Should a First Time Home Buyer Use a Real Estate Agent?
Should a first time home buyer use a real estate agent (rather than going for sale by owner - FSBO)? It’s a good idea. For a first time home buyer, many problems can appear which an experienced broker would see and solved easily.
Keep in mind that the seller pays the Realtors’ commissions, not you.
A first time home buyer takes on a package of legal liabilities that can be even more important than the financial commitment to a 30-year mortgage. A person can abandon a house and mortgage, but not the legal responsibilities incurred while owning the house.
A Realtor can help avoid these problems at the beginning.
Radon is an issue that has reached the public consciousness only in the past couple decades. Another potential problem with older single-family homes is improper disposal of hazardous waste like crankcase oil, paint or auto batteries.
Home inspections are a complex technical procedure. Holding the seller and inspector accountable for later problems involves civil litigation, and it’s often hard to pin down the blame among the building contractor, previous owner, the inspector, insurers and other parties.
Hidden problems overlooked in an engineer’s inspection can result in huge costs or an unmarketable property. Even fairly new homes and condominium buildings are facing extensive repairs for mold, for instance.
The quality of building inspectors varies widely. An overzealous inspector can cost money in unnecessary repairs, while a lax one will saddle the buyer with expensive problems down the line.
An experienced local Realtor will know which inspectors in a certain area are trustworthy, and which to steer you away from. The Realtor will also know ways to soften the problems, such as making the seller’s homeowners insurance cover repair costs.
Zoning and covenants
Zoning laws that don’t apply to the seller due to grandfather clauses can apply to a new buyer of a property. Many subdivisions have covenants that are widely ignored, but still hang over the properties as potential legal problems. Again, a local Realtor will know about these problems where a first time home buyer can only find them out by a lengthy check through local regulations and records.
There are a lot of deals out there on foreclosed properties, but most banks and the two federal mortgage insurance programs that own these houses want to deal through professionals. Again, you will be dealing with professionals and it’s good to have one on your side as well.
Learn more about the first time home buyer experience with the free eBook "The Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home" at the button below. From FICO scores to down payments, it's all covered in this free guide.