Whether this is your first, second, or maybe even third home purchase, each experience likely feels like the first. Regardless of how many times you’ve actually done it, the home buying process creates an array of feelings and emotions. 

 

From excited to scared and everything in-between, buying can be intimidating. That’s why it’s important you’re working with the right realtor who will be able to guide you through each step of the way. 

 

The home buying process really begins before you even step foot into a home, and continues all the way up until the day of closing. There are numerous steps you’ll take with each stage which in turn creates a whole new set of questions. Keep in mind, nothing you ask is silly, if you are unsure about anything, speak up. 

 

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your life which is why it is important to feel as comfortable, and informed as possible. Part of your real estate agent’s job is to help make the experience as stress-free as they can.

 

We know things can get overwhelming with all of the information you need to know beforehand, so to help alleviate some of it, we’ve put together a list of common questions buyers ask to help you navigate the process a bit easier. 

 

What’s the first step of the home-buying process?

Before you even get started in your search, it is important to have your mortgage pre-approval. Some agents will not begin working with potential clients if they don’t have an approval in hand. 

 

Why is this piece of paper so important? Because it tells you, and your agent, just how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at properties that you are unable to afford. It’s not fair to you, your agent, or the seller, to waste time looking at properties out of your price range. Knowing how much money a lender will approve for a loan is an important first step. 

 

How long does it take to buy a home? 

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as this timeline varies greatly from person to person. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to find a home. It also depends on the timing, as well as the circumstances. Do you need to move ASAP, or is this your first home? 

 

Once you find your home, it usually takes an additional 30-45 days to close after you’re in contract. Keep in mind this timeline can change for a variety of reasons. 

 

How much do I have to pay my real estate agent to help me find a home?

Great news–nothing! The seller pays the realtor fee/commission on their end. 

 

How much money do I need for a down payment?

The more you put down upfront, the less you will have to borrow from a lender. Generally, 20% of the purchase price is an ideal number for a few reasons. First, it lowers the monthly mortgage payments, avoids paying private mortgage insurance commonly referred to as PMI, improves the nature of your offer, and can help you lock in a better interest rate. 

 

That’s not to say you must put down 20%. The minimum amount depends on the type of loan you are obtaining to finance the purchase. Lower down payment loans, like an FHA loan, requiring a minimum down payment of 3.5%, were designed to make homeownership possible for first-time buyers. 

 

When it comes to the different types of loans available, this is where your mortgage broker steps in. It’s a conversation you should have even before the actual house hunting process begins. Knowing how much you can afford and the type of loans available are all part of the initial conversation you should be having when obtaining your pre-approval.

 

What additional fees are there besides the down payment?

Additional costs include the loan origination fee, which is not a single fee, but a set of lender-specific fees that are part of closing costs, as well as the closing cost itself. These are the fees paid at time of closing to complete the purchase. They may include the survey, underwriting fees, title search fees, documentation fees, legal fees, pre-paid property taxes, HOA, etc. Your mortgage broker will review these with you. While you do have these additional expenses, the down payment is usually the largest cost associated with buying a home. 

 

Do I really need to work with a real estate agent when buying?

It is strongly recommended that you work with an agent for many reasons. First, they have your best interest. Their goal is to help find you a home that fits your needs, and they will advocate on your behalf when needed. Real estate agents are skilled negotiators, and have access to a network of different people you will need throughout the process. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything to work with one.  

 

Can you recommend…..?

Whether you’re in need of a mortgage broker, appraiser, lawyer, moving company, or any other type of professional service associated with the home buying process, your real estate agent should be able to offer some recommendations. Mostly all real estate agents have a network of people they trust to provide the best possible service to their clients. 

 

While every home is different, the steps, especially in the early stages of purchasing, are generally similar. The same holds true for the questions you are more than likely to have. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask, it is part of an agent’s job to provide you with the information needed in order to make the most informed decision. 

152,922 Real Estate Agent Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

For both sellers and buyers, working with a real estate agent is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Depending on what side of the transaction you’re on, the reasons why you should work with an agent will differ. What doesn’t change is the invaluable experience a good agent brings to the table. 

 

When it comes to selling, many people think they can save time and money by going at it alone, without a realtor. What’s interesting is that FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales often are less than the homes sold by real estate agents. Granted, the homeowner saves on paying the realtor’s commission, but that comes with a cost (literally). 

