If you are shopping for a home, one of the first things you need to do is find a reputable buyer's agent to represent you. Once you've found the right one, it is almost time to start seeing homes. But first, you will want to discuss these four things with your real estate agents:
1. The Type of Homes You Want to See
A good buyer's agent should ask you upfront to specify what you are looking for in a home. But beyond the basics -- like the number of bedrooms and general location you prefer -- you should give them a list of other must-have features, as well as a list of features that are desirable, though not necessarily needed. For instance, you may include a fenced-in yard, eat-in kitchen, and a finished basement on your must-have list, and a tankless water heater, spa tub, and under-cabinet lighting in your nice-but-not-needed list.
2. Where to Meet
When you go to see homes with your real estate agent, it is typical for them to meet you at their office. Then, they may drive with you to see the various homes. However, most real estate agents will pick you up and drop you off at your home if you prefer -- or they can just meet you at the first home and have you follow them in your own vehicle to subsequent homes. The gist of it is that you can make whatever arrangements you want for meeting and transportation, but unless you make other plans, your agent is going to assume you'll meet at the office.
3. Your Actual Budget
When you meet with your real estate agent, they will ask how much you've been pre-approved to borrow, or they can guide you through the process of getting pre-approved. But you probably don't want to actually spend the entire amount you're approved to borrow. So let your real estate agent know what your ideal budget is, as well as what your absolute limit is. For instance, you may want to spend no more than $120,000, but have the funds to go up to $130,000 if you absolutely have to.
4. Communication Preferences
You're going to be communicating with your real estate agent a lot throughout this process, so set up parameters for that from the get-go. Do they prefer text, phone calls, or email? Is there a time after which they would prefer you not contact them? How often would you like them to update you with new homes? If you can answer these questions, you'll have your communication agreed upon, and you can start looking for homes.