The Importance of a Buyer's Agent
A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors.
An experienced buyer's agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice.
With a buyer's agent, you'll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
Look for an agent who understands your lifestyle. Make sure the agent knows the neighborhoods you're interested in, and can answer questions you'll have about the location.
No other real estate office is better prepared to help you buy real estate around Lake Conroe than The Shields Group. We're the experts.
What are the Costs Involved?
As a buyer, you don't pay your agent directly. Instead, the agent receives an agreed-upon portion of the listing agent's sales commission (usually half), which is paid by the seller.
If you're thinking this structure works against you by giving your buyer's agent an incentive to let you pay more than you need to, consider this:
- The increase in a buyer's agent commission on, say, a $5,000 to $10,000 jump in price would be only $125 to $250. The Shields Group agents must put your interest first, always. We depend on customer referrals for future business and our reputation is too important to risk over a small increase in commission dollars. Your satisfaction – which can generate referrals to your friends and family – is the lifeblood of their careers.
- Providing client level services, we are your buyer's agent and negotiate the best price and terms for you.
- We will help you work out a realistic idea of the home best suited to your needs - size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping, and other personal preferences.
- We have access to a listing of all available homes in the multi-list system, can evaluate them in terms of your needs and affordability, and will not waste your time showing you unsuitable homes.
- We can suggest simple, imaginative changes that could make a home more suitable for you and improve its utility and value.
- We supply information on real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities.
- We help you familiarize with the closing process and will obtain closing figures in advance of closing for your review.
- We will provide you with a list of qualified home inspectors, pest inspectors, surveyors, and help to coordinate inspection appointments
Every Step of the Way
Your The Shields Group agent will walk you through every step of the buying process, beginning with a house-hunting strategy that combines your personal preferences with expert analysis from your agent and a mix of relevant market data, neighborhood exploring and online search.
For some, the search takes a while; others find what they want right away. In either case, your real estate agent can be a huge resource of insight and guidance, working through issues or complications that arise along the way.
Here's a general outline of what to expect during a home purchase, from the buyer's perspective.
Submitting a Purchase Offer
This is it! You've found the home of your dreams, looked over disclosure documents, reviewed comparable sales data, talked it over with your agent and submitted an offer. The sellers may accept your first offer, but more often will return a counteroffer. In fact, additional negotiations are common, and your agent will help you through this generally stressful stage.
The Offer is Accepted
Once everyone is happy with the terms, the parties have reached what is known as mutual acceptance and enter into a purchase and sale agreement.
Putting Up Earnest Money
To solidify your intent to buy, you'll place a deposit, or earnest money, on the property. The amount varies, but is generally at least 1 percent of the purchase price. You'll write the check to the escrow company, not the seller. Note: This money counts toward your down payment later.
The earnest money deposit goes into an escrow account with the title company that will close the transaction. This is where all funds will be held until closing, when they are then distributed to the right people (lender, mortgage broker, title insurer, real estate agents, etc.).
Applying for a Mortgage
This step is streamlined if you've already been preapproved for a loan (which is a smart thing to do). If not, you'll begin the loan application process now.
The Property Appraisal
The lender needs key information about the property before granting a loan. This is when potential problems can come to light. For example, the appraisal could show a lower value than the purchase price, or the lender could have trouble finding comparable homes. Also, the title search could turn up liens or other problems.
The Home Inspection
You'll hire an inspector – generally, your agent will suggest one, or provide several options – to check the home and point out minor and major problems that should be fixed before closing. At this point, you still have the option of backing out of the deal. Through your agent, you'll submit a list of requested work, and the sellers have the option to complete the tasks, do some of them but not others, or reject the request. The sides will negotiate until reaching an agreement.
Resolving All Contingencies
If the house passes inspection, appraisal and title search, and everything is good to go, then all contingencies can be removed, paving the way to a closing.
Once contingencies are removed and financing is set, all parties sign a seemingly endless stack of documents, and the transaction closes.
When the final signatures are in place, it's time to put down the pens, shake hands, exchange smiles and start packing for the move!