Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent

download (74)If you are in the market to purchase a house, the question you may ask yourself is why you need a buyer’s agent? The question you should really be asking is why you shouldn’t have a buyer’s agent. You as the buyer get free labor! You don’t pay them a dime! So, why wouldn’t you want someone on your side negotiating and working for you? The seller is the one who pays the commission for your Realtor.

Purchasing a home can be the largest investment you’ll make in your life, so you need someone on your side to help you out. A Realtor can set up all of your appointments and negotiate the best price for you. The only person that wins when you don’t have someone representing you is the listing agent. You don’t want the listing agent negotiating the price between the two sides. The listing agent has their client’s best interest at heart. You need a buyer’s agent to be on your side. Your Realtor will usually have you sign an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. It tells you about their services and how they are compensated. It lets you know that they are working for you and have your best interest in mind.

There are many things that a buyer’s agent can assist you with. They can help you find listings. They may be more knowledgeable about a neighborhood then you are and they may know of some For Sale by Owners that are available. Your agent can serve as a buffer between you and the sellers and their agent when it comes to negotiating the price and asking for inclusions. They have access to what has recently sold in the area and can help guide you with a fair offer. They can also help in recommending a mortgage broker and home inspectors for you. The paperwork for a home sale can be daunting. An agent will be right there by your side to help you through it all.

How do you choose a buyer’s agent? Ask family and friends for referrals. Find a licensed Realtor that speaks to you. You may want to look for a Realtor that has similar interests. You may want to interview a Realtor to make sure they are right for you. Ask them how often you should expect to hear from them or how long they have been a licensed Realtor. Make sure that they are listening to you.


Avoiding The Pitfalls Of First Time Home Buying

download (72)Viewing a house can be exciting. You can imagine yourself living the good life as you would be living on your own home. That said, purchasing your first home could also be daunting and in fact concerning if you ever heard of first time homebuyer’s problems. Aside from moldy insulating panels and infestations, buying a nice home without any problem can be slim and if you are considering a new home, it can be quite expensive and might not fit your budget.

If you are buying or considering purchasing a home, then you might benefit from the following tips below.

Two Eyes are better than one

While you may be impressed by the sweet talk of the real estate agent, having someone with you can help you a lot especially if the agent is not paying attention to that person. Your friend or your relative can help you spot some problems of the house and if they have their own homes chances are, they would be able to check places that can cause problems especially if they experience it first-hand. Second person would also help you make an informed decision as they can also ask questions that you have not thought about preventing you from making a quick decision that you may regret later. Your friend can also take a video or photo of the rooms, window fixtures, furnishings and other details that you may find useful.

The Early Bird catches the Worm

One trick that can really help you decide is to arrive a few minutes early to take a good look and feel of not only the property, but also its neighborhood. This would allow you to see if the place is in good location and safe. If you do not feel safe or feel threatened then it is best to politely decline after the tour.

What you should ask Your Agent

It can be hard to ask questions if you do not know what to ask and as such, it is important to have a checklist of things that you think is important to you. It is also essential that you talk with the agent about the previous owners if it is not a new home. If it is newly built, then ask the agent about the neighborhood, possible taxes, and what the developed land used to be. Some homes are built on reclamation lands that are used to be bodies of water, if it is, then it is important that you know which developer it is and what potential problems one might face.

Buying a Home & Your Credit Report

download (71)Have you been looking at the housing market and thinking you want to buy a home?

Ads are everywhere listing properties.

It would be hard to make it through a day without seeing eye-catching photos of your possible dream home.

But before you fall in love with that home – any home – do you know what your credit score is? When is the last time you checked your credit report?

Those two things should always be the first steps you take when you start thinking about buying a home.

Any lender will pull reports from all three bureaus and take the median score so it’s important to know the information on all three.

The free versions of the reports do not include your score; however, you can pay a small fee to have that included.

Some credit cards provide you with your free score so check if that is available to you. But don’t open a new account just to get your score!

A score of 740 or higher should qualify for the best mortgage rates. Anything below 640 is going to make it difficult to qualify.

Get your free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus at http://www.annualcreditreport.com


First review your report for accuracy. Check all names listed, including spelling, former addresses and account information. You can dispute any errors to all credit bureaus online.

