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For many first time home buyers, the process is a daunting one. For some it’s so daunting that they put it off, remaining in the rental market long after they had thought they would have done because they fear the unknown waters of home buying and homeownership.
Are they supposed to find a real estate agent first? How can they find a good one? Aren’t real estate agents shady (like car salesmen)? Will they to try to sell me a really expensive house I can’t afford? What can I afford? What about the lender? Who should I go to for a home mortgage? The questions can seem to keep coming endlessly.
Here’s a look at some of the best things to do to halt these uncertainties and move forward with the home buying process with confidence.
1) Take a Deep Breath.
You are in control, so your home buying journey should look how you envision it.
If you aren’t sure what that journey looks like or what the destination is, find a real estate agent who can walk you through the process, answer your questions, and help keep things going as smoothly as possible.
2) It’s OK to Interview
Confused by all the real estate agents offering their services in your buying area? It’s OK to be, and it’s OK to talk to several, and interview them, before making a choice.
The right real estate agent for you is one who can not only show you lots of properties but also who can tell you all about the neighborhoods they are located in, and the local real estate market.
They should also be able to offer resources for mortgages, general home buying and advice, and, maybe most importantly, the two of you need to ‘hit it off’. Spending at least your next few weekends touring half the area with someone means you should at least like them.
That’s why it’s OK to interview real estate agents. We expect it and won’t be offended. As you do you will probably meet a few agents who just aren’t the right fit for you, and that’s all right. When they follow up with you later, just politely tell them you’re not interested and ask that they take you off their list.
3) Use Your Network.
We know this sounds so obvious. But purchasing a home is extremely personal, and it can feel a little scary to talk about it with friends, family, and/or co-workers.
There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation from someone you trust. Just to be safe, ask a few people and talk to a few different options. A friend or family member who shares your values is likely to recommend a real estate agent who also aligns with those values. You can also use your network and your new connections with real estate agents to find a mortgage lender.
4) You Don’t Need to Have All the Answers.
Once you decide on a real estate agent, they will help you figure out all the pieces to your home buying puzzle, so you end up in a home that you love and that meets your needs.
Need help with your finances or don’t have a lender? Your real estate agent can give you some names. Never want to pack another moving box? Your agent can recommend reliable moving companies. Want to renovate a little before you move in? Your agent likely has relationships with professional, licensed contractors who are reliable. Need a lawyer to help you settle on your home? Yup, your real estate agent can refer you to them, too.
You don’t need to have all the answers before you start your home search. Once you find an agent, they’ll use their expertise to guide you through the home buying process. If there are additional services you need, they will use their networks to get you what you need.