Curious about buying a home? The first step to consider is hiring an agent to represent you. A Buyer’s Agent is an agent who represents solely the buyer in a real estate transaction. The agent works exclusively in your best interest, whereas an agent with a sign on a house is the “listing agent” who owes loyalty to his client, meaning that he or she is very motivated to sell you that particular home. However, a Buyer’s Agent will work hard to make sure that you are aware of all homes that would work for you, so that you can choose the home that best suits your needs. In most cases, it does not cost you anything to work with a buyer’s agent.
The following is a brief outline of my duties as your Buyer’s Agent:
Generally, I prefer to meet with potential clients before we look at homes. When we meet, I will discuss with you Oregon’s Agency Disclosure laws—your rights under Oregon law. I will also give you a copy of my “resume” along with letters of recommendations from past clients. You will receive a handout from The Oregon Association of Realtors highlighting many of the issues you need to be aware of when purchasing a home. You will also receive a summary of what you will find in the standard real estate sale agreement that we use in Oregon, so that when we do write up an offer (also called “the sale agreement”) you will then be more familiar with what you are looking at. Finally, if you are looking at older homes, I will give you a brochure about protecting your family from lead-based paint in your home.
Pre-Approval for a Home Loan
Getting pre-approved for a loan before identifying a home you would like to purchase is in your best interest. When you decide to write an offer, having your financing in order tells the seller that you are prepared to buy the home.
Getting pre-approved before you start looking for a home has other advantages for you as well: having an accurate picture of what your payment will be will help tremendously when deciding your price range. Interest rates and private mortgage insurance premiums vary considerably depending on your situation, and only a loan officer can give you an accurate picture of what your payment will be. In addition, there can be “surprises” that come up on your credit report that might need to be addressed. If you have not been in touch with a loan officer yet, I can recommend quality loan officers that I have worked with in the past.
Automating Your Search
When we meet, I will take copious notes about your needs and desires in a home. I will want to know such things as: minimum amount of bedrooms, minimum square footage, maximum price range. I like to keep the criteria as broad as we can, so that you are exposed to as many homes as possible. I will create a customized search for you in my database, and new listings and price reductions will be emailed to you. When you see something that you are interested in, notify me and we will set up a time to go and look at it.
Navigating the Sale
When you have found a home that you would like to purchase, I will help you draft your offer. This includes performing a CMA should you desire. A CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis, and it is most often performed when a seller decides they want to list a home for sale, to help determine a listing price. However, these reports are beneficial to the buyer as well. They can show you what other homes have sold for in the area, and will help you decide on a price to offer.
One of the jobs of a Buyer’s Agent is to make sure that you are aware of the inspections can be conducted so you can decide what systems in the home you would like to investigate. Some of the inspections to consider include: a general overall home inspection, a radon test, a search for buried oil tanks on the property, or having the sewer line inspected to make sure that there are no breaks or problems with the line. Other inspections may also be warranted.
Once the inspections are complete, I will continue to manage the transaction. Staying on top of when contingencies expire, or when the earnest money is due is extremely important.
It is my goal for you to be so happy in your experience in working with me (and happy in your new home!) that you won’t hesitate to refer your friends and family.
Interested in learning more about buying a home? Check out the “buyer representation” tag for articles about buying a home.