Buyer's Checklist: Three Things To Do Before Calling an Agent


So, you’ve made the decision: you’re buying a house! Whether you’re a first time buyer or a veteran investor, you know you need one thing: a real estate agent. The benefit of being on the buyer’s side of a real estate transaction is that the seller covers the costs of both agents involved, but many agents are especially dedicated to help buyers [like you] find exactly what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. They know the market and they’re ready to fulfill your dream home checklist. So where do you start?


Get A Pre-approval Letter

A buyer’s agent, first and foremost, needs a realistic price point to begin the search. It’s imperative that when seeking out an agent, you’re prepared to answer questions about your financial stature. Meeting with a mortgage loan officer beforehand to help you organize your finances, better understand your existing debt, and figure out what you can afford, is a great place to start. Most importantly, get a pre-approval letter. This is a surefire way to show the agent that you’re a serious buyer and a worthy priority.


Do Your Research

So you’re pre-approved! Now what? Research. Buying a home is a big investment and you’re entitled to have some demands. Familiarize yourself with the area in which you’re looking to buy. Developing a list of desirable features, must-haves, and deal breakers for your future home will give your agent some parameters while saving you both the time of checking out listings you know won’t work for you. Oftentimes, agents are familiar with off-market listings requiring a particular kind of buyer, so the more information you can provide about your situation, the better the agent can tailor the search, ultimately getting you closer to the finish line.  


Prepare a Timeline

Pre-approval letters are usually valid for a time period of 90-120 days, depending on your lending institution. It’s important to consider your current living situation and any contractual obligations you may have. Are you in a lease? How quickly is the market moving? If you find your dream home tomorrow, would you be able to cover multiple living expenses for a period of time if required? These are all important questions to consider when beginning the process of buying a home.

-Alyssa Bybee, LUX broker

Why do I need a Realtor to sell my home?

Are you doubtful and in question of how a real estate broker can facilitate the transaction and sell or purchase of your next home? You are not alone. Signing a contract, agreeing to a percentage of your gains and entrusting a broker with your home are all intimidating notions.

What are my advantages in working with a Real Estate professional?

Access to the Multiple Listing Services, or as referenced by professionals as the MLS, is an advantageous facet that a seller obtains when listing a home with a real estate professional. The MLS is a large real estate database that will allow thousands of potential buyers access to your property's images, listing price, and other selling features. The MLS will publish the listing in the local market, as well as international and domestic websites that are linked to real estate marketing.

The "for sale by owner (FSBO)" will save you commissions for both the buyer and seller's agent(s), but what many sources do not cite is the advocacy gained by hiring a real estate professional. 

What is real estate advocacy and why is this important for selling my home?

In 2016, I sold my home and was the seller's agent; thus, listing, negotiating, marketing and selling my own property. I procured $4500.00 more at the closing table because I was working for myself alongside the buyer's agent.

This is my profession-- this is my agency; however, it was an unfavorable experience because of the negotiations and selling process. It is a customary mindset that a seller holds his or her own agenda, specifically regarding profits and this mindset can have an adverse effect when working for yourself through a FSBO property. 

Inspections: What is a "Response to Inspection" and how does a real estate professional facilitate the inspection's process?

The inspection's process can be grueling and can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements. Inspectors are a third party individual or company hired by a buyer to perform a thorough inspection of the home. When negotiating the response to inspection, sellers must make an effort to create a safe environment for the new buyers; therefore, your agent's experience and training in working with other real estate professionals will ensure that you, as the seller, are not losing thousands of dollars of your profits over trivial matters. Your agent will work with the buyer's agent to reach an ultimate agreement and this advocacy will afford you and your buyer with a non-biased approach to the inspection's procedure. 

What is my next step in the hiring and listing process?

There is no uniform or common approach with real estate procedures regarding marketing and listing homes.  If you are confident that hiring an agent is the best method to sell your home, here are a few tips when hiring an agent: 

  • Interview four to five agents. Agents will offer diverse marketing methods, and may suggest a lower or higher listing price. When interviewing real estate professionals, keep in mind that communications between yourself and the agent will have a great influence with your selling experience. Here are a few questions to ask the potential seller's agent:
    • What is your marketing plan when selling my property? 
    • What type of photography do you plan to use when listing my home on the MLS? 
    • What are the terms of my listing contract and how long will the contract be in effect?
    • What is your commission and what is the buyer's agent's split? 
    • What are a few characteristics about your listing and selling approach that differs from other agents?
  • Research the history of sales, website strategies, and the agency's marketing. Real estate marketing, specifically, easy-to-obtain online links and access to the listings will allow you to see how the professional will market your home and if access to future buyers will encourage a quicker sale for you! 


Kyla English, Owner, Managing Broker, Realtor

Kyla English, Owner, Managing Broker, Realtor