Steps to Take Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent
When buying or selling a home, a Realtor is a critical part of the equation. This specialist will be your advocate to make sure you’re represented properly. If you’re buying a home, they ensure you purchase for a fair price, while if you’re selling, they advise you on how to get the most return on your investment.
If you’re considering hiring a real estate agent, be prepared to take some important preliminary steps to get things moving and make things easier for whomever you hire to act on your behalf. Buying or selling a home is a process that involves both you and your Realtor, and it requires some work on your part to achieve your objectives.
One of the leading reasons people don’t succeed once they’ve entered the market is that they failed to get their financial affairs in order or to understand how market forces impact them. That will hamper an agent’s efforts to find a home that meets your criteria or get your asking price, and it’ll put you at a disadvantage. Remember, you should be ready to show your home or start placing bids within weeks of identifying an agent. Realtor Jason Buck advises that you take these steps before beginning your journey with your real estate agent.
It’s important to know how much money you have to work with before contracting with a Realtor. There’s not much sense in getting an agent busy looking for homes if you don’t have a good idea of what kind of home you want, where you want to live and, most importantly, what kind of mortgage loan you can secure. Take the time to shop around and talk to at least four lenders before entering into an agreement. This is a necessary first step because, depending on your finances and credit standing, you may need to find a lender who can offer services you need to get a loan that works for you.
Ask your lender for a pre-approval letter, which certifies you as a viable credit risk and a serious buyer with adequate financial backing. A pre-approval letter can help you win a bid and convince a seller that you’re the right person to do business with.
Research the market
Whether buying or selling, it’s important to know what’s going on in the housing market in your area. As a seller, you need to establish a competitive and realistic selling price in order to earn sufficient profit. That means investigating the price and value of comparable homes in your neighborhood. Market research can also tell you if now’s not the right time to sell or buy. Sometimes, the best decision you can make is to wait until the market turns in your favor before proceeding with an agent.
As a buyer, drive around and view areas they’re attracted to and prioritize what is important for their future home. Do you want to be in a good school district or maybe within acceptable driving distance from work? Defining what you want and need will help out your agent immensely.
Clean and declutter
As a seller, it’s vital that you do a great job of staging your home for potential buyers. An agent can help with that, but first your home must be immaculately clean and well-ordered before you show it to a Realtor. If you don’t have time to thoroughly deep clean your home, opt to hire a professional cleaning service.
Consider having the carpeting and furniture professionally cleaned as well. Carpet fibers and upholstery fabric tend to get dingy, and both can trap odors that will turn off people touring your home. You can hire a company to take care of both of these tasks for you, and as Angi notes, your furniture may have a warranty that covers the cost to clean it. Take some time to research local companies’ customer reviews, and reach out to at least three for quotes so you can ensure you get the best price.
Finally, get rid of all the clutter, those loose objects and papers that keep your home from looking polished. Buyers are looking for a home with plenty of flow and space, and a cluttered home will definitely work against you in that respect. Similarly, excess furniture should be moved out or placed in storage, and all signs of pet ownership – a major red flag for buyers – must be concealed. No urine stains, hairballs or scratched table legs on display.
Do yourself a favor and make sure your finances and credit are in good shape before engaging a Realtor. Do your market homework and put the time into getting your home ready to sell. If you can check these items off your to-do list, you’ll be ahead of the game by the time you meet Realtor Jason Buck to help you buy or sell your property.