Searching for a Home

When you are ready to buy a home, a real estate professional can help you sort through all the important details.

A real estate agent will be well-acquainted with all the facts about a neighborhood that matter most to you. For example, you may be particularly interested in the quality of the schools, the number of children in the area, the safety of the neighborhood, public transportation access, traffic volume or some other issue that affects you or your family.

Your agent will help you figure out a price range you can afford and search classified ads and multiple listing services for homes you'd like to see. With inside information and immediate access to homes as soon as they are put on the market, the agent can save you hours of wasted driving time. When you're ready to make an offer on a home, the agent can also point out ways to structure your deal to save money.

The real estate agent will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages, guide you through the paperwork, and be there to answer last minute questions when you sign the final papers at closing. Brokers receive a commission which is typically paid by the home seller, not you, the buyer.

Steps to Choosing an Agent

You'll want to start searching for a real estate agent as soon as you decide to buy a home. Talk to several, and find someone you think you'll be comfortable working closely with.

Here are three common ways to go about finding a broker that's right for you:

Ask for Referrals: Ask your friends, colleagues, and others that have purchased a home for any recommendations. Research them online to see if you can find other buyers who’ve used them in the past.

Search by Area: You can find out which agents specialize in the kind of home or area you want by looking online at sites such as Yelp, Zillow, or Trulia. These sites will often have agents listed and rated by previous users. Another option is to drive through neighborhoods and note the brokers' names on the "for sale" signs.

Comparison Shop: Talk to several prospective agents, ask questions about the areas and types of homes in which you're interested. Do they seem knowledgeable? And, importantly, is their personal style a good fit with your own?

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