submitted by Lynne Kelleher, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Fox Roach Realtors Newtown Office
You’ve finally saved some money, have gotten a promotion (or married) and the time is right to buy a house.
So, what’s the first thing you do? Look at listings online and call the listing agent, right? Go to a bunch of open houses and see if you can find one you like, right?
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!
Your very first step is to talk with a mortgage professional and get pre-qualified. They’ll pull your credit, look at your income, job history, debt and assets and help you determine how much home you qualify for.
Don’t waste your time, the agent’s time, or the seller’s time looking at homes you can’t afford.
Your next step is to find a real estate agent that knows the local market to represent you.
How do you find one? Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers for a referral, or talk to an agent that does a lot of business in your area.
Check out their online reviews and sit down to talk with them. Make sure they are experienced, work full time and know the local market.
Make sure you feel comfortable with them – after all, they will be advising you in the largest purchase of your life.
Don’t feel compelled to use your neighbor, Sue, who is a full-time teacher but got her real estate license because she LOVES LOOKING AT HOUSES.
For heavens sake, use an agent that takes this business seriously enough to do it full time.
DO NOT just wander into an open house. If you end up liking it, you may be stuck using the agent that’s there – who could be your neighbor Sue’s cousin and just got licensed yesterday.
She and Sue took the weekend course together.
Also understand that using the listing agent – whether you’ve called them from a listing you saw online, or because you met them at an open house – is representing the Seller.
It is legal in PA to be a dual agent, where one agent represents both sides of the transaction, however neither side gets full representation.
They cannot advise you on what to offer, analyze comparable sale information or negotiate to your benefit, as doing so would harm the Seller.
Really, how beneficial is that – when you’re making the largest purchase of your life?
Buying a house is a BIG DEAL. Be sure you do it the right way.