When you are ready to buy a home there are many steps you need to take, the first taken by most people is to find a good realtor. The realtor will do many tasks for you to make the home buying process run smooth and fast!
As a buyer, you may wish to engage the services of a Buyers Agent. The buyers agent works for you, the buyer. Traditional realtors work for the seller and must always work to the benefit of the seller rather than to yours.
If you are buying a home you will not pay any fees directly to the real estate agent, they earn their commissions from the seller's side of the transaction. As a buyer there is really no reason not to work with a real estate agent, and have them represent your interests through out the process.
The realtor will be the one to show you each house. They will try to show you a wide range of houses, within your price range in any given neighborhood. You should tell your realtor, exactly what you are looking for in a home, as well as a general area that you would like to live.
A realtor will be able to assist you with a home purchase by being able to utilize MLS records of almost all homes that are being sold in the area(s) you are looking for. You can tell your realtor exactly what you are looking for, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, basement or not, square footage, etc... and they can easily pull this information up for you very quickly. A realtor will also set up appointments for you to go see the homes that you are most interested in which will save you lots of time and effort.
A Realtor has access to most of the same data used by appraisers. Real Estate Agents can use these records to research sales trends and market values. A good Realtor can help insure that you don't over pay for your home or possibly reccomend a home being offered under market value.
Since a Realtor is a professional they will be much more knowledgable on how to find you a home. They should be familiar with the area and have a large base of realtors they work with. This makes finding a home easier then doing it alone. As the buyer its the seller paying the fee for your realtor.
A buyers agent represents you in the real estate transaction and is paid by sharing the commission with the listing agent. Your agent will help you get to closing as efficiently as possible, with no cost to you.
Ask your Mortgage Advisor for a good REALTOR recommendation. Usually these two professionals work together and have a good team environment to help speed up your loan and home process once you are in Escrow.
A good realtor should be very attentive to your wants, needs, and budget. In addition to that, they need to have their ears to the ground for developing opportunities to get you the best house for the best price.