Using a real estate agent

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists buyers and sellers of real property. A good real estate agent can help buyers in several ways. Note that there is a difference between a buyer’s agent and the agent who lists the home you buy. It’s important to know who an agent represents, and this distinction is
very important.

Real estate agent vs REALTOR®

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists real estate buyers and sellers. His or her qualifications vary by state. The licenses of the real estate agents are overseen and monitored by the Department of Real Estate. A REALTOR® is simply a licensed agent who is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS, or NAR. The association does have a code of ethics that its members are expected to uphold, and it does make additional education available to its members (but does not require it).

Before calling a real estate agent

First, you have to do the less-fun work. Check out your finances, determine a payment and price that you can live with, and get pre-qualified or (better) pre-approved for your home loan. Home sellers will take your offers more seriously, and you won’t put yourself and everyone else involved through hell trying to buy a house you can’t afford.

Next, you choose an agent, based on his or her experience, good reviews, personal referrals, and a quick background check with the state Department of Real Estate. Do this before your mind gets clouded by cookies and condos.

Buyer’s agents versus listing agents

Going out unprepared can cost you. If you show up at an open house without representation, and then decide to buy that property, the agent involved represents
the seller. Not you.

And there is no way that your interests and the seller’s interest will be the same. You want the house for the least amount you can pay. The seller wants to get the most you can pay. And the real estate agent’s commission increases with every dollar you pay. So whose interests are not being protected here?

Get your own agent. Before you start your search.

Find a neighborhood specialist

One reason for getting a mortgage pre-qualification or pre-approval first is that it helps you narrow down the neighborhoods you can afford and want to see. Then find an expert who can help you spot the true bargains in your chosen location. This person may be aware of properties that have not yet “officially” hit the market and may not be found on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Or he or she may have “pocket listings,” which the sellers prefer to keep private because they don’t want everyone to know they are selling or moving.

Using a real estate to negotiate your deal

Your buyer’s agent should be skilled at negotiating your best deal. Understand that in a seller’s market, your best deal may even exceed the asking price. “Best” is not necessarily the lowest price, either. Especially if you need some concessions like seller- paid closing costs, a longer escrow, or you’d like them to throw in the snowblower.


.A real estate transaction requires a fair amount of paperwork. In addition to the initial offer, you’ll probably deal with counter-offers, addendums, lists of known problems with the property, and getting estimates for improvements you’d like to make.

Should I get prequalified for a mortgage?

It’s a good idea to get prequalified early in the home buying process. If you’re just starting to think about buying or house hunting, prequalification is a simple process that will tell you how much you can afford and help you set a price range. Prequalification doesn’t guarantee your mortgage approval. But it’s a useful tool
when you’re just starting out as a home buyer. And, since the process is pared-down, you can usually get prequalified easily and quickly online.

What is mortgage prequalification?

Prequalification is an initial step in the home buying process that helps you understand your budget and mortgage options. To get prequalified, you generally
connect with a lender, answer a few questions about your finances, and receive an estimate of the interest rate and loan amount you’re likely to qualify for. This gives you a realistic budget for house hunting.

How do I prequalify for a mortgage?

The mortgage prequalification process is relatively simple and quick. Online pre- qualification forms will ask questions related to your income, the amount of your
down payment, and your existing debts. Keep in mind, the loan amount and rate you’re quoted are not guaranteed until you provide full documentation and go through the lender’s underwriting process. Your prequalified mortgage amount is only an estimate.

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