Slowly, but surely, consumers are starting to come to the realization that it's a good time to buy a home. Inventory is up, prices are down and there are many deals to be had. Unfortunately many of these buyers are taking a do-it-yourself approach to purchasing property and this can be risky.
Years ago, if you wanted to buy a house you usually needed to find yourself a real estate agent. Realtors could access the MLS, set up showings and handle all the paperwork and the hassle. Now, thanks to the internet, it's possible to go house hunting from the comfort of your own home. And many buyers, once they've found a home they like, choose to move forward and deal with the seller directly.
This is a risky move. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that in most cases, buyers are not the ones paying their agent. The buyer's agent gets paid by splitting the commission of the sale with the seller's agent. Many buyers think they are somehow saving money by not hiring an agent but this usually isn't the case.
Worse yet, many buyers make the mistake of thinking that the seller's agent has their best interests in mind. A seller's agent works for the seller and only the seller. Their sole focus is to get their client the best possible price for their own. Any advice they give is meant to get the house sold quickly and for as much as possible. In fact, they are even legally obligated to tell their client anything that a potential buyer says that might improve the chances of selling their house. Many seller's agents are even trying to discourage buyers from getting agents of their own because it means bigger commission checks for them. Don't be fooled - the seller's agent does not work for the buyer.
Meanwhile, a buyer's agent can bring huge benefits to the table. A buyer's agent, on the other hand, will have the buyer's best interests in mind and can handle the process on the buyer's behalf. An agent also has access to information that even the most internet-savvy consumer won't have, such as historical price date and knowledge of whether or not the home has been on the market for a long time. They can also more easily compare listing and sales prices in similar homes in the area. Each of these is a very important factors when determining the right price to offer. Agents can also recommend good financing companies, home inspectors or even local home repair professionals when necessary.
When finding a buyer's agent, don't be afraid to interview a few before determining which is the best fit for you. One of the most important things you should look for is local experience. An agent should be an expert on their local market and this experience should come from real life and years on the job, rather than internet statistics. Be wary of any agent who seems to have gotten all of their knowledge online. It's also very important to find an agent that you are comfortable working with. This person will be your advocate, working on your behalf to find you the right home - make sure that you find somebody you trust. With the right agent by your side, you'll be in your new dream home in no time!