The ebbs and flows from the stock market to the real estate market leave many wondering if now is a good time to purchase a home. The recent rise in interest rates may motivate some to buy sooner than later. Many buyers start off by searching online and quickly become overwhelmed with the vast inventory of homes and the many different communities. Part of the home search process is finding a realtor, a skilled professional who is an also an expert in the community.
Many communities in Southern Westchester have different amenities such as recreation, parks, pools, and parking at the train. etc. When you search online, this information may not be readily available. This is why it is best to find a local real estate agent with firsthand knowledge of a community. Local agents know the area, know what’s happening in the real estate market with respect to inventory, what’s coming soon to the market and values.
Besides familiarity with a community, what are the qualities of a good realtor?
Many people often will refer their friends or family members and some refer those who are new to the industry. They may be enthusiastic and energetic and even have experience in another business but don’t have the skill set to handle a real estate transaction. A skilled realtor will know the process and often has relationships with other local realtors. Although the process is similar, each one is a bit different with regard to terms, different personalities and a different “tempo”. One has to know how to handle objections, multiple offers, when to be “pleasantly” aggressive and when to wait. It’s important to have experience when negotiating under all market conditions and with many personalities.
Furthermore, an experienced realtor should do their due diligence when representing either a buyer or seller or in a dual agency situation. This includes, but is not limited to, checking the taxes, square footage, assessor cards, building department cards, other property information, any environmental issues such as underground oil tanks and checking for any liens and or violations.
In addition, the realtor should be available to you by text, email and phone. They should be available to meet with you. Many realtors today work on a team rather than solo. Both models have their pluses and minuses.
A team will typically have several agents, each having a different function such as a showing agent, a closing agent and one who handles the negotiations. If your agent is part of a team, clarify with whom you speak with and who will be showing you homes. Theoretically, there is someone always available to the client. The negative is that too many people are involved in one transaction leaving you feeling frustrated that your texts, emails or calls go unanswered. In contrast, work with a single realtor who is representing you. They will show you the properties, negotiate, attend the inspection, appraisal and walk through, connect with the attorney, mortgage broker and understand the buyer’s needs from start to finish.
After you have found the right agent, review your need and want lists, price points and get pre-qualified. Your realtor will ask if you want land, the style of home, square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and if you will renovate the home vs. one that is move-in ready. Finally, organize your team with a home inspector/engineer and real estate attorney.
Michele Silverman Bedell is the owner and Licensed Real Estate broker for Silversons Realty, a firm delivering personalized, concierge service to the need of each client. Michele has more than 25 years of real estate experience, working under all market conditions, in Westchester and surrounding areas.