Finding a Good Local Real Estate Agent
Searching for your dream home can be a very exciting experience. A realtor or real estate agent can help you tremendously with your home search. They can supply you with current home listings, neighborhood and school data, as well as comparable home sales so you can make the best offer when you find a place to call your own.
In a real estate sale, there are typically two realtors involved, a listing agent and a buyerâ€™s agent. The listing agent is hired by the seller of the property to list and market the home for top sales price. A realtor will list the home in the Multiple Listing Service or MLS for short. The MLS is a database used by all realtors that contains all of the relevant information about current homes on the market.
When you have a buyerâ€™s agent working for you, they will sit down with you and do their best to narrow down all of the features you are looking for in a home. Then they will supply you with a list of all the homes in your area of interest that meet your criteria. The best part is that even though they are working for you, they are paid out of the sellerâ€™s proceeds in the sale. So, essentially, the seller pays them to get you a better deal…Good Stuff!
This can be a huge help in the home buying process because a good local buyers agent will be familiar with the area you’re interested in. Make sure you find an agent that is very familiar and in close proximity to your buying area. Having a local buyers agent can really help you understand the housing market as well as what you should offer.
The buyerâ€™s agent will also handle the paperwork associated with purchasing a home. This includes the purchase agreement as well as other disclosures which can be both cumbersome and confusing to a home purchaser. So, as a buyer, you want to find a good local buyers agent to assist you with the process.
Some buyers, for one reason or another, prefer to find homes on their own without the assistance of a realtor. This is totally fine but when you find a home that interests you, you will more than likely have to contact a realtor to get access to inspect the property.
If you call the listing agent to view the property, you will not be represented in the transaction because the listing agent was hired by the seller to get them the highest and best price for their home. They will get double commission and will be negotiating for the seller, not you. So it’s definitely a good idea to find a good buyerâ€™s agent prior to viewing a home.
If you would like to begin searching for homes on your own, you can go to your favorite search engine and type in “homes for sale in (your desired city)” and you’ll be supplied with several websites that allow you to search for homes.
These include popular websites like Zillow.com and Homes.com, which allow you to search their online directories for a home with the criteria you’re searching for. It works kind of like sitting down with a buyers agent except the buyers agent is a robot that can’t answer questions.
Also, the data supplied by these websites is often out of date and several of the homes they have listed for sale will already be under contract or sold. It often takes quite some time to find the right house, so it’s really discouraging to fall in love with a house that has already been sold.
Websites For Government Foreclosures
There are some good government foreclosure websites that have updated foreclosed home listings. These sites include Hud.gov, where you can search for local FHA foreclosures, as well as Homepath.com, where you can find local Fannie Mae foreclosures. These sites will offer you a decent amount of information on the properties listed but you will still need to contact a realtor if you want to view the property.
Buying a government foreclosed home, or any foreclosure for that matter, can be a great investment. But, there are some potential issues with financing foreclosed properties and we’ll cover those in Step 4.
For Sale By Owner Properties
Occasionally, you may have the option to purchase a home directly from the owner without involving realtors at all. This is called a For Sale by Owner or FSBO for short. These transactions are less and less common and usually happen between family members or friends.
With a FSBO transaction, the buyer will be responsible for completing the buyers end of the purchase agreement. We help all of our borrowers structure their purchase agreement to make sure they get the most out of the transaction whether itâ€™s a FSBO or realtor transaction. The seller usually finds a title company to complete most of their paperwork and we work collaboratively to complete the transaction.
The main reason a seller would choose to sell the home as a FSBO instead of hiring a realtor is they don’t want to pay 6% in realtor commissions. This is important to remember when negotiating the sales price. Reason being is you can sometimes get a better deal on a FSBO because they are saving 6% of the sales price by not having realtors involved.
I hope you can see the relevance of having a buyerâ€™s agent after reading this lesson. Finding a good local buyers agent is similar to the process of finding a good mortgage broker. You still need to do some due diligence using the internet with the local review directories and the BBB. And, just like with mortgage brokers, you want to make sure to work with someone you like and trust.
As mentioned earlier, in “Step 4” we’re going to cover buying a foreclosed home as well as a short sale and also common appraisal issues that can screw up a purchase.
If you’re having problems finding a good local buyers agent or, if you have any questions, contact Michigan Mortgage Solutions at the office at (248) 674-6450.
Otherwise, if youâ€™d like, you can learn more about the mortgage process and other pitfalls to avoid by reviewing the content Iâ€™ve created below. I hope you find this information useful and remember you can always call us if you have any questions or if youâ€™re ready to get pre-approved and get the process started.