There’s always an expert when you face life’s adventures. When your water pipes burst, you know you need a plumber. When your furnace dies, you know you need an HVAC technician. But do you need a realtor to buy a home? Is this really a job for an expert or merely a matter of preference?
What does a realtor do?
On the buying side, realtors help you locate homes that are in your price range and have the amenities you're looking for. They can show you homes that are vacant and set up times to walk through houses that are still being lived in.
Good realtors have in-depth knowledge of the areas you are looking to buy in. Because of this, they can help you locate a home that’s near on-ramps to highways, close to grocery stores, or even in individual school districts.
That’s not all realtors do for the buyers, though.
They also walk you through the buying process, from pre-approval to close. This includes offering advice and writing up the paperwork such as offer letters, extensions, and contingencies. In short, realtors do most of the backend work while you focus on finding your new home.
Steps to Buying a House
To really know if you need a realtor to buy a house, you need to know the steps to buying a house. Many think it’s as simple as finding a home that fits the bill, signing the paperwork, and getting on your merry way. The truth is a bit more detailed than that.
Saving for Down Payment
Before you even start looking for a home, it’s a good idea to put money away for your down payment and closing costs. While there are loans that allow you to put down less than 20% upfront, it’s a good idea to save as much as you can to help reduce mortgage insurance costs. Decide on the amount you want to spend on a home and set aside some money each paycheck to reach that goal.
Before you buy your house, it’s a good idea to get your pre-approval letter. This will speed up the process when you go to make an offer on the house and will give you more power to negotiate with if it comes to that.
To get a pre-approval letter, you will need to go to your lender and show them your work history, gross taxable income, and credit history. Once you are approved, you will get a letter stating the amount you are pre-approved for allowing sellers to accept your offer. Now it’s time to begin looking for a house.
Looking For a Home
Now comes the fun part! As you begin your home search, keep in mind the type of area you want to live in as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you wish to have. If you are unfamiliar with the city or don’t know exactly what to look for, find a trusted realtor to help you in your search.
The buying process may take a while depending on the market. The key to a speedy close is having your pre-approval letter and someone who knows how to write a great offer quick!
Closing On Your Home
Once the seller accepts your offer, you’re in the home stretch! Your realtor will help you with any contingencies you have in place and make sure you understand all the included paperwork for the sale. They’ll answer any questions you have about the property and area, and discuss any concerns you have. They’ll even go through and do a final walkthrough with you, just to make sure the home is still in the shape it was when you offered to buy it. In the end, they’ll be there to hand you the keys, pour the champagne and be the first to congratulate you on the sale.
Finding a Realtor
Locating a great realtor is a step many don’t even want to bother with.
In the age of the internet, however, discovering a great realtor can be as easy as reaching out to friends and family on social media or going to sites that specialize in finding top local agents. Some even offer incentives when you work with them!
Pretty sweet, right?!
Alternatives to Using a Realtor
The alternative to using a realtor is just winging it yourself. If you want to challenge yourself and run through the process alone, more power to you!
Using a realtor to buy your home is a great way to save time and stress throughout the process. Getting a buyer's rebate from using that real estate agent is also an excellent way to make a few extra dollars at the end of the transaction. Because you don’t even pay to use a realtor, there really is no easier way to buy a home.