House hunters searching for the perfect place don’t have to go it alone. A real estate professional can help guide them through what can be a difficult journey.
Purchasing a home can be extremely challenging — especially for the uninitiated.
“First-time buyers don’t know what they don’t know,” explained realtor Mabel Guzman, a member of the nonprofit National Association of REALTORS®. “It’s the job of the real estate agent to be an information resource for their clients, and to teach them how the real estate process works.”
Teaming up with a pro
Guzman says buying or selling a home can be complicated, so consumers need someone in their corner.
“REALTORS® — real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® — don’t just open doors. They bring specific neighborhood expertise, and they know how to negotiate a deal in their client’s best interests.”
Agents who are REALTORS® understand the home pricing trends within a community, local zoning laws, and current market conditions. They know what kinds of financing options are available and how to negotiate the best terms for their clients.
Taking advantage of industry knowledge
With the ubiquity of online real estate tools, many first-time buyers think they don’t need a real estate professional, unaware of the possible issues that could arise.
“What if, for example, the home inspection uncovers serious issues with the property?” Guzman pointed out. “The buyer will want a real estate professional who is a REALTOR® on their side to help them negotiate a credit on repairs or even a lower sale price.
“REALTORS® are bound by a Code of Ethics to act in their clients’ best interests, which is a crucial support mechanism that first-time buyers wouldn’t have if they forgo using a real estate agent.”
Guzman says one of the most common mistakes first-time buyers make is not getting pre-approved for a mortgage. “Pre-approval gives them a solid idea of what they can afford,” she said. “Without it, buyers may be looking at properties they’ll never be able to afford, which is a frustrating experience.
“A common misconception is that buyers need to put down 20% of the purchase price. The median down payment is actually 6%, according to National Association of REALTORS® research. There are many sources of assistance for qualifying first-timers, and experienced agents can point buyers in the right direction.”
Choosing the right professional
According to Guzman, buyers should interview at least three agents to find the person they connect with. Consider local expertise, responsiveness, and reputation.
“When making what is likely the largest investment of your life, you can lose time and opportunity without the support of a knowledgeable agent,” Guzman added. “Choose an agent who is a REALTOR®, someone who will be your advocate and ally, especially when you have a tough decision to make about your next home.”
House hunters can learn more about the dos and don’ts of shopping for a home by tuning in to Hulu’s “First-Time Buyer,” which features actual REALTORS® and clients.
“‘First-Time Buyer’ by the National Association of REALTORS® is the show I wish was available when I purchased my first home,” said Alicia Bailey, head of production for the National Association of REALTORS®. “Consumers certainly have their pick when it comes to entertaining real estate shows in the market, but ‘First-Time Buyer’ stands out because each 15-minute episode delivers snackable, educational, and relatable information.”
According to Bailey, the show offers a more realistic portrayal of the homebuying process than others on the air.
“The authenticity, and level of care and guidance that agents provide resonates with millions of consumers who care less about the drama and more about how to attain the dream of homeownership,” she said.