If all items are accurate but perhaps not favorable, it is best to focus your attention on rebuilding your credit. It’s not always easy but there isn’t anything on your credit report that “time and/or money” can’t fix. There are great resources online or at your local library if you need guidance. For example, Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball Method” advises to make all your minimum payments and focus any available extra onto the account with the smallest balance. Once that account is paid off, add that payment to the next smallest account and so on until you are debt free. Mortgage lenders are also happy to talk with you about ways to repair your credit.

Most importantly, know that no “credit repair services” can do anything you can’t do for yourself – for free.

Negative account information will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of the original delinquency. Once negative accounts have been paid off, all you can do is wait. It doesn’t take the entire seven years for your score to start increasing but patience is required.

Repairing your credit is simple. Not often easy but simple.

Mary Barnett is a real estate professional with Equity Idaho Real Estate committed to providing her clients with the most comprehensive service in the Treasure Valley. Mary brings years of executive and professional experience including her time as the Chief Operating Officer of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Idaho.

What To Look For in Your Next Real Estate Agent

download (73)25So you’re ready to start the home buying process – You’ve thought long and hard about this investment and decided it’s the right move for you. But where to begin?

Working with a licensed real estate professional who has specific knowledge on your market is a very important starting point. And as you speak with various agents, you’re going to learn that they ALL will claim to be professionals in your area. GREAT! That means you have choices; And we all like options, right?

But knowing the market is just one component of any good agent. There’s more to consider when it comes to selecting the right real estate professional. Here’s what I look for when folks ask me to refer them to an agent in their area:

1.) What special designations does the agent hold that demonstrates their ability to assist you? For example, if I was working with a military personnel client, I may look for an agent who carries the Certified Military Residential Specialist designation because I know they will have received additional training and education on the specific needs of military personnel, and have built relationships with lenders who have access to loan programs that directly benefit service members. In short, I consider the clients’ specific needs and then try to find an agent qualified to serve their best interests.

2.) Does the agent have a network of industry-related support specialists ready and available to assist? Does the agent have the resources already established to provide access to information that will be pertinent to the purchase and sale process? Can the agent readily provide access to community, lending and home repair services that the client will benefit from? Working with an agent who has already created the framework for a smooth transaction process means you are in good hands and can trust the agent to be prepared to assist all the way through close of sale.

3.) Is the agent responsive to the consumer’s needs? Do they communicate effectively with those around them? Do they give me real tangible answers to my questions? Or do they tell me what they think I may like to hear? When you’re excited about buying a home, it’s easy to only hear what you want. But a good agent will take the time to listen and make sure you’ve heard ALL of the information, good or bad. And then they take the time to help you sort out the bad information and develop solutions to get past any roadblocks in the path of your success!

4.) Can the agent provide reviews of their services from past clients? Does their past business support their ability to serve your best interests? Past clients’ willingness to right good reviews about an agent is a direct correlation to that agent’s ability to serve clients as a real estate professional. And this is great information to validate a possible agents’ credibility.

5.) Does the agent have the time to commit to you? This is very important because different people require different levels of time commitment. If a buyer is looking for their first home, then I want to make sure I refer them to an agent who has the time to invest in getting that client up to speed on the purchase and sale process. This goes back, and ties in to, effective communication, because many first time buyers are going to ask the same question several times. And that’s okay. We want you to ask questions. And I want to make sure the agent I team you up with has the time, energy and commitment to invest in getting you those answers; As well as taking the time to assure you understand what those answers mean and how they may affect your position as a new home buyer.

It’s very important to work with a committed real estate professional. Choosing the right agent for the job in the beginning means you will have a committed and able real estate professional to guide you through the entire process with confidence.

The National Association of Realtors® reports that approximately 76% of home buyers interview only one agent for the job of helping them buy a home. That means you want to come prepared to ask the right questions, to assure you pick the right agent the first time. Working with the right real estate professional mean the difference between a smooth purchase process; Or one riddled with headaches, anxiety and the propensity to raise your blood pressure! Issues always come up in the purchase and sale process, but talented agents know what to do when problems arise. And they know how to keep clients in the loop and provide clear explanations and sensible solutions to keep your deal on track to close in a timely manner and on your terms.

One cornerstone of the real estate profession is the fact that “timeliness is of the essence.” But this doesn’t mean you need to be in a rush to hire the first real estate agent you interview. Make time to take time, before you start shopping for a home, to work with a real estate agent who can provide you with the knowledge, experience and network of resources that will assist you in achieving your goal of home ownership!

Ben Christensen is a real estate professional with Equity Idaho Real Estate specializing in buying and selling residential and residential-income properties.