Finding a Real Estate Agent
You set your max budget, saved up your down payment, and even got preapproved for a mortgage. What a rock star!
Now it’s time to find a home. Right?
Hold up! You’re about to enter the real estate realm. There’s no telling how many unknowns are out there waiting to snag you and your money. After all, a house will be one of your biggest financial possessions, and you want to make the most of your investment. Don’t do this alone.
Sure, you can fill your brain with everything there is to know about a home purchase until your head explodes. But nothing compares to the ongoing support of a local expert who eats, sleeps and breathes real estate.You need a veteran who knows how to find you the best deal on the house of your dreams.
You need a real estate agent.
Why Work With a Real Estate Agent?
Aren’t real estate agents only for people who want to sell a home? No way! There are real estate agents, called buyers’ agents, who specifically work to guide and support you throughout the entire home-buying process. Here are some things a great buyer’s agent will do for you:
- Help you find the right house: Local agents have insider connections. They can get you the latest updates on homes in your price range—sometimes before a home hits the market. This helps you beat competing buyers who are only searching online. They’ll also arrange viewings that work with your schedule so you can take your time in each house and really picture living there.
- Guide you to make the right offer and negotiate a good price: The best agents are expert negotiators. They know what similar houses are selling for in your area, so they won’t let you lowball an offer so much that you miss out on a great buy—but they won’t let you overpay, either.
- Walk you through the paperwork: Buying a house creates a mountain of paperwork. Your agent will help you stay organized and on time—making sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
- Advise you on the home inspection: Your agent should be able to guide you on what to do if the inspection uncovers serious flaws.
- Calm your nerves when things get tough: Whether it’s a problem with the appraisal or a hitch in your financing, a great agent knows how to keep things moving smoothly.
How to Choose the Right Agent
You may know some real estate agents in your area, but not all of them bring the same knowledge and experience to the table. It may be tempting to hire the first agent you talk to just to save time and effort, but fight that urge! Interview at least three agents before you make a decision.
To choose an agent you can trust, make sure you only consider agents who meet these qualifications:
- Close more homes than 90% of the agents in their market or close on at least 35 homes per year
- Have been a full-time real estate agent for at least four years—10 is even better
- Serve both buyers and sellers in all types of markets
- Maintain a super-serving attitude that makes you feel like you’re their only client
- Provide contact references so you can find out how they treated past clients
Agents who meet these standards can earn the right to be called RamseyTrusted. We came up with these criteria back when we started our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program—a free way for home buyers like you to quickly find real estate agents who follow what we teach and are known as the best agents in their market.
How Much Does a Buyer’s Agent Cost?
Guess what? Working with a real estate agent is usually free for buyers! It’s common for the seller to cover the commission for your buyer’s agent, so you probably won’t have to worry about the cost. In fact, a good agent will actually save you money. Your agent will put their negotiation skills to work to get the best price and the sweetest deal.
Navigating the Market With a Pro
It’s difficult to predict what will happen with the housing market. Even if you already have some experience buying a home, the housing market can change rapidly from one month to the next. And what’s happening in the Arizona housing market might be quite different from what’s going on in Iowa. But if you work with an experienced real estate agent who can navigate the trends in your area, you’ll stay on track with your home-buying plan.
Helping You Buy a Home in Any Season
Think nobody’s going to sell you their home during the cold months of winter? Wrong! Sure, back in the day before the internet, the change of seasons dictated the real estate market. But now, with 24/7 access to property listings, serious home buyers are always on the lookout—whether they’re scrolling through the latest listings on their phone during their kid’s hockey game or browsing on their tablet before bed.
Today’s home sellers know you’re out there and ready to buy no matter the season. So, don’t feel like you need to wait for spring. Now might be the best time to get an awesome deal on a home you’ll love.
Find an Agent Who Shares Your Financial Values
For a quick and easy way to find a RamseyTrusted real estate agent in your area, try our free Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program. Agents in our ELP program earn the right to be called RamseyTrusted for being the best in their market and for supporting you in your financial goals.