First of all I want to say congratulations to you for taking the first step in making one of the best and biggest investments in your life. It can truly be a rewarding experience to now be putting your hard earned money into building equity instead of paying off someone else's mortgage.
Here's some of the most common questions we Realtors generally get dealing with potential clients.
WHY DO I NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT FOR BUYING A HOME? CAN'T I JUST CALL THE NAME ON THE SIGN?
Yes you can totally call the agent on the sign and they would love nothing more than to sell the home to you, as they will make more money. Please keep in mind though, they've been hired to work in the seller's best interests. As a buyer agent, I can do extensive research about any property you have an interest in purchasing by checking past sales reports, area stats, house history and other data. This totally benefits you as I will try to get you the home at the lowest price I can, while the listing agent is in a conflict of interest as he's trying to get the highest price for his clients, while trying to get you the lowest price? Figure that one out? Make sense to you? How are you as a Buyer benefitting here?
DO YOU RECOMMEND TO GO TO ANYONE FOR FINANCIAL PRE-APPROVAL OR SHOULD I JUST GO TO MY BANK?
I have a few phenominal mortgage agents on my "team" who do nothing but exceptional work, they usually get you the best rates, show you your many options and once pre-approved you are locked in at that rate from 90-120 days. This is great for you because in case the rates go up you are safe for this time period and if the rates go down you get that one instead, it's a win-win. Most mortgage brokers work with the banks as well so they can shop around for a better rate than if you just went to the bank. I also like we can do everything virtually from the comforts of my living room for the most part.
By the way I like to point out that I get no kick backs for recommending them to you, I just think they are some of the best out there and I want my clients happy and saving their hard earned money as the whole process of purchasing a home can get expensive, so every dollar counts and you're with someone I know and trust.
WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE TO SEE PROPERTIES?
I'm pretty readily available. I'm busy every day but the way I have my business model set up it makes it pretty easy for me to move things around to accomodate my clients on most occasions. Being able to readily see a property could sometimes make the difference in whether the property becomes yours or someone else's.
MY TWO CENTS...
Home buying is a tough business as it's very hard to wrap your head around spending that kind of money on something, but it truly is the best investment you will ever make and it's also tough because this is something people really buy with emotion. I generally like to tell someone to sleep on it and see how they feel about it in the morning but with the way the market is right now, if you sleep on it that could be the closest you'll ever get to owning that home because it could have sold to someone else overnight. I like to going on the showings to grade your reactions to each home as it gives me a better idea into what you are really gravitating towards and after each house you can openly tell what you did and didn't like so I know for when I'm looking for other compatible properties.
Lastly a couple things I always like to add a bit of advice and that is to not always be thinking of right now and think a little down the road. Sometimes buying in one area is great because it's happening and fun, while there is another perfectly good area close by and it's up and coming or in a rebuilding process that if you purchased a home there you could get more return in a few years for your money.
Keep your eyes on the neighbourhood and not just the house you are looking at. I always love to say that if you see a Starbucks "coming soon" generally means that the area is on its way up and a Popeye's chicken means its on its way down. More often than not I'm right, but it's fun to keep a watchful eye on your the districts and see if that rings true.
WHAT IF WE BID ON THE PERFECT HOME AND LOSE OUT TO SOMEONE ELSE?
Then I always say it wasn't meant to be. There is never just one perfect house out there for each of us, we get too emotionally attached to this process as sometimes you see something you just have to have. I always say another one will come along and it always does.
WHAT DO WE DO? WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Well I'm a firm believer in not rushing into anything, as I mentioned you buy with emotion and I like those to sleep on it and sometimes you wake up and you've lost that "loving feeling". Sadly the reality of this seller's market that we are in right now is that right now it's more of a you snooze you lose situation and we have to act fast.
So here is where we decide on a closing date (when you take over the property), an offer amount, deposit amount, chattels and fixtures included and excluded as well as the conditions we want to include on the purchasing of said property. Once that is all finished and signed, I call the brokerage and register and offer. Generally I like you to be available when I present the offer so that if it gets signed back (usually regarding money or conditions) then you are there to make any changes you are willing to make and initial right away so I can go back in and try to close the deal before any other offer may come in.