Today’s real estate market is great for sellers, but tough and competitive for buyers. Prices are rising, inventory is low, and multiple bids are common. And this means that if you’re buying a house, a good agent is, well, indispensable. The difficulty lies in choosing the right agent who can meet your needs – one who has the experience, the local market knowledge, negotiating skill, and contract experience. And that combination is sometimes hard to find. But we’re here to help. Read on for the 4 essential questions to ask your agent before buying a house in New Jersey.
1. How much and what kind of experience do you have?
Before buying a house in New Jersey – before you even begin the home search – you need to find out about your agent’s experience. Certainly, a brand-new agent can do a good job for you, but it’s a safer bet to go with an agent who has plenty of experience.
“A newer agent might have more time to concentrate on you unless he’s holding down another job. You can ask about this as well. That said, there’s no bar exam for real estate agents, and no school offers a degree in how to handle problems in a transaction. Agents learn on the job. The more sales an agent has completed, the more he knows. It’s even possible that he’s taken courses and attended seminars, and it’s OK to ask about this, too.”
But your agent has to have the right experience for your needs. You’ll need an agent who has worked extensively in the area you’re interested in and with the kind of home you’re looking for.
2. How will you help me compete in today’s market without overpaying?
As we mentioned early on, today’s market favors sellers. So before buying a house, you also need to ask your prospective agent how she can help you compete in this – and without overpaying.
“A skilled real estate agent will tell you that preparation and speed will be your primary weapons to create winning offers in a competitive market. There are many things to prepare before you can start touring homes, and an excellent agent will help you have all of the appropriate documents ready to go before an offer goes out. A few basic items include having a pre-approval letter from a lender and an existing relationship with a mortgage expert who is eager to help you buy a home.:
In fact, in today’s market, some homes receive sight-unseen offers, and “[o]ther homes have dozens of showing requests within a few hours of hitting the market.” Your agent, then, should be responsive and able to get you showing appointments quickly. Should also know how to craft a winning offer that makes your offer stand out above the others.
To learn more about how an agent can help you be competitive in your market, contact a New Jersey agent at 855-966-DEALS.
3. Can you help me find a location right for me?
Remember, too, that you’re not just buying a house. You are buying into a neighborhood where you’ll likely live for several years. And many buyers just don’t what neighborhood is really suitable for them, so be to ask your agent how she can help you in this regard.
Choosing the right neighborhood isn’t as straightforward as it seems. There are many things to consider, such as . . .
- Your work commute
- Proximity of amenities
- Neighborhood personality
- Traffic and other noise
- Public transit availability
- Quality of schools
“It can be hard to find a location that meets every requirement, but your real estate agent has a deeper understanding of your area. So, he or she can point you towards locations that have most of your wish list items. Without that help, you could miss out on a great neighborhood you never heard of or didn’t think you’d love.”
4. What concessions and contingencies should I include in the contract?
And then you need to ask your agent about contract matters, especially concessions and contingencies. These are extremely important and can even be deal breakers for buying a house in New Jersey.
- “Concessions are contract clauses that obligate the seller to help financially. A common concession is asking the seller to cover all or part of the closing costs.”
- “Contingencies are contract clauses that allow you to back out after signing the contract. Common contingencies include the house passing inspection and you qualifying for a mortgage.”
Because these are such important contractual matters, you need to ask your agent about them. If you include too many, you’ll likely scare away sellers and cause them to reject your offer. But if you don’t include them, you won’t be protected if things go wrong or you may wind up paying too much.
Where to Find a Good New Jersey Agent
These are four of the most important questions you should ask your agent before buying a house, but there are many more you need to ask. Finding the right agent usually requires a fairly lengthy and rigorous interview process. There is, however, an easier way to find a great New Jersey agent. And that is to work with a premier agency known for its savvy agents. So before buying a house in New Jersey, be sure to contact us today at 855-966-DEALS.