Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

To Look or Not to Look

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,House Hunting,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on June 13, 2007

expensive-house.gifexpensive-house.gifI have met several first time buyers recently who are out looking at homes on their own. No agent to help them screen properties or neighborhoods, or give them guidance on how to go about the process.

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily. Looking at homes and neighborhoods to decide what type of house you wish to buy and where IS an essential part of the process. The more you look, the more you will learn about areas that interest you, or don’t. You will learn about value, and what your money can buy (assuming you KNOW how much you can afford – you DID get pre-approved, didn’t you?). I encourage buyers to look at areas even before they go to see actual home interiors to be sure they like the neighborhood, or not, for whatever reason. Otherwise it’s a waste of time.

I do believe that working with an agent during this time has its advantages.

  • First, based on knowledge about your budget, an agent can help you not waste time by screening out areas where there are no homes in your price range.
  • Second, you will have access to more homes, since you will need to tour a home with an agent (either your Buyer Agent OR the Listing Agent) unless it is an Open House.
  • You can gain access to gated communities (if they are common in your area and homes there are priced for your budget).
  • An agent can provide more information about homes that interest you that will be useful to you in your decision making – details about the neighborhood that may not be obvious, fees, pricing relative to market conditions, and so on.

Should you stop looking around on your own? Nope. It’s a smart thing to do.  But at some point having the knowledge and experience of a REALTOR to help you sort through the homes for sale in your area(s) can be fruitful.

Furthermore, if you DO find a home you like and want to purchase, having a REALTOR already in place will make it that much easier. You will have already discussed the purchase process and will know what to do next in the process. And you won’t have to quickly find someone to help you that you don’t know and feel comfortable with [read more on interviewing and selecting an agent to help you].

The choice is yours. You will probably know when you need to hook up with someone. Just don’t wait too long.


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