Finding the Right Real Estate Agent in Phoenix Arizona - Buying Your First Home in Phoenix Arizona Part 2
In Part 1 of Buying Your First Home, you discovered why buying a home is the right choice for you. Now it's time to hire the perfect agent for you.
Forget the phone book, brochures, and word of mouth - more than 80 percent of all today's homebuyers begin their searches on the Internet. Just a few clicks of the mouse will allow you to scan hundreds of online listings, take virtual tours, and view dozens of photographs and aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes. Because you began with the end in mind, you have defined your goals so that you have a good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. By the time you begin your search for a real estate agent, you are already on your way to home ownership. Remember, though, it's what happens next that largely determines whether your home purchase experience will go smoothly, or if you're in for a rocky ride.
Finding the right real estate agent can make all the difference for a first-time homebuyer who is new to the whole adventure. A good agent can help you navigate the buying process and help you avoid expensive mistakes. Here are some tips for finding the ideal real estate agent to help you buy your first house.
Qualities of a Good Real Estate Agent
• Walks you through the whole process - from your first phone call to the last signed paper, and beyond. Buying a home is a process with many steps. Your goal is to find an experienced agent who can anticipate all of your questions ahead of time. You want to work with someone who will be by your side during every meeting and accompany you as you sign each document. Steer clear of working with any agent who's too busy to return your calls or who seems to rush you when you have questions that need answers. If they don't have time for you before you begin working with them, things certainly aren't going to get better as you get further into the process.
• Asks crucial questions to determine your needs - and truly listens to your answers. Your first meeting with an agent should involve a comprehensive interview. It's during this conversation that they will spend time getting to know you and asking relevant questions to help you determine your goals, and the kind of house you want to buy. A skilled, experienced agent will listen thoughtfully to your answers. They will not attempt to talk over you, sway you, or influence your answers in any way.
• Understands you are new to the process and patiently answers all of your questions. This is your first time buying a house - it's one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. Of course you have lots of questions! It's important that you - and your REALTOR® - remember there are no dumb questions. A good agent will anticipate many of your questions ... but even if you ask them something they've never heard before, they will have an answer or will promise to find one for you.
• Knows the market very well. You want to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with all the areas of the city or community you are considering. They should know the ins and outs of property values, school rankings, community environments, and other important details. They will know instantly whether a particular neighborhood fits for your budget.
• Helps you through the finance/inspection/home warranty/escrow portions of the process. You want your real estate agent to be an expert at every important aspect of your home purchase. An experienced agent will walk you through the financing process, help you find a qualified inspector, explain all the details of home warranties, and guide you through the escrow maze. If any of these pieces of the home-buying puzzle seems to bewilder your agent, you probably want to find another agent!
• Is an experienced negotiator who will get you the home you want at a price within your budget. Negotiation is key when it comes to paying the right price for your first home. A qualified agent knows the value of the other homes in your area, and can easily assess the value of the amenities on the home you're considering. She will have strong negotiating skills, knowing when to play hardball with a seller, or when it's time to get out the kid gloves.
• Will visit new construction/new development homes with you. You always want to take your real estate agent with you on your first visit to a new home community. All too often, shoppers walk into a new development on a whim - without an agent - fall in love with a model home, and write an offer right then and there. What this means is that the developer's agent becomes your agent, so he or she is now representing BOTH you and the developer. This is not the best situation to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Regardless of how excited you are, it's I strongly advise that you wait to see the models with your agent because, as pretty as they are, models can be deceiving. They may look gorgeous and be beautifully decorated, but how sure are you that the floorplan really works for your needs? Are the lot size and location the best ones for you family? What about those upgrades - are they a smart decision? Developers also will want you to use their "in-house" lenders. Taking your real estate agent with you will make sure your interests are protected while you get the home you really want.
• Is someone you TRUST absolutely. If you're about to buy your first home, more than anything, you need a real estate agent you can trust. You need someone who is a good communicator, who will be honest with you, even if the truth isn't necessarily what you want to hear. (Imagine how many people could have stayed out of foreclosure these past few years if their agents and mortgage lenders had told them, honestly, they were taking on more home than they could afford.) You want your agent to be detail-oriented and able to multitask efficiently. You want someone who will guarantee that every T is crossed and every I dotted. You deserve the best - DON'T settle for any less!
Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before Hiring Them
Even though you're first-time homebuyer, you can ask a few thoughtful questions to help you determine whether the agent you are considering has the right qualities. You want to approach this like a job interview - only you're the one doing the hiring! You want your prospective agent to answer your questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. Yes, this may take a little time, but remember - the more effort you put into finding the right agent before you start the homebuying process, the smoother the whole experience ultimately will be. I guarantee it!
• Have you worked with a lot of first-time buyers?
• What are your credentials?
• How long have you been in the business?
• Do you have a team of professionals you regularly work with, like escrow agents, inspectors, and lenders?
• Will you tell me the truth, even if I may not want to hear it?
• How long can I expect to wait for you to return a phone call or e-mail?
Your first home is a big commitment and a huge purchase. You deserve to have someone on your team who will go to bat for you every step of the way, someone knowledgeable who can guide you through each phase of the process.
Ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals to agents they recommend
And don't forget that great referral tool: word of mouth. Ask the people you know whom they recommend. "Who did an excellent job for you when you bought your house?" is a great way to ask that question. Up to 90 percent of my business comes from referrals; people I worked with in the past are willing to recommend me because they know I did a great job helping them find the perfect home. It will be well worth your time and effort to ask the people you know for a referral to reputable realtor.
Also, make sure to check your prospective agent's references, because working with someone who comes highly recommended will definitely pay off in the long run.
Buying Your First Home in Phoenix Arizona Part 2
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
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