You do not need to wait until you have a real estate agent before contacting Attorney Mortgage. We can help you find the right agent for you; one who works with attorneys and knows their special needs.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?
A REALTOR® is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. The NAR is a trade association for those who work in the real estate industry, and its members abide by a Code of Ethics. But Jenifer Hoffman, owner of Hoffman Real Estate and a member of the 2023 National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Leadership Academy, explains that the NAR is not a referral service for potential homeowners.
There are, however, several ways to find the right realtor for your particular needs:
- Talk to Attorney Mortgage, your mortgage broker or loan officer. “Your mortgage broker or mortgage lender definitely can refer to realtors that they have worked with in the past,” says Hoffman.
- Ask your friends and family for a referral. People like to hear directly from those they know and trust about their real life experiences, both good and bad.
- Contact the local Chamber of Commerce and ask for any recommendations.
- Go online and look for agents who serve that area. “The agent is responsible for setting up their profiles on sites such as Zillow, Homes.com, or Realtor.com, Hoffman explains. “Their profile will show the number of past sales the agent has claimed, as well as reviews that customers have left for them.”
3 skills you should be looking for in a realtor
- Are they a good negotiator? You will want someone that is going to get the best price for the home you want.
- Are they able to point out potential issues with a home that wouldn’t be apparent to a normal buyer? Most people will only buy 2 – 3 homes in their lifetime. Having someone that looks at many homes will be able to save you from purchasing a home with a lot of problems.
- Does the realtor have a knowledge of what will be happening in the neighborhood in the next 5 – 10 years? When purchasing a home, you’re buying an investment. You want that investment to increase in value. A good realtor can give you insight on the trends of the neighborhood to make sure you are purchasing a home that will increase in value.
What questions should a potential home buyer ask a real estate agent upfront?
Hoffman suggests asking some important questions of a real estate agent before beginning to the search for a new home:
- Are you a full-time real estate agent?
- How long have you been selling real estate?
- How many homes have you sold in your lifetime?
- Do you work with both buyers and sellers?
- Do you offer buyer representation? What is your fee for that service?
- How experienced are you with the type of financing I am using?
- What towns do you cover and how well do you know them?
Is a real estate agent able to help a mortgage lender with the buying process?
A skilled REALTOR® who is familiar with loan types as well as the buyer’s particular circumstances and can definitely play a role in the mortgage lending process. Buyers sometimes are able to have a more open dialogue with the real estate agent about their needs.
“Sometimes, just because we’re spending so much more time with our buyers. When we’re out there house hunting, buyers may be mentioning things to us that don’t necessarily get triggered in the mortgage loan application process,” Hoffman says. “For example, a buyer may have a junior in high school, and they are planning to send that kid off to college next year, and they’re hoping not to take out any loans. In that particular circumstance, this person really needs to keep more cash on hand. So, even though they have a 20 percent down payment, it would be smart for the REALTOR® to say to them, as a first-time homebuyer they could do a conventional loan with only three percent down.”
No matter your life goals or circumstances, Attorney Mortgage can guide you through the loan approval and mortgage process, from pre-qualification to the moment you step over the threshold of your new home.
What questions should a skilled real estate agent ask a potential homebuyer?
The right agent will want to know as much as possible about you, their potential client. Introductory questions will be unique to each agent, but a first-time homebuyer should be prepared to answer some basic questions, including:
- Are you pre-qualified or pre-approved?
- What are your needs in terms of commuting time? Are you going to be working in an office or other job location, so how much travel time are you willing to absorb?
- Would you rather be in town or in a more rural location?
- Do you want a walkable area, or an area that has a short drive to amenities?
- Are you looking for something with privacy?
- Do you have a preferred neighborhood in mind?
- Is a particular school system important to you?
There are also questions about the house itself:
- Do you need a single-story home, or would you like something with multiple stories?
- Are you looking for a single-family home, or something that might be potentially income producing, like a multifamily home?
- Are you looking to buy an existing home, or would you like to build?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Do you have allergies? If so, you may want to consider staying away from carpeted rooms, or plan to add removal and replacement into the budget.
All these questions can help a real estate agent focus on homes that appeal to your needs, without wasting time on those that fall short. “There are many different pieces of the puzzle, and the more particular a buyer can be, the better,” says Hoffman. “Instead of having 50 homes to choose from, we can narrow that down to 10 or less.”
Are you planning to live in this home for only 3 to 5 years? Or are you looking for a home that will grow with you over the long-term? Hoffman says that in recent years many homebuyers have become resistant to the idea of having to move multiple times in their lives. “Many want their first home to be their forever home. And statistically speaking that is just not going to happen,” Hoffman says. “The average homebuyer is in their home for less than 10 years. It’s important for a buyer to understand that that’s totally okay, and it’s normal that you’re not going to end up in that dream home in your first home. It’s something that you use, as real estate equity leverage, to take one step forward, and then you can leap into your dream home after that.”
Hoffman says that the relationship between the real estate agent, the buyer, and the mortgage company is important. “The realtor has a different perspective on the borrower than the lender does. We, as REALTORS®, have more dynamic information through the different ways that we have interacted with the buyer. We tend to know more of their whole life circumstances, and we can think outside the box. We know that maybe they plan to be here for four years for this job, and then four years from now they’re planning to move someplace else. We need to work together because we all have different pieces of this puzzle. The more we can collaborate, and have an open dialogue, the better we’re able to serve that buyer’s needs.”
If you are a newly degreed attorney, an established attorney looking for a home, or if you are ready to re-finance your home, Attorney Mortgage can help you navigate the loan process. Contact us or call (816) 379-6264.
Ready to find out more?
If you are a newly degreed attorney, an established attorney looking for a first home, or if you are ready to re-finance your home, Attorney Mortgage can help you navigate the loan process. Contact us or call (816) 860-1686.