“We are at very early stages of buying a house. We will get in touch when we are further along or have a question”. This is a fairly common response from a prospective home buyer when I offer my services.
It made me think: What values does an advisor/agent add at different stages of the home buying process? While it is fairly clear that agents are invaluable when a prospective home buyer is ready to buy a house and start making offers, the value add is unclear to most buyers in the early stages.
Here is what I consider my value add:
Shifting market conditions
Market shifts happen fairly quickly in the Bay Area and Santa Clara County in particular. Without the help of an agent, a prospective buyer or seller will not see a trend until at least 2-3 months after it begins. A buyer engaged with an experienced agent will have a partner constantly watching for shifts.
Steps to get ready
It is very important to know the most important pre-buying steps. Just a few examples are financing, understanding basic disclosures and other property related documents, writing practice offers, and understanding the property market in target areas. I'm well-versed in these steps and can help you navigate them.
Target area selection
In early stages, most buyers get fixated on a small geographic area for their search. A good agent will broaden their targets to fit their requirements while finding them a better house and saving them money.
Target area analysis
This is one of the more important aspects in the early stages, and assistance from a qualified agent can be very beneficial. Recently sold houses and properties that are pending sale are a gold mine of information, and experienced agents are able to extract valuable information for their clients that you can't get from Zillow. It is also important to understand what makes a house sell very quickly versus one that sits on the market for a long time.
I have an extensive background in construction and remodels (check out my construction blogs) and as such, I am able to advise clients very early in their search about the difference between an updated house or a property in need of updates. If they're looking at a remodel, I am able to advise them about what is feasible and the approximate costs. For already updated homes, I can give them my opinion on the quality and cost of updates.
So in conclusion, engaging an agent at an early stage of the house buying process can be very beneficial for buyers and is highly recommended.