When buying a home, a good broker is an incredibly valuable resource, especially if it’s your first time. They serve as guides to the neighborhood and the home buying process, which can get complicated. They know mortgage brokers, inspectors, and sometimes even listings that the rest of the public does not.
Many people like to consider themselves armchair experts when it comes to real estate, but the business is a nuanced one, best navigated by a professional. We spoke to agents around the country and got some of their best insights, things they are probably too polite to say around clients to help you better negotiate the home-buying process.
1. Qualified clients are my priority: If you have been preapproved for a mortgage, know how much you can put down and understand debt-to-income ratio, then any broker will be happy to spend day and night finding you the perfect home.
If you’re just getting your feet wet to either rent or buy a new place or don’t quite have the cash to start the process, then go to open houses as opposed to a private outing with a broker. Open houses are designed to let people look and ask questions without wasting a broker’s time. (Or two brokers, since many listings are shared.) Along the way you may find a broker you want to work with who can get into specifics for your budget and needs, when you’re ready to pull the trigger.
Generally speaking, a broker will ask you up front if you’ve been preapproved for a loan. If you haven’t, they may ask you to call back when you have all your paperwork in order.
2. My time is money: Brokers work on a 100% commission structure, so it’s not very cost-effective to work with people if they aren’t serious about buying or renting a place in the immediate future. Brokers try to prescreen everyone on the phone: when are you looking to move? Have you spoken to a mortgage broker? They have to make sure that time with a client is spent wisely.