By Ryan C. Benton
I know. Those popular “house-hunting” shows on cable make it look easy. Take a look at three houses, pick your favorite and, in less than an hour, you can own your dream home! Easy peasy, right?
But the real-life real estate process is quite different. There are many steps you don’t see on TV, and some moments can be overwhelming. You need a professional in your corner to guide you through the entire process.
Here are a few guidelines for keeping your real estate transaction as smooth as possible.
Like you would with a doctor or an accountant, consider finding your Realtor through referrals. Good agents often get their business through word of mouth, so ask around among family, friends and colleagues.
Chances are someone you know and trust will be able to refer you to a friendly and knowledgeable professional. Because you are connected by a mutual associate, you will already feel a higher level of trust and connection.
Many would-be buyers can expect to sign an agreement that creates a formal relationship between client and agent. This agreement also explains the agent’s duties. This means that when you, as the client, see a home that interests you, you’ll likely contact your Realtor directly for more information. In turn, your agent will call the listing agent on your behalf and set up an appointment to see the property.
It pays to do your homework and know where you stand before looking at homes. Get a handle on your budget as well as neighborhoods that interest you and the types of mortgages and loan products for which you qualify. Know your needs and wants.
Tell your Realtor your non-negotiables as well as the elements you’d consider “perks” that would be nice to have. This information gives the agent a reference from the start on potential houses within your realm of possibility.
Tell your Realtor how you operate, too. If you want him or her to pick you up at your front door and drop you off after showings, explain that. If you plan on meeting at the homes you’d like to see, that’s fine, too. Do you prefer text or email? Let your Realtor know your preferred communication method so he or she can correspond quickly and effectively as new properties are listed.
Set realistic goals and a time frame to find or sell your home.
Finally, here’s the most important tip: If you are unhappy with something, say so. Your Realtor wants to make sure you are pleased and will make every effort to do so. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Whether one is buying or selling, real estate is no small endeavor, so find a Realtor with whom you feel comfortable asking a million questions. We want to make sure you understand the buying (or selling) process inside and out.
Seek clarification until you understand.
Your Realtor plays a significant role in shaping the next chapter of your life. We are here to advise, guide and refer you to the right resources, even when it’s stressful.
It’s not just about the transaction; it’s about a relationship. Remember, we are here to help.
Ryan C. Benton is a Realtor with Rose & Womble Realty in Chesapeake and a member of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association. In October, he was recognized as one of Inside Business’ “Top 40 Under 40” honorees. For more on HRRA, go to www.hrra.com. Contact Benton at 757-544-0383 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit TheHometownAdvantage.com.