The process of buying or selling a home can be intimidating, but with a few steps, you can build your knowledge of available properties that fit your needs and find a professional real estate agent to help guide you through the process.
Real estate agents are trained individuals who will work with you to buy or sell a home. If you’re buying a house, they may help you find appropriate properties for your needs and budget; negotiate with sellers; put together legal paperwork including offers; and recommend trusted local home inspectors, lawyers and contractors. If you’re selling, they will advise you on how best to prepare your home for sale; list your home on online sites and local papers; conduct open houses; negotiate with buyers and their agents; and manage the sales process. Agents must be licensed by the state in which you want to buy or sell a home and a good agent is knowledgeable about both sides of the deal and will advise you every step of the way.
Prioritizing your needs
Consider the details that will impact your home search or sale. For example: What’s your timeframe for buying or selling your home? If you’re buying, what is your ideal location? What is your budget — and have you been pre-approved for a loan?
For home buyers, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features in a home. How many bedrooms and bathrooms you would like to have? Do you need a home office, open family space, a garage, or a fenced yard? How close would you like to be to neighborhood schools and shops?
For sellers, consider timing, the anticipated market value of your house, and the unique attributes or benefits of your house and how they can be shown to buyers.
Simultaneously, put together questions for prospective agents. You might ask: What’s your process for buying or selling a house? How many home sales are you directly involved in each year? What do your services include? What isn’t included that I will need?
Researching and finding an agent
Ask friends, family and co-workers for recommendations, but remember that you are hiring an agent to do a job for you. Take the time to get to know them and ensure they understand your needs and are a good, trusted partner for you. Attend open houses in your desired neighborhood to learn about available properties, talk with prospective agents, and ask questions. You can research local properties, agents, and open houses online at Pensacola Area MLS or Baldwin County MLS.
With a little planning, you’ll find an agent who understands your needs and can help guide you through the process.