Since the advent of websites like Zillow and RedFin, you might suspect that fewer homebuyers are using Realtors to find and purchase their homes. However, research shows that nearly 90 percent of all buyers still partner with a real estate agent—proof that even in our digital age, Realtors are extremely valuable to individuals looking for their next home.
Of course, every Realtor wants to help his or her clients find the home of their dreams, at the right price and in the ideal location. But the agent can only do this if the clients take time to really consider what they want, how much they can afford, and where they see themselves in the coming years. And, of course, the clients need to communicate their priorities to the Realtor throughout the entire process.
As you begin the search for your next home, it’s vital to be open and honest with your Realtor to ensure he or she fully understands what you’re looking for—whether you’re looking to build or thinking about buying a pre-existing home. Here, we count down the top four things you should talk to your Realtor about when buying a house:
1. His or her experience with property searches.
If you’re planning on building your next home, Realtors can be invaluable for finding the right piece of land. You want to ensure that you end up partnering with someone who is familiar with the local property market and has helped negotiate land purchases in the past.
Look for a builder that has a close relationship with the Realtor community. That way, you can rest assured that you’ll have professional help during your land search. This is particularly valuable in areas where open land is limited and properties sell quickly. When you identify a piece of land you’re ready to buy, you’ll want a quality Realtor on your side to prepare your bid quickly and negotiate a fair price.
2. The type of home you want to build (or buy).
Of course, when you’re searching for a pre-existing home, you’ll tell your Realtor approximately what you’re looking for in terms of square footage, number of bedrooms, size of garage, living space, and more. But it’s also important to relay this information—and more—when you’re searching for open land.
The more detail your Realtor has on the type of home you’re building, the better equipped he or she will be to find the type of property that’s best for you. Factors such as acreage, view, location, amount of trees, and grade of the land should all be considered for custom homes.
3. The comps in your area.
A comparative market analysis is a listing of homes that are currently for sale or recently sold in the area. Viewing these “comps” can help you get a better idea of how the home you’re buying or building compares to similar homes in terms of price, square footage, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you’re buying a pre-existing home, comps can help you ensure that the listing price is fair. If you’re building a home, comps are extremely valuable for planning ahead. After all, if you think you may sell the home one day, you might not want to price yourself out of the neighborhood or build the largest or smallest house in the area. You want your home to be at least in the same ballpark as its neighbors, in terms of size and price.
4. The strength of the market.
Ask your Realtor about the area in which you’re looking to buy. Is it growing or declining? Is land being snapped up quickly, or will you be able to take your time finding the ideal property? Experienced Realtors have their fingers on the pulse of the local housing and building markets, and a good agent should be able to guide you toward a strong investment in a great area.
Details like this can help your Realtor home in on the perfect home or piece of land—in some cases, one that might have otherwise been overlooked. Remember, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open throughout the search and purchase stages. Your Realtor can only help you succeed if he or she knows what you want.