Buying real estate should be a fun and exciting process – but let’s be honest, it can also be pretty daunting. Most people buy and sell real estate only a few times in their lives and these are usually the biggest transactions of their lives, so it’s important to get it right.
image via McGrath
Extensive research of the market you are targeting is the very best way to help yourself make a good purchasing decision. Don’t forget that when buying a new home, you’re not just buying a place to live, you’re buying your biggest capital asset – the cornerstone of your wealth and financial security. So a good decision is critical.
However, with so many data providers and ‘experts’ out there these days, it’s easy to get bogged down in the ‘analysis paralysis’. The trick is finding a happy medium where you have confidence in the area you are buying in based on solid research; but you’re also motivated to go ahead and buy within a reasonable timeframe. If you get bogged down, it’s easy for months to go by with many opportunities missed.
If you don’t want to take on the research task yourself, then engaging a reputable buyers’ agent could be the answer for you.
Buyers’ agents solely represent buyers and do not sell real estate themselves. They are licensed agents who help buyers find and buy property.
If you’re investing, they’ll be able to recommend locations; and if you already know the area you want to buy in, they’ll pretty much do everything for you including sourcing appropriate properties (they often find out about new listings before they go on the market) and also negotiate the deal on your behalf.
One of the best aspects of using a buyers’ agent is their ability to evaluate a property’s pros and cons objectively. They’re not emotional about the purchase like you are and they’re not likely to make some of the compromises that you might make when your heart is involved.
It’s a good idea to work with a buyers’ agent who has a lot of experience in the suburb you intend to buy in. If you’re looking to buy in another state for investment or due to a work transfer, a buyers’ agent can be invaluable because of their local knowledge and their ability to save you so much time because they’re already there on the ground working for you.
If you’re looking for a buyers’ agent, the first step is to ask around. You might be surprised how many friends and colleagues have used one. A recommendation from someone you trust is always a great start.
Then you need to thoroughly check out the agents’ background and especially their knowledge and history of buying in the suburb you are targeting.
If they haven’t purchased in the suburb you want, they have the skills to do the proper research for you but the ideal scenario is working with someone who really knows the area. Data-based research such as comparable sales and demographics information can tell you a lot about a suburb but it takes experience to know which streets to avoid and which side of the suburb is more desirable. An agent who has bought in that suburb a number of times will have more ‘on the ground’ knowledge to offer you.
It’s also worth asking them about their negotiating strategies, as this is the most important skill you are paying them for.
Once the deal is done, your buyers’ agent will be there with you right through to settlement. It’s a pretty good feeling to have a professional advocate by your side in the buying process – it will give you confidence and you’ll most likely own your next property much sooner.