When you hire a real estate agent to help you buy your next home in San Diego, what kind of service should you expect? At a minimum, buyers’ agents are certainly available to assist with negotiating a purchase price and taking care of paperwork. But beyond that, what other services should be involved in the arrangement?
Property Choices You Weren’t Aware Of
In today’s world, buyers have the internet available to browse home listings. Often, buyers bring their home choices to the agent, who then arranges viewing appointments. However, an excellent buyer’s agent will also bring available properties to your attention that you weren’t aware of. Maybe these properties haven’t yet been publicly listed in the MLS, or the owners are only making the property available to select buyers. In any case, you shouldn’t be the one doing all the legwork finding properties to look at.
Help Getting Pre-Approved
Serious buyers should be able to rely on their real estate agents to help them get pre-approved. While many buyers are pre-qualified, there’s a big difference between qualified status and approved status. A great real estate agent will help buyers to understand how pre-approval status puts them in a much better position to move quickly on a home purchase. The pre-approval process can be lengthy and a little tedious, so the help of a seasoned buyer’s agent is a tremendous asset.
Inside Information About Neighborhoods
Again, the internet is a vast resource for statistical data about neighborhoods. Buyers can scour sites such as Sperling’s Best Places and City Data. But nothing beats getting specific information about a neighborhood from a buyer’s agent who knows the area intimately. As a buyer, you should expect that your agent will be well-informed about the history of the neighborhood, as well as planned community developments in the near future, nearby amenities, commute options, and more.
Overseeing Home Inspection
At some point in the buying process, you’ll be using the services of a home inspector to review the property. Technically, your real estate agent Isn’t required to be a part of this process at all. However, a full service buyer’s agent won’t stand by and have a buyer go through this without some guidance. Seasoned buyer’s agents have extensive experience with a wide variety of home inspection items. They have the background to know which items brought up on an inspection report warrant further consideration, versus those that can safely weigh less in your buying decision.
Keeping You Informed
A good buyer’s agent will keep you informed every step of the way through the buying process. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re always the one making contact with your buyer’s agent. They should check in with you frequently regarding any offers that you’ve made. You shouldn’t have to wait for days to hear from your agent, even if there’s no new information from the seller’s agent. They should explain what next steps are, for buyers with little or no experience in home purchasing. You should feel like you know exactly what’s happening, why, and when it’s happening.
Real estate agents are typically not certified as financial advisors. Therefore, they cannot offer official advice when it comes to your home financing. However, experienced buyer’s agents are able to offer some financial guidance insofar as their personal experience. They may be able to suggest things like maintaining your credit position while awaiting the final loan approval on a home purchase, or savvy negotiating tips regarding points, increasing good faith deposits, and similar financial issues. Some buyer’s agents maintain a network of related service providers, so they may be able to recommend a professional financial advisor when necessary.
Getting Behind the Scene
A good buyer’s agent will be able to get behind the scene a little bit, ensuring that all disclosures about the property are accurate and in order. Buyer’s agents make sure to the best of their ability that the property doesn’t pose potential hazards for their client. While this isn’t the agent’s sole responsibility, it is something that a good agent will make every effort to do for the buyer.
As you can see, buyer’s agents can and should provide many more services than simply driving you around from house to house and putting together your home purchase paperwork. The value of a quality buyer’s agent cannot be overstated. When you find one that offers all these services and more, you’ll know you have an agent for life.