase gets what they need? And even more importantly, will your REALTOR® ensure you are protected throughout the purchase process as much as possible?
Once you have your preferred REALTOR® identified, then you can get to work to purchase your home. It’s vital that you trust your REALTOR® and feel that you can ask questions, propound scenarios, and more, throughout the process.
If you have a REALTOR®, great! We all love working with competent REALTOR®s throughout the transaction, and wish you the best. However, if you’re still looking, we’d be happy to help. Just reach out! Helping clients with their housing needs is our favorite thing!
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Home Sweet Des Moines – Realty ONE Group Impact