Last updated 2/24/2020
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to buy a home!
Most people will start by looking at houses on-line and going to open houses. But SHOPPING for a home is different than BUYING a home. It can be fun shopping for a home, admiring a home’s new kitchen and décor, and envisioning yourself throwing a summer party in the backyard. But if you’re serious about buying a home, you need to prepare before you start viewing houses and consider the following:
Get PreApproved for a Mortgage BEFORE you Home-Shop.
It’s a competitive housing market. And unless a Realtor and seller know you’ve been accurately pre-approved, you simply won’t be considered a serious buyer. Plus, without having a detailed and in-depth conversation with a mortgage professional about your budget, your finances, and your qualifications, how do you know what you can afford??
1) Ask Your Realtor, “Do You Represent ME or the SELLER?”
Most real estate agents receive their commission from the seller. Therefore, even the most honest and ethical agent has an incentive to get the best price for the seller. Avoid this conflict of interest by hiring a Buyer’s Broker who is obligated to represent your best interests.
2) Ask Your Realtor, “How Will You Be Compensated?”
While most real estate agents receive their compensation from the seller, some Buyer’s Brokers will receive compensation from the buyer or from both the buyer and seller. There is no right or wrong way for your agent to be compensated. Just make sure you understand and agree to these terms before moving forward.
3) Ask Your Realtor, “What’s Happening in this Neighborhood and How Will That Affect Home Values and Quality of Life?”
Good real estate agents hear everything about what’s happening in the communities where they do business. Although Federal Fair Housing Laws prohibit them from commenting on the demographics of the neighborhood, your agent can still give you advice on housing trends, whether you’re making a solid investment, and any planned or predicted changes to the neighborhood that could affect your quality of life.
4) Ask Your Realtor, “Would YOU Buy This House?”
This question may be the ultimate litmus test on whether you should purchase this home. Remember, your real estate agent likely has years of experience “buying” hundreds of homes. If your agent has reservations, that’s a red flag. Ask your agent to clearly articulate his or her answer.
5) Can You Recommend a Home Inspector, Real Estate Attorney, Mortgage Professional, Handyman, Etc.?
An honest, ethical, truly professional, and superior real estate agent (choose wisely!) has put together a team of professionals that will best serve their clients. Remember, birds of a feather flock together. The “Best of the Best” will want to work together! You’ve taken the advice of your real estate agent up to now. (Haven’t you?? If you’ve been second-guessing your agent thus-far, it’s time for a new agent.) So why would you not trust their advice on choosing one of their trusted professionals??
Buying a home is an emotional event often fraught with problems and challenges. Home buyers should act rationally and logically, ask lots of questions, and heed the advice of the professionals on their team.
Warren Goldberg is President of Mortgage Wealth Advisors, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, and a published author. His interviews include Blog-Talk Radio, Newsday, The Daily News, Anton Press, and the Long Island Herald. Since 1992, he’s been sharing his financial knowledge and wealth-building strategies, including how to properly use your mortgage as a financial tool. His clients regularly express their trust and appreciation by recommending friends and family call when in need of mortgage, real estate, and financial guidance.