Purchasing Your First Home? Use A Buyers Agent
The Author: Victoria Stankard
Buying your first new home is an enormous learning curve. The process can be overwhelming at best without a skilled real estate professional by
your side. A buyer’s agent can be just the person to walk you through your new home buying experience.

A buyer’s agent is there to protect the interests of the home buyer, while a traditional real estate agent is primarily working for the home seller.

As with most people out there, I really didn’t have a clue as to what a buyer’s agent was and why I should consider using one. Hopefully, this
article will clarify the function of a buyer’s agent and point out the many benefits of choosing one to guide you through your new home purchase.

Being prepared and working with a professional buyer’s agent will give you the first home purchase advantage in the real estate game. So,
before even getting started with an agent, here are a few suggestions to get you armed and informed.

Educate yourself on the basics of home buying. Do some Internet research, talk to a mortgage lender, real estate agent, or bank loan officer.
Armed with a plan, you can save yourself time and money.

Figure out what you need – square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, storage space requirements, lot size, children or pet
accommodations, proximity to work or school – vs. what you want – carpeting, wood floors, bay windows, scenic view, swimming pool, roof color.
Research and compare neighborhoods, school systems, crime rate, and environment.

Know your credit score. Your credit score plays a significant role in your ability to get the best possible interest rate and terms on your mortgage.
Your credit score ranges from 340 to 850. A credit report contains personal information such as your name, social security number, current and
previous addresses, employment history; public records from the court system including bankruptcy, foreclosures, or accounts in collection; late
payments; credit history; and credit inquiries. Pull a copy of your credit report and correct any errors you find on it. Pay down debts, pay bills on
time, don’t close any old accounts and seek advice on how to improve your score. You might even consider moving the target date for
purchasing your new home to give yourself time to get your credit into pristine condition.

Don’t fall into the trap of overspending on a home. Purchasing a home is an emotional experience and of course you want to purchase the nicest
home that you can comfortably afford. To avoid the stress of becoming house poor, get pre-qualified or at least pre-approved as soon as
possible and work up a budget for your new home. This will make it easier to keep a cool head and make a decision you can happily live with.

Whether you’re working with a real estate agent, a buyer’s agent, or doing it yourself, you need to ask questions such as:

What types of home inspections are required in your area?
Who will conduct the title search and what is the fee for that service?
What does the closing process entail?
Who will be acting as the “settlement agent,‿ the professional who handles the final paperwork for you to sign?
One of the real estate industry’s best-kept secrets is the buyer’s agent. A relatively new development, this professional is legally bound to protect
the interests of only the home buyer, never the seller. An exclusive buyer’s agent is dedicated to you and will do whatever it takes to make your
new home purchase go as smoothly as possible.

Most home buyers search for a home over the Internet before contacting an agent or broker, according to the National Association of Realtors
(NAR). In response to consumer demand, many buyer’s agents have Web sites that offer comprehensive information for first-time buyers. From
specific content sections to mini-courses to online seminars and workshops, these real estate professionals can provide you with a lot of free
information at the touch of a keystroke. Like a skilled coach, he or she can take you step-by-step through the complex process and help you
maneuver through the inevitable pitfalls that will likely occur.

In the 2006 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the organization found that 64 percent of all home buyers hired a buyer’s agent in 2006, an
increase of nearly 20 percent over the past four years. Here are some key advantages a buyer’s agent offers:

Some of the benefits of using the services of a buyer’s agent are:

Will show you a wide range of properties, not just his or her listings.
Never divulge any personal or financial information (such as an impending divorce or relocation) to the seller that can be used to sway
negotiations.
Fully disclose all information, both negative and positive, about every property under consideration.
Not cost you a thing as the buyer’s agent commission is paid by the seller or builder and does not ever affect the price of the house.
Expertly lead you through the complicated maze of home inspections, financing options, legal representation, and insurance requirements.
Give you peace of mind that your interests, not the seller’s, are always being protected.
A small but increasing number of realtors are qualified buyer’s agents. Some real estate agents do double duty by acting as a selling agent most
of the time and by moonlighting as a buyer’s agent. There are also firms that employ only exclusive buyer’s agents so you never have to wonder
who it is your real estate professional is serving.

By taking the necessary steps to get yourself prepared and hiring a seasoned real estate buyer’s agent, your first new home purchase can
actually be a stress free and enjoyable experience.