4

Home Buyer's Guide

Working with a Real Estate Agent

Why You Should Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can make a big difference in the home buying process, and not just for the reasons you might think.

Find the Right House

First and foremost, your agent will help you find the right house. Agents have access to the MLS database, which means they know what homes are on the market, what features they have, and what they're listed for. While real estate listing sites have this information and can be a good starting point, they're not always 100% accurate or up to date.

Agents have also seen enough homes to know which ones are likely to have expensive problems. Your agent should be able to tell you what to look for and what to steer clear of, which is especially important if you're a first-time home buyer.

Zero in on a Good Area

Finding the right house isn't only about knowing which homes are up for sale. A real estate agent can help you zero in on the location that's right for you. An experienced agent will help you find the very best school districts, amenities and resale values – or whatever is important to you.

Get a Guiding Hand

According to Toney Black, a real estate agent and broker affiliated with Allen Tate Real Estate and Rocket Homes, the primary benefit real estate agents provide is consultation. Black talks each of his clients through the home buying process before they even start house hunting so they know what they're in for. While most homeowners will only buy a house a few times in their lifetime, agents go through the buying process with their clients day in and day out.

Manage the Paperwork

Do you know how to write a purchase agreement? Luckily, this isn't something you need to worry about. Your agent will draw up the purchase agreement so all you have to do is read it and sign it. There's a lot of paperwork involved in buying a home, and your agent is there to take care of it.

Make Connections

The buying process can be a whirlwind experience once you've had an offer accepted. There are so many things for you to take care of over the course of about a month, including getting an inspection, arranging movers, shopping for insurance, buying a home warranty and arranging for necessary repairs – and that doesn't even cover getting a mortgage.

Luckily, your real estate agent has seen it all before. They know which inspectors can give you an accurate report, which movers are worthwhile, which insurance companies will overcharge you, and which home warranties have it all. Black even sets up the home inspection for many of his clients. "The only thing that they do themselves is call the insurance company," he said.

Agents have also seen enough homes to know which ones are likely to have expensive problems. Your agent should be able to tell you what to look for and what to steer clear of, which is especially important if you're a first-time home buyer.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust

Agents play a big role in having a successful and stress-free home buying experience, so it's important to find a good one.

Referrals can be a good place to start. Do you have family or friends who recently bought a home in your area? Can your lender give you a referral? At Quicken Loans, we refer our clients to our sister company Rocket Homes, which partners with top-rated agents in all 50 states.

Once you've got a name or two, there are a few ways to know you've got the right person on your side. According to Black, "You definitely want a REALTOR over a regular real estate agent." REALTORS® are real estate agents who are members of the National Association of REALTORS – and that's important because it means they're held to a strict code of ethics.

Black also recommends that you look for a real estate agent who holds a real estate broker license. This can be a great indication that they've gone above and beyond in their education.

More important than all of this, however, is finding an agent who respects you. "You've got a lot of agents that don't carry any designations, but they carry all the characteristics of a good agent. At the end of the day, you want the agent to be trustworthy, loyal and full of respect for the client," said Black.

Rocket Homes

Rocket Homes, the sister company of Quicken Loans, can quickly connect you with an experienced agent in your area.

What to Expect Once You've Found Your Real Estate Agent

Each agent is different, but here's a general picture of what you can expect once you've kicked the house hunting process into motion:

  1. You'll spend some time talking about what you're looking for. Your agent will want to see your approval letter. Be prepared to talk about your budget, your target area and the criteria for your home.
  2. You'll get to review some listings. Your agent will send you listings of homes you might be interested in. Then, you can let your agent know which ones you want to see.
  3. Your agent will set up showings. In most cases, your agent will work fast so you don't miss out on a potential home. That's why it helps to keep an open schedule while you're house hunting, especially if you're in a competitive market.
  4. You'll attend showings together until you're ready to make an offer. At that point, your agent will draft the offer letter and cross their fingers for you!

Was This Helpful?