5 Important Questions to Ask your Real Estate Agent Before Buying a Home
Property remains the best investment that you can make, even in today's economic climate.
If you own a house, you will slowly-but-surely build equity and have a place you will call your own one day once you've paid it off.
And because buying a home might seem like a lengthy and complicated process, this often scares people away.
This is where the help of a professional estate agent comes in. They are your guide throughout the home-buying process and they will safely deliver you to the other side.
You should, of course, know what the estate agent can offer you, so here are 5 questions you should ask the agent before purchasing a home:
No.1 - Do you know who you are dealing with?
First of all, get to know the person that you are receiving help and advice from. You should be able to form a positive relationship with your real estate agent and have open lines of communication.
Ensure that the agent knows what he/she is talking about and that they are certified (Fidelity Fund Certificate, aka FFC).
Having an estate agent that you can trust will make the process easier and less stressful than someone you don't connect with.
No.2 - Why is the owner selling and how long has the property been on the market?
The agent is not obliged to answer this question, but if you have a good relationship with them, they will be more open in telling you.
By asking how long the house has been on the market for will also give you a clear indication whether there are any problems that you might have missed and other factors involved to the dormant state of the house on the market.
No.3 - What offers have they had so far?
The agent will tell you whether there have been any offers on the house so far, but they don't have to disclose the amounts if the offer is still live (i.e. hasn't been accepted or declined yet).
No.4 - How did the agent decide on the asking price?
A professional real estate agent should be able to give you more information about the asking price and why the price stands as is.
They should be able to provide you with statistics and facts that serve as evidence as to how they arrived at the asking price. They should have looked at prices of similar homes nearby, how long homes are staying on the market, and the current market situation (often referred to as a Comparative Market Analysis, aka 'comps').
If you don't have a good idea of the prices of properties in the area, your agent should provide you with this information.
No.5 - What financial obligation are you looking at?
You should review your credit report before you take the plunge.
Ensure that you have enough money in order to put down the deposit that you planned for as well as covering the transfer costs.
Get pre-approved on a home loan as soon as possible. This will prevent heartbreak when you find a house just to hear that you can't afford it.
Ask your real estate agent to calculate the exact bond repayment that you will be responsible for. Also, remember to ask what the rates, taxes, and levies charges will be as well as the costs associated with maintaining the house.
Having a trustworthy agent on your side during the home-buying process makes the ride smoother and you can focus on the small, important things that might need more of your attention.