As a continuation of the theme of REALTORS® helping buyers in the home buying process, there are a number of points worth stressing.
Selecting a REALTOR® can be quite thorough and rigorous, involving interviews of a few good candidates. In the neighbourhood where you are looking to buy a house, names of REALTORS® can be obtained from for sale signs that you can jot down while driving through or by looking through the MLS® areas in the Real Estate News. Open houses are another way to meet REALTORS® and ask pertinent questions about the area.
As was pointed out at a recent homeownership session, REALTORS® who do excellent work get referrals, which is often their best form of advertising. So if a family friend or relative suggests to call a specific REALTOR®, they will look after you — you can be confident that you will be well served.
Here are some questions to ask a REALTOR® to find out if they are right for you:
• Ask them about their time in the business and the houses they have listed and sold in your area of interest. Will they provide references of recent buyers they have successfully helped find a home? Are they well informed and connected to other professionals that may and often are necessary to ensure a smooth home buying process where all the different aspects of it are being looked after properly?
• Ask about all the forms required and listen to how well the REALTOR® explains them. Ask questions about the market knowledge of the REALTOR®. For example, when looking at different homes, they should be able to give you a good idea of their comparable values based on other similar properties that have recently sold.
• You also want to know how accessible they will be to you if you have other questions. Maintaining good two-way communication during what can be a very stressful, but rewarding, process in the end is critical.
Once selected, a REALTOR® can help a buyer in a number of ways. They can:
• Review your list of wants and needs to help you determine your price range.
• Answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods.
• Use the local real estate board's MLS® system. Your REALTOR® can give you access to exclusive features of an MLS® system that the public is not privy to. One really helpful technology tool is auto-prospecting. It allows the prospective buyer to define the type of home and features they need, and then it will automatically send by e-mail any new listings matching their criteria. Through www.winnipegrealtors.ca you have immediate access to all of the most current listings 24 hours a day, seven-days a week.
• Preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget.
• Make appointments and walk you through potential homes, answering all your questions.
• Give up-to-the-minute information on financing and explain your mortgage options.
• Negotiate with the seller, smooth out any potential conflicts and draw up a legally binding contract.
There is no advantage to a buyer to scatter their time and energy on multiple REALTORS®, as every REALTOR® has equal access to the MLS®, and they may also be aware of up-and-coming properties in the area that have not yet been listed.
If you go to howrealtorshelp.ca, you can print off a helpful house-hunting checklist. Bring the checklist with you when looking at homes. It will keep you focused and objective about finding a home that meets your needs and fits your budget.