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Having a reputable real estate agent in your corner can make a world of difference when it comes to the home buying process. Whether you’re buying a home for the first time, or have multiple purchases under your belt, there’s various reasons why veterans and rookies alike both utilize real estate agents. Let’s talk about why using a real estate agent is in your best interest as a first-time homebuyer.

For starters, real estate agents have intimate knowledge about the industry. On the surface, the process of buying a home may seem relatively simple, especially with modern technology at our disposal. However, real estate agents are trained to see the details that the average lay person usually misses. Agents often have access to information that you the seller do not. Realtors are trained to find and assess the pitfalls of homes. Just because a home looks perfect on paper, does not mean it’s perfect for you. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments a person can make, why not do everything you can to cover your bases?

All that said, buyer beware. Not all real estate agents and/or companies are created equally. The key to having a good experience, is finding a real estate agent with good experience. Like any other professional service, you are well within your rights as a consumer to ask questions and conduct a proper vetting process of anyone you may potentially work with. A reputable agent will not mind answering your questions, in addition to making sure your voice is heard. So, how do you go about finding a good agent? Luckily, we are living in the midst of the information age. Most real estate agents have comprehensive websites that outline their practice in detail. However, the old fashion in person referral is still incredibly useful in this day and age. A good place to start is with your friends and family, who you probably already trust. They can tell you the details that a small review on a website may not be able to provide. If there are people in your immediate circle who have recently moved, now is a good time to pick their brain for information.

Are you wondering about a specific neighborhood in particular? Your agent will be able to fill in the blanks. Reputable real estate agents are trained to gather intel on specific neighborhoods. Most buyers can almost immediately tell if they like the look of a neighborhood, but that doesn’t automatically transfer to knowledge about the nuances of a neighborhood. Your realtor will be able to give you comprehensive information regarding demographics, school districts and crime. They will also know how the market ebbs and flows in any given neighborhood. What is the resale value like? What do homes in this neighborhood generally sell for? Knowing intimate details about the market, can prevent you from falling victim to overpaying.

Pricing expertise is therefore one of the most valuable assets a realtor can offer. Certified agents can usually “set a price” on a home, right off the bat. Even if the home in question is near perfect, this doesn’t necessarily ensure that it will hold its value in the long term. The value of a home extends far beyond the property line itself, and naturally draws into question the neighborhood at large. Agents help guide you into making profitable long-term decisions. If you ever intend to resell your home down the line, don’t get locked into a neighborhood that’s on the decline.

Agents can assist in smoothing over your interactions with difficult current owners. Having a realtor as an unofficial liaison between parties, can ensure interactions run more efficiently. Instead of putting yourself on the line, a realtor can go to bat for you, especially when it comes to requesting repairs or adding stipulations to a contract. Issues of the home can often turn sensitive, that’s why having a third-party individual to run things up the pipeline, can help keep matters civil. This won’t always be the case, but it’s important to keep in mind as dealing with certain home sellers can be challenging, even if the property they’re selling is a dream.

A good realtor will shoot you straight. Some requests are far more difficult to fulfill than others. There’s a fine line between a real estate agent prioritizing your needs, and an agent posturing as a “yes-man”. It’s okay to have irrefutable requirements when it comes to finding a home, but qualified realtors will be able to tell you when it’s time to manage your expectations. If a realtor promises you that every small wish and desire of yours will be fulfilled, you’re likely to be let down. Your agent should be able to meet you somewhere in the middle. Establishing trust is therefore highly important. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.

Finding a good real estate agent can open you up to other professionals of a similar caliber. Sometimes even a dream home needs overhauls, this is where your agent’s contacts will come in handy. Realtors are often connected simply by the nature of their work, and can provide you with recommendations ranging from painters, to exterminators, down to inspectors. Agents who have been in the business for extended periods of time, have rubbed elbows with all sorts of professionals and are often able to tell you who is experienced and who is not.

An agent serves as a buffer between you and many of the stressful aspects that come with buying a home. Looking for the “right home” is stressful enough. When you enlist an agent, you’re allowing yourself to be distanced from many of the tedious requirements that come with purchasing. Allow for an agent to look over the paperwork for you. Afterall, buying a home is wrought with logistics that even seasoned home buyers may not understand. A real estate agent, on the contrary, is used to the process and understands how to prioritize their time. Especially if you are a first-time buyer, you will feel substantially less stressed knowing that the nitty gritty details are being handled by a professional.

Overall, the pros of hiring an agent are very clear. Yes, real estate agents will require you to spend some additional cash, and yes, you may need to dedicate some time into finding the right one. However, having a seasoned professional in your corner may ultimately stifle your costs down the road. Real estate agents are here to help prevent you from making rookie mistakes, and as a result, optimize your experience and profit as a buyer.