When you decide that you want to buy a home, your first task doesn't have to be to hire a real estate agent. While you can certainly feel free to do so, there are a number of other steps that you can complete before you get this professional representing you. Taking care of some matters in advance of hiring your agent will show the agent that you're very serious about buying a home, and he or she will get busily working to find the right property for you. Here are some useful steps to complete before seeking representation from an agent.
Talk To A Lender
When you hire a real estate agent, one of the first questions that he or she will ask is how much money you're approved for. If you don't already know the answer, you'll need to meet with a lender. Thus, it's ideal to talk to a lender before you hire your agent. When you schedule an appointment with a lender, this financial professional will obtain your credit history, verify your employment, and perform other tasks to determine how much money you'll be approved for. By doing this work in advance, you'll be able to give your agent a clear number.
Understand Your Exact Search Criteria
The entire process of searching for a home to buy will go smoother if you take the time to decide your specific search criteria in advance. When you hire your agent, you'll be able to say that you want, for example, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a garage and a fenced-in backyard in a specific part of town. This gives your agent more to work with than you simply saying that you want to buy a home but you don't know what you want to buy.
Figure Out Your Time Frame
You should also give some thought to the time frame in which you'd like to buy a home. Your agent will ask this question, so having a carefully considered answer will be in your best interest. There may be some uncontrollable elements that you'll need to share — for example, perhaps you currently own a home and you're not sure how long it will take to sell. Your real estate agent will tailor his or her approach based on your buying time frame. For example, if you're looking to buy right away, the agent will pull a number of suitable properties and look to set up showings for you in short order.