 

Statistics show that only 11% of sellers actually succeed at selling on their own and for the ones that do, their sales are about 26% less on average than properties represented by an agent. 

 

A lot goes into selling a home that you may not even realize. There are many challenges and if you’re going at it on your own, navigating all of the moving parts can be difficult. 

 

Real estate agents do a lot more than just bring potential buyers. They know the in’s and out’s of both buying and selling and are invaluable for a multitude of reasons. Michele Haas, President of the Brooklyn Multiple Listing Service (MLS), points out the following ways in which real estate agents are instrumental in the overall process.

 

Agents have:

Extensive knowledge of the market

Professional networks

Negotiating skills

Understand required documents

Fiduciary responsibility

Can readily find and identify comparable sales

Can recognize possible issues with a property

Must live up to the standards required by their license 

 

Based on the above, we dive a bit deeper into just how working with an agent is beneficial. 

 

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Time Consuming – Selling your home is a full-time job. Between fielding calls and messages for showings, hosting an open house, advertising, and all of the other minutiae that comes with listing a home, it’s an agent’s job to make sure it is taken care of. 

 

Experience – Real estate agents are trained for the job. They’ve studied and taken exams to become an agent and continuously refresh that knowledge with continuing education classes. They know how to navigate the market better than someone who isn’t in the business and their knowledge and experience can be the difference in getting a home sold quickly. 

 

How A Mortgage Broker Can Save You Time And Money | Bankrate

Pricing Advice – Agents understand the real estate market – they know the value of homes, they know the areas, and how to compare properties, all of which factor into pricing a home correctly. While you may have a certain number in mind, the price may not be reasonable. That’s why having an agent to research the comparable sales can help confirm if you are in the right price range. They know where to look and have access to this type of invaluable information. 

 

What they don’t possess is an attachment. As a homeowner, you’re attached to your home in one way or another. Maybe it is your first home, or where you raised your children. Because of reasons like these, it can be difficult to be objective and for many homeowners, it’s not easy to separate the two. That’s why having a real estate agent is important as they can help you to focus on the bigger picture and not get caught up in the emotional side. 

 

15,000+ Negotiation Pictures

Professional Negotiators – As hard as it can be to price your home correctly when you have an attachment to it, so can negotiating its worth. Real estate agents are removed from all of that. Their main goal is to get your house sold and if negotiations are involved, they aren’t going to hold onto emotional ties that will prevent them from making a good deal. Being removed allows agents to give you better guidance and advice. 

 

When it comes to negotiating, attention to detail is key. Your real estate agent knows what details need to be written into the contract. There are numerous documents involved in the process and having an agent to help navigate all of the paperwork is important, especially when questions or concerns arise, they can advise. This invaluable knowledge is helpful regardless of whether you are the seller or buyer. 

 

152,922 Real Estate Agent Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Fiduciary Responsibility – Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, they must put your best interest first. Whether they’re working on your behalf to sell your home, or help you purchase one, their loyalty remains with you. 

 

Network of Professionals – It takes a team of various professionals to get you to closing day. From home inspectors, to mortgage brokers, to attorneys, etc, a real estate agent has a trusted network of other professionals to help you every step of the way.  

 

If you are on the other side of the real estate process and are looking to purchase a home, working with an agent is just as important. Buying a home is one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make and you want to have an expert on your side. Real estate agents are tapped into their network and have access to various sites, like the MLS, to get the most up-to-date listings. 

 

Whether buying or selling, either side can benefit significantly from hiring a real estate agent. The reasons may be different but the end goal is relatively the same, to ensure as smooth and stress-free process as possible. 

In this digital world we live in, it’s difficult to grow your business without implementing some form of social media marketing. Harnessing the power of social media allows real estate agents to create a digital footprint and connect with their audience on a personal level. 

 

Effective networking is all about building powerful connections, and the goal for agents is to become well-known within their respective communities as the go-to source for all things real estate.

 

From a marketing standpoint, social media platforms, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, should be a part of your business toolbox. Leveraging social media allows an instantaneous connection with the audience. It opens up your sphere of influence and referral base and allows you to connect with an unlimited number of people. That includes existing clients, potential new clients, and industry peers. 

