It's time to find your Realtor.
Decide if you need one
We'll let you in on a little secret: you don't technically need a Realtor (or a real estate agent or a broker) to buy a house. Whether or not you should try to do it on your own is a different question. Sure, the idea of not having to pay a commission is pretty appealing. But, remember, you've never done this before and a Realtor or real estate agent has helped hundreds of people buy homes. They know the laws, they are more tuned in to your local market, and they're ready to negotiate on your behalf.
First-time homebuying tip: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Buying a House Without a Realtor
Know the difference
You have a few options for what type of real estate professional you go with. Most people use the general term "real estate agent" but there are also Realtors and brokers. Each brings a different skillset to the table and you might need a different type of professional depending on how complicated your purchase is.
First-time homebuying tip: Learn the difference between a real estate agent, a broker, and a Realtor.
Find the right one
You're going to get pretty close with your Realtor. We're talking you've told them your life plan, how many kids you want, and your deepest darkest secret. You'll be spending entire Saturdays with them driving through town and looking at houses. And let's face it. Buying a home can be a pretty emotional experience. They're going to be there to console you when you don't get the home you thought was perfect for you and they'll be there to congratulate you do finally get one you're excited about.
You're probably wondering how you even choose one. Do you go with the big, brandname agency or do you go with the small, local shop? The good news is you can have a great experience with either. It all depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. A bigger agency may be able to provide you with more resources than a small one, but a smaller one may be able to give you more personalized attention. The most important thing is to interview Realtors from both types of agency and see who is a better fit for your personality and goals.
Whoever you choose, they should be familiar with the area and should take the time to get to know you and your family in order to help guide you to the right house. You also need to make sure you're on the same page when it comes to how you'll communicate—you don't want to be constantly texting your agent only to find out he only answers phone calls or vice versa.
First-time homebuying tip: Start the interview process. Ask these five questions before you hire your Realtor.
Break up if you need to
Staying in any relationship that's not working isn't a great idea. Your relationship with your Realtor is no different. Maybe it started out great but then he just wasn't giving you what you needed. Or maybe you grew during the process and she just didn't grow with you. It's never easy to say goodbye, but sometimes it's necessary. Remember, this person is going to be a big factor in finding your home and negotiating for you, so you want to be extra careful about staying with someone who isn't working out.
First-time homebuying tip: Think you're ready to break up with your Realtor? Ask yourself these questions before you make a decision.
Up next: How to find the right house
Now for the fun part! Time to start exploring homes, neighborhoods, school districts and everything that's going to make your new home your perfect paradise! Get our tips on how to find the right house.