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Buying Your First House? How to Choose a Realtor that's Right for You.

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If you're buying your very first house, you're most likely searching for your dream home on one or several apps or taking virtual tours via online listings. While online house searching can maximize your ability to compare and contrast homes by the features that are important to you, do they, or can they, replace the services of a professional Realtor? We've put together some FAQs about the services of local Realtors®. Read on!

Do I need a Realtor to buy a house?

You bet! Navigating a real estate purchase is a complicated process. An experienced professional who knows the market can save you time, money and heartache by helping you find the right home, and make and negotiate the best purchase terms on your behalf. Equally as important, they’ll help reduce your stress by walking you through each step of the homebuying process, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. A Realtor is also professionally connected and can recommend a reputable lender, inspector and other service providers.

How do I find a good Realtor?

You’ll most likely be spending the next six months working with your Realtor, so it’s important to find someone whom you like and who will be able to safeguard your financial interests. Ask friends, co-workers and family members for references and find one with the experience, skill and personality that matches your needs. Your lender can also be a valuable resource for helping you find an agent.

Do I pay my Realtor to help me find a house?

As the buyer, you won’t pay any fees to an agent. Your agent will be compensated by the seller, even if the home for sale is not their listing.

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A good Realtor will listen carefully to your priorities and won’t waste time showing you a mid-century modern ranch when you’re pining for a craftsman bungalow. They should also know the local area inside and out, especially if you’re moving into a new community. Not only will they be up on market trends, they’ll know about local schools, commute times and under-the-radar red flags that could have a negative effect on the neighborhood.

Remember, it’s a Realtor’s job to have a thorough understanding of the market.  This includes providing you with a comparative market analysis to help you understand the trends and determine the price to offer in your preferred neighborhood. It will also provide you with “need to know” facts such as how long the property has been on the market, whether the price has come down during that time and, of course, the asking price.

Is it important for my agent to be licensed?

Yes, make sure the agent is licensed by the state; about half of all agents are designated Realtors, which means they belong to the National Association of Realtors and agree to abide by NAR’s stringent code of ethics. All Realtors and real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a computerized database of properties currently on the market, which changes daily. Your agent should be able to provide you with new listings to consider as they become available, and will also include important demographics and market value information on the area you are seeking to buy a home.

Janet Veach
Janet Veach
Janet Veach is the Communications Specialist for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. As the former Communications Director with the Alzheimer’s Association in Central Illinois, she believes that building strong relationships leads to dynamic partnerships that can dramatically improve our neighborhoods and communities. The mother of three sons, she has heard many a good story, and specializes in creating content that educates, communicates our core values and promotes genuine relationships with our customers.

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