Working with a real estate agent
When you first decide to buy a house your efforts are often pretty broad – hours combing through real estate websites, dashing around open homes every weekend, and reading everything you can find about the property market. You’ve got a feel for what’s out there and now it’s time to enlist the help of a real estate agent to focus the search for your home.
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Find an agent who knows the area
You might be referred to an agent from another home buyer, or meet them through an open home. Or you can ask us – we usually have good contacts in the area you want to buy. A real estate agent can save you a lot of time in your hunt for the perfect home, but there are some things you should know about building a good working relationship.
Communicate clearly with your agent
Always communicate clearly and concisely with your agent, and make sure you respect their time – book appointments in advance rather than just dropping in. Allow them to make proper arrangements to show you properties and they’ll be more likely to want to work with you.
Visit their open homes
Ask to go on their email database and they will send you their new listings as they come up. Visit any open homes that fit your criteria. Arrange some viewings outside of scheduled open homes – you get more one-to-one time and advice, and the agent will get the chance to talk with you in detail about what you’re looking for. A good relationship can even get you access to new properties before they’re listed.
Tell the agent what you want
Be clear about what you’re looking for in a home – a list of “must-haves” saves everyone time. Be open about what you can afford and what you would like to have. An agent can help you be realistic about what is available within your budget. When viewing a house give the agent honest feedback on what features you like and what you hate. The more information they have, the easier it will be for them to pinpoint a suitable home for you.
…But stay smart
At the end of the day, the agent is working for the seller, not for you. They want to sell you a house, because it’s at the sale that they make their money. Always do your due diligence on any house you’re looking to buy, and make sure you are firm about your price limit. Confiding that you might be able to spend another $10,000 on something you love will likely end up with you paying that extra amount.