Buying a home is certainly one of the most rewarding experiences any of us will ever have. It's also one of the most challenging. If you're buying 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.
That’s why we recommend that you find an agent affiliated with Coldwell Banker who’s an expert in your area. One clear advantage for doing so is that you don't have to "go it alone." A good agent has the training, the know-how, and the experience to help you through each step of the process, and make the process of finding, buying and moving into your new home as smooth, quick and enjoyable as possible.
Another advantage is that an agent represents a valuable source of information about market trends, communities and neighborhoods, and especially, homes for sale throughout 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.
An agent offers you market expertise augmented by access to complete, regularly updated information about every home listed by area agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). As you'll see in the following questions, professional expertise and services can be of considerable help throughout the buying process.
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 also have more choices when it comes to choosing the agent that can best represent them in a real estate transaction. Until recent years, virtually all real estate agents involved in a given transaction worked for the seller.
However, a growing number of today's home buyers are choosing to be represented by a "buyer's agent." In contrast to traditional agents, a buyer's agent represents the buyer in the real estate transaction.
Most real estate companies throughout the United States have both a buyer and seller agency. You should be presented with a disclosure statement by an agent before any working relationship between the two of you is created. That statement should explain 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 that can vary, so disclosure laws also may vary.
We suggest you talk to several different agents before choosing one. We've included a few guidelines about the kind of experience and service capabilities you should be looking for.
- Above all, look for someone who makes you feel comfortable. Choose an agent who:
- Knows the community and can point out the schools, parks, playgrounds, shops, and more.
- Can show you more of the homes available throughout the area.
- Subscribes to at least one Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This means you'll have access to information on approximating 90% of all homes for sale in the community.
- 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.
- Can offer you protection against unexpected repair bills in your new home.
- Can offer you warranty protection on your new home.
- 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 begun looking at homes, tell the agent everything you liked and didn't like about each home you see. Don't be shy about talking about a home's shortcomings. Is the home too small for your needs? Let the agent know. Was the home perfect except for the carpeting? Let the agent know.
However, remember that the real estate agent is frequently paid by the seller. The seller's agent is obligated to help secure the best price for the seller. In addition, agents working for the seller may also report any confidences you share to the seller—including a willingness to pay a higher price should the seller not accept your initial offer(s). This is why you may want to be represented by a buyer's agent because he/she will keep your input confidential. A buyer's agent puts the interests of the buyer—not the seller—first.