By Anita Ginsburg
When planning to buy a home, you'll probably work with a real estate agent to prepare your property to sell and to do online views and walk-throughs of new homes. A knowledgeable REALTOR® can answer questions and help you find listings of interest that fit your needs and budget. Your agent can also point out strengths and weaknesses of various properties that you might otherwise miss.
Here are tips to make your working relationship productive and successful:
Do Be Specific About What You Want
Make a list of the features you're looking for in the home you want to buy. Only view those that meet your criteria to avoid wasting your time or the agent's. Have a clear plan of the size, style and location of properties you're willing to look at. Keep a price range in mind and let your agent know what it is, as well as whether you're willing to negotiate on a house you fall in love with.
Even if you or your agent get tired of viewing properties that aren't really what you're looking for, don't give in and agree to buy a home that you don't want. If you're negotiating a purchase with a buyer who refuses to fix things about the property that you feel are important, don't be coerced into surrendering to the buyer's terms. Issues like the settlement date, which furnishings will remain and who will repair broken areas like a leaky roof should be resolved without pressure before you sign the contract.
Do Keep Appointments
Your REALTOR® may want to meet with you to go over the property specs you have in mind for purchasing a home. The agent may also want to show you some properties and walk through them with you. Make every effort to keep the appointments that you make to respect the time invested by the seller and the agent, as well as your own schedule. If you miss or postpone several appointments, the agent may take your interest less seriously.
Don't Pay More Than You Can Afford
Your agent may try to show you listings that are beyond your indicated budget. This might be done innocently if the more expensive properties have the items on your must-have list. However, don't buy a house that you can't afford, because you could end up suffering financially for years to come. You could even lose the home to bankruptcy if you can't afford payments and maintenance. Be clear with your agent about what you can and can't afford.
Do Perform Due Diligence
Don't expect the agent to have all the answers about a certain property. Find out through online research whether the home or area has a bad history. You can always ask your REALTOR® about the neighborhood, schools and local businesses, but be willing to do personal research if needed.
An agent can be an amazing resource to help you find the home of your dreams. But keep in mind, they will work more effectively when you provide detailed information about your requests and limits.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, Colo. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing. She always recommends being specific with your real estate agent, like Vickie Gallimore: RE/MAX Central Realty, about what you need. Find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.