Get My Agent on the Phone
Especially for first-time homebuyers, using a seasoned agent is a smart move.
By: Karin Beuerlein
As a first-time homebuyer, you should seriously consider getting your own agent. Although the Internet makes some aspects of finding homes easier than it was 20 years ago, a good real estate agent has access to lots of market information not available to the public, including the confidential selling prices of comparable homes in the area (referred to as "comps"). A good agent will help you use that knowledge to strike a savvy deal that benefits both you and the seller — a win-win situation.
Three things to know about agents:
1) A buyer generally does not pay any money out of pocket for the services of a real estate agent. Agent commissions are typically paid by the seller; the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the total commission.
2) A buyer’s agent protects your interests. Using the seller’s real estate agent does not protect your interests. Agents who represent buyers only are known as exclusive buyer agents, and you can find one through The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents at www.naeba.org.
3) You can go it alone. We don’t recommend you negotiate for the first time alone, but maybe you’re quite familiar with the real estate market, and you have some professional experience negotiating legal contracts. If so, and you want to fly solo, that’s certainly feasible, but we recommend you hire a real estate attorney to approve the sales contract for peace of mind. (It generally costs you an hour or two of the attorney’s time.)
'Last-to-Go' Box Checklist
After a long day of moving, the last thing you'll feel like doing is rooting through boxes to find your toothbrush. Pack these items into a "special box" that stays with you on moving day.
10 Steps to Eleventh-Hour Organization
Use this last-minute moving checklist to make sure you don't forget anything on the big day.
10 Things Every New Homebuyer Needs to Know
Never bought a house before? These tips will help you better understand the homebuying process.
Give Your Credit Score a Not-So-Extreme Makeover
No matter what your numbers are, they can almost always be better. Improve your credit score with these quick financial fixes.
Buyers: Don’t Freak Out When You Get Bad Inspection Results
What’s a homebuyer to do if your home inspection has bad results? Drama-Free Real Estate expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson shares her tips and tools.
Brokers, Lenders and Points, Oh My!
Brokers can be the used car salesman of the mortgage world because they get a cut of the amount you borrow.
Anti-Checklist: What Not to Do When You're Making an Offer or Negotiating
Don't even bother trying to justify a lowball offer. (Believe me, the seller and their agent were well aware that there's an electric tower in the backyard when they set the asking price.) Avoid these buyer faux pas when offering on a house.
7 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
You've already heard the bad news. The housing crisis has tightened up credit markets, and it's harder to qualify for a mortgage loan. Credit scoring has always been an important part of the loan approval process, but suddenly it bears more weight than ever.
A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette
Master these dos and don'ts of house hunting.
Are You Financially Ready to Buy an Investment Property?
Here's what you need to consider in this real estate market before shelling out for an investment property.
Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.
We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.