 

Social media should be the tool you use on a consistent basis to promote your business and build your reputation. Just like the housing market itself, which is competitive, so is the real estate business. Within any city, you’ll find hundreds of agents which is why it’s important to position yourself as an industry leader. 

Maris Callahan, founder and CEO of Social Broker, a full-service content membership based platform that helps entrepreneurs build their brands and grow their business with social media strategies, knows firsthand the importance and power social media has for real estate agents. 

 

“Social media is no longer optional in the real estate industry,” explains Callahan. “As a real estate agent, there is nothing more important than staying top of mind among your sphere of influence so that your clients, friends, and contacts remember that you’re in real estate before they even need you.”

 

Having worked in a real estate brokerage firm as the director of communications, Callahan saw the impact social media could have on individual real estate agents and small teams. Passionate about connecting through social media and recognizing a need for more education and resources in the real estate space, is one of the reasons she decided to launch a business that would help agents grow their business organically by using social media platforms more meaningfully to acquire new business.     

 

Ask any agent and they’ll tell you, a good deal of their business comes from referrals. Reaching out to current and past clients is one way to get referrals while using social media to network is highly effective in generating new business. The more you market yourself, the better your chances are of being successful. 

 

And while every agent should use this type of self-marketing, it is only as effective if you do it correctly. You want to keep your followers interested and engaged so that they will look forward to the next piece of information you share.   

That also includes networking with professionals and peers within the industry. Following other real estate agent’s social media pages and engaging on posts allows you to see how they’re marketing their business, opens up the opportunity to ask questions, as well as gain additional knowledge about the business as a whole. 

 

The use of social media in the real estate business is not new, and many agents have already been utilizing these platforms so standing out can be a challenge. Create a social media plan before you start randomly posting. Map out what you want to share and then look for a social media scheduling tool that will allow you to schedule your content in advance. There are many different ones available so do a little homework before getting started. 

 

Next, decide on a realistic schedule. How often will you be able to post? Is it two, three, or even four days a week? Once you decide, stick with the pattern. Keep in mind, you can always increase the number of days you post content but you don’t want to decrease. As Callahan points out, “As with so many things, you’ll get out of social media what you put in.” 

 

Now, think about your followers. Before you decide on what type of content you plan to share, ask yourself, is it useful to them? Not all of your posts should be listings. You want to be a resource to buyers and sellers in your local market and you can do so by sharing relevant information. 

 

“Social media doesn’t work if you’re only posting your listings, or if you ‘ghost and post’ once a week,” says Callahan. “Social media is a long-term strategy that relies on consistency – posting regularly, having variety, posting different types of content, and a balance between business and personal content.” 

 

A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your social media should contain something of interest to your client. Think of it as establishing yourself as an expert. The remaining 20% of your posts can be about your business. 

 

So exactly what type of content should you be posting to garner the most engagement from your audience? Think of the following three pillars when creating something of value for your audience. 

 

Educate – Answer popular questions potential buyers and sellers might have, share a quick tip or a customer review. 

 

Entertain – Pose a fun question to your audience to try and get them engaged in the conversation, create a holiday -themed post, or share a meme that’s relevant to the real estate industry. 

 

Inspire –  Share an accomplishment or an inspirational quote, as well as give your audience a behind the scenes look at what you do. 

 

To help get the creative juices flowing we’ve listed a few types of content you’ll want to start creating. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These types of posts are also conversation starters so be sure to follow up with any comments or messages you receive from followers on your posts. This kind of engagement can lead to a valuable connection with a buyer or seller. 

 

We know that getting in the social media game can feel overwhelming. It’s a full-time job and as a real estate agent, chances are you don’t have the time to commit to social media. If that’s the case, don’t let it be the reason why you don’t have one. 

 

If you lack the time or skills to create a polished and professional presence that’s where Callahan and her team come in. With three different membership plans to choose from, they assist real estate agents with the content and strategies needed to excel in the social media space. “If you follow our strategies, use our content and incorporate your personality into your social media presence, you will, over time, generate leads on social media,” says Callahan. 

 

If you still haven’t fully committed to establishing yourself on social media, remember this, you are your best billboard!

At the beginning of every New Year, most people make resolutions that involve some form of change. Whether that be professionally or personally, it’s a chance to give ourselves a goal to start anew. 

 

For anyone who has had their sights set on jumping into the real estate market then you know how crazy it’s been these past two years as the pandemic turned the home buying process completely upside down. It may be a New Year but is it a new market? 

