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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

How to get the most from your agent or broker

How to get the most from your agent or broker

Millions of Americans may now be considering buying a home for the first time in their lives, and while they may have plenty of enthusiasm, they don't have a lot of experience with the housing market. As a result, many of them rely on a real estate agent or broker to help guide them through the process, which can help them glean plenty of expert insight into the homebuying process. That, in turn, will help them make the most informed decisions possible when it comes to finding properties that meet their needs.

Perhaps the best way for would-be buyers to approach this process is to talk with a few agents to find one who seems best suited to working with them throughout the process, according to The Balance. In much the same way shoppers shouldn't just accept the first mortgage offer they receive, sight unseen, they shouldn't work with the first agent they speak with no matter how competent they seem. Getting a number of different opinions – from agents themselves and by checking out reviews from past clients – will be key to making the right decision about an agent.

Getting it right

Once an agent has been selected, it's important to strategize about how best to go through the home search process, the report said. Agents will be able to give inexperienced buyers great advice about how they should approach open houses, such as how they shouldn't ask questions about the seller or their motivations for putting their houses on the market, and how to proceed when it comes to communicating with listing agents on an ongoing basis, particularly if shoppers may want to investigate the homes in question.

Buyers' agents will typically be well-versed in what homes in the area are worth and, therefore, what shoppers should expect to pay for them, according to The Washington Post. That, in turn, may help buyers make the most informed decisions about not only whether to bid for a home, but also what to bid, and whether they should make repeat bids past a certain point. Agents will also be able to let shoppers know what to expect if they get into a bit of a bidding war.

What to keep in mind
When finding a buyer's agent, shoppers should keep in mind that those real estate professionals are obligated to look out for that client's interests first and foremost, according to Nerdwallet. In some cases, however, agents might try to sell shoppers on houses being listed by their own agency, which can be a bit of a conflict of interests. In these cases, it may be wise to move on from those agents as a means of ensuring would-be buyers will be able to get the best possible deals on the homes they want.

As with anything else in real estate, the more research that can be done well in advance by hopeful homeowners, the better off they will be when it comes to getting a home and mortgage that fits their needs for years to come.

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