Should You Use a Real Estate Agent to Help with the Homebuying Process?
In today’s housing market, there are many ways through which you may purchase your home. From websites to mobile apps, options abound for buyers.
Yet in an increasingly complicated realty landscape, an experienced, licensed agent — especially one who knows the ins and outs of the local market — can be a tremendous resource. Whether you’re downsizing your place or buying your first home, it’s worth considering how a pro can help.
To that end, below are 10 ways a real estate agent can help you with your homebuying process. Although geared toward buyers, many of these points hold true for sellers, too. A real estate agent can:
1. Serve as a guide
Even if you’ve purchased a home or land before, a local agent can help you identify and address what needs to be taken care of (and in what order) to satisfy local laws, rules and regulations. Plus, in an age in which digital criminals seek to trick eager homebuyers, a good agent may even help protect you against fraud.
In other words, with the right real estate professional to guide you, you may be able to sidestep challenges along the way.
2. Translate jargon and explain processes
Real estate transactions are based on precise, at-times complicated language that can take time and energy to master.
With an agent by your side, however, you may get up to speed more quickly with essential words, phrases and processes you need to know and work with such as:
- Analyzing comps (short for “comparative properties,” or similar homes that have sold recently)
- Requesting proof of prequalification from a mortgage lender
- Placing money in escrow after you’ve made an offer
3. Expand your search tools
Although it’s fairly easy to get acquainted with neighborhoods in your target area using a laptop or smartphone, agents have additional tools (e.g., the local Multiple Listing Service, or MLS) and professional networks through which they may be able to help you identify possible properties.
Through these connections and resources, an agent may even catch wind of a great home before it officially goes on the market — or turns up on a popular real estate website or digital app.
In other words, by working with an agent, you may speed up your search to find a home to love.
4. Help you prioritize property features
When you first start your realty search, you may have a long list of features and details you’d like to have in your new home. Often, however, the homebuying process means narrowing down that list to the true essentials.
Through your initial conversations and by walking a couple of properties with you, an agent can gain important insights into your wants and needs. They may even help you prioritize some over others. From there, they can help you sort through listings to see which ones are most likely to be a good fit.
5. Help you maintain your focus
Many a buyer has walked into a home and instantly become charmed by a gorgeous view from the living room, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances or a tree-covered backyard. Sometimes big emotions sparked by such details can temporarily cloud a buyer’s focus, perhaps leading someone to make an offer that’s bigger than one can reasonably afford.
Because they’ve coached other buyers through similar situations, however, an experienced real estate professional may be able to help you stay in tune with your budget and goals.
In other words, a good agent can help guide you toward making more reasonable choices.
6. Ease your mind in tough moments
Sometimes the road to homeownership proves, in a word, bumpy. A tight market, unrealistic seller expectations about their home’s value, conflicts between partners about what both individuals want in a home — seasoned agents have seen it all.
Not only can they coach you past unforeseen obstacles, but also they may provide reassurance when you’re on the right path.
7. Assist with negotiations
If only buying a home were as simple as running to the corner store to grab a jug of milk! Instead, it’s commonplace for buyers and sellers to go back and forth over the terms of an offer, even when the price a buyer has put forward is generous.
As no one even knows for sure how an offer will be received, it’s good to have an agent there, someone who is on call to represent your interests to the seller’s agent.
Looking to buy a home under a contingency (e.g., purchasing only if your current home sells)? Experienced agents know how to finesse that process, too.
8. Provide context and background on properties
In addition to having access to information about a prospective home, its prior sales and the local real estate market, it's also possible that there is an existing rapport with the seller’s agent. Thus, through their professional networks and knowledge, they may be able to help you access additional details about a specific property that interests you.
For example, they could help you determine whether a home’s new roof was due to a hail storm or other weather event. Or they may able to get the name of the original landscaping lighting company, should you want to tinker with the lighting system after your purchase.
9. Be at your side on closing day
Now, imagine that, after a good deal of time and effort, it’s time to meet the sellers and their agent at closing to sign the stack of paperwork required to complete the transaction.
If that scenario provokes a little anxiety, you certainly wouldn’t be the first buyer to feel that way. Buying a home can be stressful. Luckily, your agent will be on hand to help explain the closing process, answer any last-minute questions you may have and celebrate when you’ve signed the very last line.
10. Introduce you to your new neighborhood
Whether they’re meeting you for the first time at the corner coffee shop or delivering a basket of goodies to your new doorstep on moving day, real estate agents are often among the first people to greet newcomers.
A friendly, knowledgeable agent can help you get settled. Plus, if you discover you need someone to help clean your chimney or paint your fence, they often can make referrals to reliable locals who provide these services.
When you select a real estate agent, you’re tapping into a network of people willing to help make your transition into a new home as smooth as possible. From professional relationships to in-depth knowledge about a neighborhood, a good agent is prepared to walk alongside you, offering support and encouragement.
Are you planning to buy (or sell) property soon? Count on one of the agents affiliated with RBFCU’s preferred real estate partner, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, to help you move beyond your expectations.
Download our easy guide to learn about getting a mortgage and buying a home. Topics include:
- Where should you start?
- What can you afford to buy?
- How's your credit score?
- Down payment and closing costs
- Understanding your mortgage payment
Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.
Kuper Realty Holding Company, LLC dba Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty is a subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph‑Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).
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REALTORS® work to protect you from fraud (no date) www.texasrealestate.com. Available at: https://www.texasrealestate.com/members/posts/realtors-work-to-protect-you-from-fraud/ (Accessed: April 25, 2023).
Section 1: Multiple listing service (MLS) defined (2012) www.nar.realtor. Available at: https://www.nar.realtor/handbook-on-multiple-listing-policy/section-1-multiple-listing-service-mls-defined (Accessed: April 25, 2023).
Seth, S. (2009) 12 steps of a real estate closing, Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/10/closing-home-process.asp (Accessed: April 25, 2023).