|Like this Bobcat after Prey: Begin the hunt in January.|
January is an excellent time to start checking out Open Houses and interviewing Real Estate agents (aka Realtors) to help you buy a home. Most Realtors are always happy to engage and connect with new home-shoppers . In January, open house traffic is usually on the lighter side and Realtors (such as us!) often have ample time to chat, share information, and hopefully impress potential clients.
Potential buyers should be advised, there is never any required fee or obligation when meeting/interviewing a Realtor to be your buyer's agent. Without buyers, there is no Real Estate Industry, so you are in the driver's seat. And this is true whether you are a buyer ready to pounce or someone who is just contemplating the possibility of buying a home.
Go to Open Houses this January. Talk to agents and let them do a little audition. See how much the agent you meet seems to know the neighborhoods you are looking for... Give the agent some "homework" and ask him/her to get back to you with information and see how he/she performs ... Make a date to have an agent show you several houses and see what kind of rapport exists or doesn't... Basically, you can test drive Realtors like you would a car. Get on the road, see how it feels, and move on if it doesn't click.
Try this during January and see who seems knowledgeable, eager for your business, and most importantly - competent! From there, next step is to get pre-approved for a loan, so you know how much house you can afford. You may also find that Realtors often work much harder and in more dedicated fashion once you have been pre-approved for a loan. Again, pre-approval is free of charge and free from any future obligation to anyone. But along with choosing a Buyer's Agent, it's an essential first step toward buying a home.
If buying a home in 2013 is in your gameplan, getting a January headstart on selecting and agent and getting pre-approved will put you in the catbird seat and ready to pounce on the right listing when it comes down the pike. It's true we are still in a "buyers market" but our region is not one of desperation for sellers. We saw it in 2012 and expect to see more of it this year -- the Best houses at the Best Values often get snapped up in less than a week by Buyers who begin the process a month or two before everyone else.
We're happy to share more inside tips and chat about the process of buying a home anytime via email or phone 610.348.7972. If nothing else remember this - having a Realtor work hard as your Buyers Agent should never involve any pressure or expense on your part, as it's only sellers who pay commissions. Having you own dedicated Buyers Agent is free and should make the whole process better.