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Buying a home is one of the most rewarding experiences any of us will ever have. It can also be one of the most challenging. Professional expertise and services can be a big help throughout the buying process.

If you're buying a home for the first time, the process may seem overwhelming. And even if you've been through it several times, every move is different, and presents new challenges. This is why we recommend finding an agent affiliated with Coldwell Banker who’s an expert in your area.

One clear advantage is that you don't have to go it alone. A good agent has the training, knowledge and experience to help you through each step of the process. This makes the process of finding, buying and moving into your new home as smooth, quick and enjoyable as possible.

Another advantage is that an agent is a valuable source of information about market trends, communities and neighborhoods, particularly regarding homes for sale in the area. Remember, not every home seller runs an ad in the local paper or puts a sign up in the yard. In fact, many homes actually sell before there is ever a need to advertise them.

In addition to market insight, your agent can provide access to complete, regularly updated information about every home listed by area agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Finding the right agent

The key word here is “right.” While there's certainly no shortage of qualified agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker to choose from, it's important that you find one who can fully understand your wants, needs and individual tastes, and whose personal and professional judgment you respect.

Today's buyers have more options when it comes to choosing the agent who can best represent them in a real estate transaction. Until recent years, virtually all real estate agents worked for the seller. Now, a growing number of buyers work are represented by a “buyer's agent.” Most real estate companies throughout the U.S. have both a buyer and seller agency.

Before establishing a working relationship, the agent should present you with a disclosure statement. This explains what a buyer's agent is and does, what a seller's agent is and does, and what “dual agency” means. It is very important to remember that real estate firms are governed by state laws. These can vary, so disclosure laws may also vary.

We suggest talking to several different agents before choosing one. Below are some guidelines on what to look for.

Choose an agent who:

  1. Makes you feel comfortable.
  2. Knows the community and can point out schools, parks, playgrounds, shops and more.
  3. Can show you more of the homes available throughout the area.
  4. Subscribes to at least one Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This will give you access to information on approximately 90% of all homes for sale in the community.
  5. Has the products, services, and know-how to find the home right for you and market your present home for a faster, more profitable sale.
  6. Can offer you protection against unexpected repair bills in your new home.
  7. Can offer you warranty protection on your new home.
  8. Listens to your needs and responds as a friend, showing as much interest in your satisfaction as in making the transaction.

Once you’ve chosen an agent and started looking at homes, tell the agent everything you liked and didn't like about each home. Point out the home's shortcomings: Is it too small for your needs? Was the home perfect except for the carpeting? Details like this will help your agent narrow down the search.

Bear in mind, however, that real estate agents are frequently paid by the seller. The seller's agent is obligated to help secure the best price for them. In addition, agents working for the seller may report any information you share with them to the seller, such as a willingness to pay a higher price. This is why you may want to be represented by a buyer's agent, who will keep your input confidential. A buyer's agent puts the interests of the buyer first, not the seller’s.

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