 

With mortgage rates hitting a historic low, coupled with an inventory shortage, the red-hot real estate market saw homes selling within hours of being listed, bidding wars ensuing, and sale prices closing over asking price.  

 

When it comes to the real estate market, we know anything is possible, but housing experts predict that in this New Year, buyers will likely see similar trends to the last two years which included elevated prices, low-inventory, and fast turnaround. 

 

Another contributing factor fueling home buyers were the extremely low interest rates which hovered near historic lows for an extended period of time, a result of the Federal Reserve buying mortgage backed securities to support the economy. But in 2022, the Fed plans to lessen those purchases to curb rising inflation. As a result, mortgage rates are expected to rise.

 

How much they will increase is not entirely clear, but economic predictions estimate the Fed may raise interest rates three times in 2022. This potential change will have an effect on the home buying process although the new policy isn’t likely to “hurt” buyers in the next few months. Regardless, it’s safe to say anyone looking to purchase are encouraged to act sooner rather than later.

 

While the buyers are out there, it’s the sellers who are slowing down a tad bit.  When the pandemic started, the demand increased and pushed the home prices to an all-time high. And although we have rounded the corner when it comes to the pandemic, the 2022 housing market will likely continue to be costly, with home prices and rents remaining on the higher end of the spectrum.

 

Along with the demand for homes comes an increase in demand for rentals, especially as we head into the first quarter of 2022. The previous discounts that landlords had been giving out during the height of COVID are practically gone. As these concessions disappear, many renters are finding it difficult to afford their current apartments and will have to move. 

 

As a result, there will be an increase in availability with inventory opening up. The demand for rentals in the neighborhoods chock-full of amenities will also be greater. The areas most desirable are the ones with shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, especially as these sectors have re-opened their doors and welcomed back their customers. For many people, these amenities are an important factor when it comes to deciding where to live. Being close to all of these things, as well as transportation, is a luxury many potential renters, and even buyers, seek out. Areas such as Dumbo, Fort Greene, Bushwick, Gowanus, and Red Hook, will be some of the more attractive places to live for these reasons. 

 

Finding a place to call home, whether buying or renting, is never as easy as we hope it will be. The real estate market will always go through highs and lows, and this upcoming year is no exception. Keeping that in mind, here are a few things to consider for anyone planning to make a move in 2022.

Prices will remain high 

According to economists at Realtor.com and Zillow, the competition isn’t likely to die down this year. Economic trends such as low inventory, elevated demand, and low mortgage rates will continue to give sellers leverage in the market.

 

Buyers will continue to see potential bidding wars, particularly when the market picks up in the spring and summer months. Although it’s hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen, Zillow predicts home values will rise by 11% in 2022. While not as high as in 2021, it’s still a substantial increase. 

 

Increase in interest rates 

With the likelihood of interest rates rising multiple times this coming year means mortgage rates are likely to increase as well.  Home experts predict a 30-year fixed mortgage rate will reach 3.60% by the end of 2022 compared to the average of 3.30% as of now. The upside to an increase in mortgage rates is that buyers scooping up property for investment purposes may lessen, giving the people who buy homes to live in more of an advantage. 

Inventory will remain low 

The number of homes actively for sale fell to a record low at the end of last year, and the etnrance of new listings has been slow moving into 2022. Spring has generally been the time when the market picks up and while there are likely to be more listings come spring and into summer, there may not be enough to meet the demand. It will continue to be a strong sellers market. 

Home buyers, be prepared 

With the way the market is trending, it’s important for buyers to be on their A-game. That means doing research ahead of time, having the proper documents readily on hand, and being ready to act quickly. That includes making an offer almost immediately. For some buyers, purchasing out- of-state has them relying on photos and showings being done via computer and over zoom.  

 

From the realtor side, agents not only have their eye out for new listings, but listings that are “coming soon” to the market. Knowing what a client wants and how much they’re willing to spend allows agents to hone in on the right properties. There’s no sense in taking potential buyers to properties that don’t meet their needs or are out of their price range when the market is this competitive.

 

And while the 2022 real-estate market may not reach the incredible heights it did in 2021, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon. In the meantime, do what you need to be prepared for when the right home comes along and work closely with your real estate agent who can guide you through the entire process. 

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