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I want to buy a home. Where should I start?

by Catherine Fisher, Managing Principal Broker of Town & Country Realty

You have decided to buy a house – that’s great! But where do you start? If you are like most people, you start online looking at realtor.com and other websites. You probably also stop by an open house or 6. Both of those are great! Before you go much further on your own, you want to do a few things:

First, choose a REALTOR® to represent you and only you! You want a REALTOR® advocating for you, helping you with contract negotiations, and navigating timelines. Pick one that you like and trust – someone with experience, professionalism and loyalty. Do NOT pick the same REALTOR® that represents the Seller. If you were to do that, a dual representation or dual agency situation would be created, and the REALTOR® will be required to be neutral to both the Buyer and Seller. In a dual agency situation, neither the Buyer nor the Seller has someone advocating for them exclusively in the transaction. Some might even call dual representation, no representation!

There is a myth that a Buyer can save money if they use the same Broker as the Seller. This is not true. The total commission for both the Buyer’s Broker and the Seller’s Broker, which is normally paid by the Seller, has been agreed upon by the Seller and the listing Broker prior to the house being listed for sale. If the same Broker represents both sides, there is no reduction in sale price – the Broker receives the entire commission instead of sharing it! Additionally, you, as a Buyer, should not need to pay an additional commission above and beyond what the Seller is paying, in most cases. So, get your own REALTOR® to work specifically for you because you are paying for it anyway!

Second, work with the REALTOR® you have chosen to help find a well-known, ethical, local lender. Have that lender preapprove you for the amount you can afford and that you feel comfortable with. Then you will know exactly how much maximum to spend on your new home. Additionally, you want to make sure you are prepared to write a strong offer – the strongest offers have a strong preapproval attached – one from a well-known, ethical, local lender.

Once you have done both of those steps, your REALTOR® will show you homes that meet your desired criteria, including homes that are “coming soon”. Most homes require an appointment to view, so work with your REALTOR® to find a time that works for both of you to view the home. If your REALTOR® says they are too busy for you then you did not pick the right REALTOR®, try again. You are not “bothering them” when you ask to see a house – that’s their job! Given the low inventory in most price points, you might not be able to find your dream home, but you will find one you love.

To find an experienced, professional, loyal REALTOR®, and your next home, Town & Country Realty is here to help! We have been providing the place you love to come home to since 1951.