Buying A Home:
Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
When I bought my first home I had no idea what to expect. Even in subsequent purchases, I look back and see how many things I let slip through the cracks because of my lack of knowledge and being intimidated by the process. Hopefully, this will help you avoid those pitfalls.
Your REALTOR’s® Responsibilities
Your agent will explain how the process works beginning with the varying types of relationships you could have with them. They should also go over the paperwork and what will be required in order to put in a contract before you actually do so. You don’t want to see legal documents for the first time when you put in an offer. Know what you are committing to on the front end.
Your agent will present a Buyer’s Agency Agreement stipulating that you will work only with that REALTOR®. You can agree to this binding agreement at any stage along the way, but it must be signed before you put in a contract. This can take many forms: an agreement for one day, for one property, such as for a contract, or for an extended amount of time. Don’t feel pressured into signing a longer term, time-sensitive one until you feel comfortable that your agent will be looking out for your best interest. Trust your gut.
Your REALTOR® works for YOU and should be responsive to your needs. This means being shown properties that meet your criteria and getting regular updates on what’s new on the market. Sometimes one day can make the difference in a hot, seller’s market. Time can be of the essence.
After you have seen a property that you might be interested in and have questions, your REALTOR® can follow up with the listing agent. There is often more information that agents will share with one another that isn’t listed on the MLS.
Your agent should be pointing out any areas that could prove to be problematic in the future. These could be the condition of the house, any potential changes in the neighborhood, and future resale. Make sure that your agent has done their homework before putting in an offer. Pricing fluctuates greatly between areas; a house that might be a bargain in one location could be overpriced in another.
Bottom Line: Your REALTOR® should be your champion.
Your Responsibilities as a Buyer
Be proactive. Start talking to lenders first. By providing documentation of tax returns and bank statements, your lender can confirm how much you qualify for. Now you will know how much you can afford.
Most buyers start looking online long before they start the buying process. Look at homes and compile a list of what you liked, or didn’t like, about them. You’ll be surprised at what grabs you.
Use this list to independently decide on the things that are ‘Have To Have’ or Deal-Breakers. Compare them and come up with the Top 5. Once you have completed this process, discuss them with your REALTOR®. Your agent may see opportunities that might be a perfect match that may not fit your criteria. BE OPEN to step out of your comfort zone and check them out. You never know what hidden treasure could be right under your nose.
Ask questions. If you don’t, you may well regret it years down the road. Make sure that you are 100% comfortable with your agent, the home you are going to buy, and the legally binding contract you are signing. REALTORS® aren’t mind readers. If you don’t ask, no one will know there was a question.
Be responsive. This is a two-way street. Time is often of the essence and you may miss out on something critical if you don’t respond in a timely manner. If there are times that you won’t be available, such as a vacation, make sure and let your agent know. Expect the same of them. They should have a back-up agent to help you if they are unavailable.
Discuss everyone’s boundaries and expectations on the front end, such as the best type, frequency, and times for communication. Both buyer and REALTOR® should respect the personal lives and needs of each other. This will ensure a strong commitment to each other that often leads to a long-term bond well after the sale.
Be a Team
You and your REALTOR® should be a team, share the same goals, and respect each other’s needs. This is one of the most critical financial choices that you will probably ever make. Look out for your own best interest and make the right choices on every level.
Peggy Crowe is a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker King who always makes sure that her clients are heard and respected. You can contact her at 828-318-4423 or email@example.com.