If you have ever looked at a home on the market you have probably received a document called the Real Estate Brokerage Relationship Form. It is a required document by the State of Maine that becomes very important during the home buying process.
The first time you speak with an agent in regards to real estate you automatically become a customer. As a customer, we must disclose all material defects pertaining to the physical condition that we know or can physically see. We are expected to treat both the buyer and seller honestly and to not knowingly provide any false information. We can account for all money received on behalf of the buyer or seller and we agree to comply with all state and federal laws related to real estate brokerage.
This sounds great but there are a few more considerations throughout the process that leads to Client Level Services.
As a Client we must put the buyers and sellers best interest first. What does this mean? This means we are providing you with Representation! We are working with you and in turn you are working exclusively with us. This gives us the power as agents to advise you, whether it be researching the neighborhood, doing a market analysis on past sold homes in the area before writing an offer, giving you our professional opinion on a purchase based on the property. Once you find a home you're interested in perusing as a client we can now assist with negotiation the best price and or terms throughout the process.
In addition to advising you we now must use skill and care in regard to any written agreements or contracts. We also must maintain confidentiality in regards to bargaining information, for example if you are pre-approved for 300k and are looking at a home for $200k we won't tell the seller or sellers agent that you could easily afford to make a higher offer.
As a customer we can not provide any of these services as we are not representing you. If you as a buyer ask Q: "What you think you should offer on a home?" A: We can't say, how much would you like to offer?" Q: "Should we ask the seller to help with closing costs?" A:"It's up to you, how much would you like to ask for?" we can't advise you in any way.
We are happy to work with you in either capacity as a buyer but our goal is for you to know exactly what the difference is between these two options and how they can direct your overall buying experience.
This is a common misconception. Many buyers think they should find the perfect home before approaching the bank for a mortgage if the purchase is not a cash sale. We recommend seeing a lender before you start to look at homes so you know exactly what loan product(s) you qualify for giving you the confidence of knowing your spending power! Lenders assist by discussing interest rates, downpayment and can let you know approximately what your payments will be. Having a pre-appoval or pre-qualification helps us as agents suggest or eliminate homes from your search. Knowing what type of loan you will be using gives us the insight to look for homes that may be better suited for that loan or that do not qualify to save not only your valuable time but the sellers time as well.
The terms inspection and appraisal can be easily confused. A home inspection is primarily an inspection that is purchased out-of-pocket by you, the buyer. You choose the company and or inspector to take an in-depth look at the property resulting in a report so you know more about the property you are purchasing. An inspection is not a requirement by the bank or any other financial qualifying entity.
An Appraisal is a process completed by a licensed appraiser that is determining value of a home. They are hired primarily by the bank that is funding the sale of the property to ensure their investment is sound. In some cases different loan products that may be associated with a grant or federal backing will have additional set standards usually surrounding safety, (i.e. steps with no railings, chipping flaking paint, unfinished building elements.) In some cases, these items may require fixing by the seller prior to the appraisal being complete.
There is no right or wrong time! The real estate market moves through phases of up's and down's as do interest rates. Chasing the market is hard to do and can leave you missing out on your dream home! The best time to start searching and to buy a home is when you are ready. We are here to guide you through the process and along with a team of professional lenders, inspectors, appraisers, and title companies, we will make sure you are making an educated step into home ownership.