The role of the real estate agent | Feature
By: GORDON JACKSON
Jhe role of a real estate agent becomes apparent to buyers seeking the expertise and advice necessary to purchase a home.
“Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell, real estate agents are trained and licensed to seamlessly guide you through every step of a sale from start to finish,” said real estate agent CC Hightower, of Situs Real Estate. “We work tirelessly on your behalf to negotiate, complete legal paperwork, coordinate due diligence efforts, act as a liaison between all parties to the transaction, and answer any questions that arise along the way.”
The first step in buying a home is making sure you’re ready to take the plunge financially, Hightower said.
“Buying a home can be the most important financial decision you’ll ever make, so you want to make sure you’re ready before you rush in,” she said. “You’ll want to reach out to your lender to get the ball rolling with pre-qualification so you know your budget before you spend a lot of time looking for homes that aren’t really something you can afford.”
Pre-approval for financing is important because it shows the agent, homeowners and their agent that a person is serious about buying a home and has the means to do so, Hightower said. It also increases the buyer’s bargaining power and speeds up the closing process since most of the financial information is already submitted and in the lender’s system.
“Mortgage pre-approval requires a buyer to complete a mortgage application, provide identification, employment verification, income confirmation, tax documents, proof of assets, list of monthly debts to determine debt to income ratio and other documents needed to pull a credit report,” she said.
There’s a misperception among some first-time home buyers about how much a down payment is needed, Hightower said. It’s not the 20% some people think they need to buy a house.
“According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for first-time home buyers was just 7% in 2021,” she said. “There are even government guaranteed loans like VA and USDA loans that allow you to put 0% down. However, you will likely need to cover some, if not all, of your initial closing costs with these types of loans, so you should be prepared to bring cash to the closing table.
Whether a person is considering buying with cash or financing, it’s a good idea to do your homework on the home while it’s under contract.
“Duties can include an inspection, title search and land surveying to name a few,” Hightower said. “Generally, if all goes well, it should take a little over a month from acceptance of your offer to handing over the keys on closing day.”
Estate agent Skip Adamson, of Seaside Realty Jekyll Island, said the first step to buying property on the island is location, whether it’s beachfront, islandfront or beachfront. from the river.
“It’s important to show the seller(s) that you are capable of buying the property,” he said.
Buyers will need to show lenders the last two years of tax returns, recent bank statements, have a credit check, and show assets and liabilities.
Adamson said her role is to provide the necessary information so her customers can make a prudent decision in their purchase, including a home inspection, appraisal, insurance, utility transfers and more.
There are other costs including loan fees, attorney fees, intangible taxes, appraisals, survey (if required), home inspection, termite inspection, title and hazard insurance, flood (if applicable) and mortgage insurance.
After all the work is done, much of it with the help of the real estate agent, it will be time for the final step.
“Most of the time the keys are returned at closing,” Adamson said.
Real estate agent Cynthia Brown, of Signature Properties Group, said when a buyer prepares to start shopping for a home, they should have already met with a reputable lender if they are looking for financing.
“Generally a lender will ask for two years of tax returns, bank statements, but as things change in this industry I tend to ask buyers to confirm with the lender exactly what they need” , Brown said. “These two items are going to be typical.”
Once an offer is accepted, it can take 30-45 days to close on an offer.
The role of the real estate agent is to represent the buyer and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
“Make sure the buyer understands their responsibilities and the best way is to consult with the buyer at the first point of contact,” she said.
There are many options available to people looking for financing for a home, Brown said.
“My philosophy is that I’ll get you the house and the lender will get you the money,” she said. “I think it keeps each of us in our lane of expertise.”