If you are looking to buy your first home, then you will need to search out a great real estate agent.
Rather than just phoning the first one you see on a sign, you should really get yourself a real estate agent that will work with you and be patient and understand you are a property virgin.
Word of mouth can be great for this. If you have friends who have just moved, or relatives, or new neighbors, ask them about their agent and how they felt about them. Were they happy with the process? Did their agent keep in touch with them? Did they line up houses to view, that met their wants and needs list?
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Find a Good Agent Through Word of Mouth
A good agent will work with you, and will meet with you, and find out your wants and needs for a first house. They should explain how the market works, and how the process of offers and closing dates work, and how you will need a lawyer for the closing and approximately what you need for closing costs. Being a first time home buyer, you will want someone who is patient, and understands what you are looking for.
Once you have found an agent that you like, they will meet with you, and get you to create a list of what you are looking for as well as recommend you get pre-approved for a mortgage. This way you will know exactly how much you can spend on the purchase of that first house, and your agent can do their research armed with your information, to save time for you and them
An agent is very important. Just like picking any other professional, you have to feel comfortable. If you agent lines up viewings that don't even come close to your wants and needs list, then maybe you and your agent should part ways. I saw this a lot, when I was selling a house. I would clean all day for a afternoon viewing, only to have people come through, who looked confused and embarrassed, because they were wanting a condo or small town house, not this large country home. Obviously their agent was not working well with them, and this was just wasting everyone's time, you, the seller and the agent, as this was not the right house.
It is good to have an agent you like, and can work with, because the process of offering and accepting offers can be stressful, and you want someone who will go to bat for you. They know your limits, and will do their best to help you create an offer you can live with.
A good relationship with an agent, is also important, as you do renovations. If you are looking for your first house, and you find one that could use some upgrades. Your agent can tell you which upgrades will bring in the best return if you go to resell your property, or if you just want to increase the equity. A good agent is the most important tool when looking for that first house.