Most first time home buyers start their home search without even realizing that they’ve started… They watch House Hunters or renovation reality TV for entertainment, and start seeing sponsored posts from Realtor.com or Zillow in their Instagram feed. Without realizing that they have even started the “home buying process”, they may even see an Open House sign and decide just to walk through for fun…(nothing serious). That may be the first time that a home buyer encounters a Realtor. Perhaps, they first talk with an Agent or Salesperson when they call the name listed on the sign posted in the yard of a home that they saw online or in the neighborhood where they rent. In today’s world, this is how it starts. Rarely folks actually decide one day that they are ready to buy a home and open the yellow pages looking for Realtors…(quite different than how one would search and call for plumbers when they discover that they have a leaky faucet).
Step 1 to buying a home should be to hire a Realtor to represent you: A Buyer’s Agent or more precisely, a Buyer’s Advocate.
Searching online at Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. on your own takes a LOT of time. A Realtor can set you up for automatic search via the MLS (Multiple Listing System). This means that each day (or how often you want to receive the search results) you’ll be emailed a list of all new properties matching your criteria or price reductions which now put a property in your budget. This is a HUGE time saver. And if you’re in a market, like Athens, where the great properties sell in a matter of days, it can be an enormous advantage to be able to get in and to see a property within a day or two of it going on the market.
Additionally, a Buyer’s Agent will advocate on your behalf and represent you with Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting, and Reasonable Care. This is known legally as a fiduciary relationship. This isn’t just a person that opens the door of a house for you to walk through. While door opening is a job that Realtors are often tasked with, the fiduciary relationship and expertise of the market is where Realtors really demonstrate their value.
So, how do you find and pick a Realtor? Well, hopefully you’ll contact our team at (740) 590-4882 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can meet in person and see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people. You need to find someone who is not only great at their job, but someone you like, as you’re going to be spending a lot of time with that person. So get together and have coffee and chat. See if you click. If so, you need to determine if that person has the experience, customer service and understanding of the market that you’re looking for. Start out by noticing how quickly the Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email. Communication is critical! This business moves fast and deals can be lost if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf during negotiations.
Second, interview the Realtor by asking them very specific questions. Questions such as:
- Are you a full-time Realtor?
- What tools do you have especially for first time buyers?
- Will you be showing me homes or will your assistant?
- How do you negotiate deals?
- Do you attend the home inspection?
- Do you handle the inspection negotiations?
- Do you attend the walk through?
- Do you attend the closing?
- How do you feel about dual agency?
- What qualities set you apart from other Realtors?
- How well do you know Athens, Ohio and Athens County?
Third, expect to sign a buyer representation agreement. Legally before you disclose confidential information to your Realtor, you should have a signed buyer representation agreement. That helps to insure that your Realtor will keep private information confidential.