One of the most important things to consider when buying a home (besides your budget and location) is the real estate agent you’ll be working with. But how soon is too soon to engage with a real estate agent? There are a few things to consider.
Do You Have a Pre-Approval Letter?
Many traditional real estate agents won’t book a client unless the client has a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. The pre-approval letter will state the approximate amount that the mortgage lender is willing to loan for a house. For many homebuyers, this can help them set their budget, and help the buyer and their agent narrow down homes within the buyer’s price range. Flyhomes doesn’t require a pre-approval letter before meeting with us, but we recommend meeting with a mortgage loan agent early on for budget certainty.
Are You a First-Time Homebuyer?
First-time homebuyers may do well to speak to an agent early on in the homebuying process. A real estate agent can help you find first-time homebuyer incentives and loans in your area and can help you apply for additional funding from the federal government. These financial incentives can reduce the amount of money you’ll need to borrow from a traditional mortgage lender.
Plus, for first-time homebuyers, a great real estate agent will answer all your questions (even the silly ones) and they’ll help you with the questions you don’t know you need to ask.
Finally, your real estate agent may be able to help you find reputable home inspectors, moving companies, and cleaning and landscaping companies.
Do Your Own Research
You may be surprised how much information is available online about homes in your area. The school districts, purchase prices, property tax rates, and virtual tours are just a few of the online resources that are available to buyers. You may wish to research certain neighborhoods and houses listed in them before contacting a real estate agent.
Each state is different when it comes to regulations surrounding buying and selling real estate. Some areas may require a real estate lawyer and you need to make sure you’re compliant.
How to Pick the Right Real Estate Agent
There are likely dozens of real estate agents in your community, and if you’re like most busy people, it can be daunting to narrow down the selection. Consider referrals from friends or family, or look online for webinars that can help you with the agent selection process.
You don’t need to stick with the first agent you speak with, either. Look at their websites, and make appointments to talk to agents that you like. A good agent will take the time for a brief interview before you sign a contract, so take your time and don’t feel pressured – after all, the agent is working for you.
Finally, before you sign an agreement with a real estate agent, be sure this is the person you want to work with. Many buyer contracts require you to stick with the agent for a certain period of time (typically 90 days to 6 months) before you can book a new agent.
Whether you’re just taking the first steps towards buying your first home or you’re ready to make an offer, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the right time to choose a real estate agent. Look for someone knowledgeable about your market who understands your needs as a homeowner.
At Flyhomes, we’re different from a traditional real estate agent, and when you’re ready to get started, we’re ready to walk beside you every step of the way!