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Things to Do Before You Hire a Realtor

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Things to Do Before Hiring a Realtor

Preparations are key for successfully buying or selling a home. In fact, there are a few crucial steps to take before you ever hire a real estate agent. Make sure to follow these to help things go smoothly.

Words of Advice to Buyers

Buying a home can be a stressful process, and without proper preparations, it can be especially overwhelming. When first reaching out to a real estate agent, ask the following questions:

  1. How long have you been a real estate agent?

  2. What neighborhoods do you specialize in?

  3. What’s your schedule and availability?

  4. Do you work independently or with a team?

  5. What percentage of your business is working with home buyers?

  6. How many homes did you help buyers close in the past year?

  7. How long does it typically take buyers you’ve worked with to find and purchase a home?

  8. How will you determine what homes may match my wants and needs?

  9. How many clients are you currently working with?

  10. How will you keep in contact with me during the buying process, and how often?

Loan Pre-Approval

The pre-approval process can be time-consuming, so it’s important to complete it before ever connecting with a real estate agent. According to Bankrate, one of the biggest determining factors in your mortgage rate is your credit rating. You should request your credit report to ensure everything is up to snuff, and if there are errors or other issues, take the time to clean them up before you apply for pre-approval. As some professionals explain, this can be a lengthy step depending on your circumstances.

After you’ve addressed your credit, set an appointment with a lender, then collect the necessary paperwork for pre-approval and take it to your appointment. This will include your last two W-2s, recent pay stubs, proof of additional income, your last two tax returns, proof of other assets, your driver’s license, and your Social Security number.

Prioritize Criteria

You should know what you want in a home before contacting a realtor. One way to do this is to visit open houses. As U.S. News & World Report explains, scoping out what’s on the market helps you understand area price points. It’s also an opportunity to explore neighborhoods and get a feel for things firsthand. You can tell how difficult your commute would be, how noisy the neighborhood is, and whether you like the atmosphere of the area.

If you’re attending an open house, be sure to “test drive” a property while you’re there, looking into closets and cupboards to see how much storage there is and whether you would be comfortable. Even if you aren’t quite ready to buy, more education will help you know when you find “the one” and you can start whittling down your list of “wants” versus “must-haves.”

Words of Advice to Sellers

Your home is a major investment, and you want to receive the best possible price as quickly as possible once it hits the market. “Put your buyer’s hat on and walk through your home like it is the first time,” Marilou Young, an Accredited Staging Professional and an Associate Broker with Virtual Properties Realty told Forbes. “Make notes on what you, as a buyer, would notice, and then repair or replace those items.”

Decluttering is one of the top to-do items when preparing to sell your house, and it’s never too early to start packing after deciding to sell -- it gives you a headstart on the move. Cluttered rooms equate to cramped rooms, which turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. Also, too many personal belongings can make it hard for potential buyers to see themselves living there.

To best stage your home, HGTV suggests sprucing up your home’s curb appeal, amping up interior lighting, and using curtains to fool the eye.

Preparations are the key to success in the housing market. Once you cover the basics, you’ll be set to begin the buying or selling process. And once everything is ready to go, connect with your realtor for a smooth experience.

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Author: Cody McBride

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