For most people, buying a home, especially for the first time, is the most important purchase they will make in their lifetimes. But even if you’re a homeowner looking to downsize or move to a new location closer to your kids and grandkids, it’s extremely important to enlist the services of a professional real estate agent.
Buying a Home
An experienced buyer’s agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide the kind of support and advice that can make your home-buying experience much less stressful.
With a buyer’s agent, you’ll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
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Specific Questions a Buyer’s Agent Can Help Answer
If you’re unfamiliar with the areas where you’re considering moving, your buyer’s agent is an invaluable resource. He or she can offer insider knowledge on neighborhoods, schools, recreation, shopping, and many other details about local neighborhoods and subdivisions.
What Features Do I Want in a Home?
It’s important to have a clear picture of what matters most to you in a home or location. Creating a list of “must haves” and flexible “nice-to-haves” at the beginning will make the process a lot easier. Your buyer’s agent can offer advice on the countless items you should consider according to your lifestyle, budget and particulars.
What Can I Expect During a Home Purchase?
Your real estate professional can familiarize you with everything you’ll encounter when you begin the home-buying process, including:
- Submitting an offer
- Acceptance and sale agreement
- Placing a deposit (“earnest money”)
- Home inspection
- Applying for a mortgage
- Title history and property appraisal
Knowing how much you can afford to pay is a crucial step in your search. Nailing down your budget early will make the overall process more focused and less stressful. A good way to figure out how much you can afford is to use the “28/36 Rule,” which states that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income should go toward housing costs (including mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance) and that your overall debt should not exceed 36 percent of your income.