Once you are provided a Pre-Qualification Letter, any experienced mortgage professional (worth their salt), should be be able to recommend a few real estate agents who can help smooth your transition into the new neighborhood. Your real estate agent can:
- Help you establish what you want in a home.
- Search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other resources for homes that match your needs.
- Show you appropriate homes.
- Provide valuable information on communities, comparable values of neighboring homes, tax rates, and building code regulations.
- Help you formulate an offer on the home you want to buy.
- Act as an intermediary between you and the seller, smoothing the negotiating process.
Interview at least two or three real estate agents over the phone. Tell them what you’re interested in and ask if they can provide some additional information about area schools, taxes or some other special interest. Then see how quickly they respond and how accurately they follow your request.
In addition to having experience in the area where you hope to buy your home, the real estate agent you choose should be easy to talk to and show that he or she understands your wants and needs.
Once you’ve selected a real estate agent, stick with that agent even when you’re looking at homes listed by others. Your real estate agent will cull through the local listings and is familiar with the homes available in your chosen area, even if they are listed by another real estate agency. Contacting a different real estate agent simply because you’re attracted to a home with a “For Sale” sign or advertisement listing their name is counterproductive when you’ve built a level of familiarity and trust with your selected agent.
Choose Your New Neighborhood
Location is an extremely important factor in determining your long-term happiness with your new home. The right real estate agent should be able to give you a lot of information in this area. Here are a few things to think about on your own, so you’ll be able to discuss them with your agent.
Do the schools meet my needs?
Is the commuting time acceptable?
Are there good public recreation areas nearby?
Will I like the nearby grocery stores or services? Am I willing to drive out of my way regularly if I don’t?