Home Buying in Columbia>Question Details

Berlin.swing, Home Buyer in Charleston, SC

First home buyer & finding an agent

Asked by Berlin.swing, Charleston, SC Mon Apr 15, 2013

Hello! My husband and I will be relocating to the Irmo area and buying our first home within the year. We've been advised by family that we don't really need an agent since we're lucky enough to be in a good financial situation. Would other homebuyers agree? If we do decide to find an agent, how should we go about looking and what sort of questions should we ask to be sure they're right for us? Thanks!

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Thanks everyone for your very informative answers! We will keep all of your advice in mind when we begin househunting, hopefully soon.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
This question was answered back on April 16th by myself and a number of other agents!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 21, 2013
If you consult a real estate agent you will get a better idea of how to go about with buying a house. I consider agents the most most easiest and convenient way to go about this kind of process.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 20, 2013
Good afternoon Berlin.swing,

First steps:

Meet with a Local Mortgage Banker to get prequalified for mortgage financing. The Mortgage Banker will review all facets of your loan request to answer your questions with regards to the types of loans and maximum loan amounts you could qualify for.

Line up a Home Inspector. A good home inspector will scare the heck out of you: that's what you pay him for! But you'll concentrate on the fundamentals of the property: roof free of leaks, plumbing, heating and electrical up to code and in good working order. Again, when you make an offer and you have your Home Inspector ready to go, your offer will be considered with much more interest by a Seller because you truly have your "ducks in a row" and your preparation demonstrates your serious attitude about conducting the purchase transaction in a timely manner.

Find an experienced Local Realtor who works in your desired shopping area. A serious pro Realtor will refuse to show you homes until you are Prequalified for mortgage financing. Don't take offense! That Realtor doesn't want you to be disappointed and wants you to have a smooth experience as you shop for your new home.

Put together your Team of real estate professionals and shop 'til you drop!

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140

*If you thought my answer was helpful, please give me a “Thumbs Up” or “Best Answer.” Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 30, 2013
I would disagree with your family members. You always want to have an agent who will be representing you. It is a myth that homes are cheaper when not using an agent. If the home is listed by an agent the listing agent will be splitting his or her commission with the buyers agent. It doesn't cost the buyers any more to use one. Also if issues arise throughout the process your agent has the experience to make sure who are well taken care of. The only time I would think it'd be okay to not use an agent is if you were a cash buyer and still I would use an agent.

Sometimes family members mean well but may not have the best advice. When finding an agent be sure it is someone who is familiar with the area you are relocating to other than that most agents have the same knowledge, the only thing that will vary is their years of experience.

Best of Luck;

Christina Solorzano
CEO & SR Credit Repair Specialist at
Everlasting Credit Repair
Ex-Mortgage Broker of more than 10 years
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 30, 2013
Hello Berlin,
When you are shopping for a home, it is extremely important to know that the seller and/or builder WILL have an agent representing them - that agent will gladly sell the home to you.....but they still represent & have an obligation to the seller.
It is recommended that the buyer have an agent to protect your interest. They can interpret small details, spot possible problems, suggest items to request and negotiate on your behalf and their alligence is to you and your family not the seller or the builder. This also applies when it is a For Sale by Owner situation as well.
Regardless of how financially set you are, you don't want to needlessly loose any of your funds as a result of totally avoidable circumstances. I am not absolutely certain why family would suggest your not utilizing the services of an agent, however, often it is felt having your own agent may impact the selling price of a home or they are an expense to you. However, this is not normally the case. Note: the buyer is not normally the one who is responsible for payment to their agent. Under normal circumstances, the buyer does NOT pay their agent for the services rendered. They are paid by the seller.
Just remember, having an agent representing you means you have someone in your corner, working strictly for you!!
What to look for in an agent - 1. One who is able to spend adequate time with you.
2. One who you find easy to talk with - communicates well
3. One who truly LISTENS to your needs and criteria
4. One who is knowledgeable.
I would recommend you begin by interviewing agents, possibly beginning with those who have responded to your question....they have already shown an interest.
A few questions you could ask:
Are they a real estate agent or a Realtor - there is a difference.
Are they full time or part time -
How well do they know the area in which you have an interest in living?

Hope this helps
As always I am ready to assist,

Jackie Griffin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013

You have received so many responses already, all very informative so I'll simply add an answer to your question. Yes you should get an agent to represent your best interest. A buyers agent will assist you and ensure you have all the information needed to make an informed decision. I am a Real Estate agent however before I became an agent I purchased a home and without my agent I would have been lost. My agent simplified the process for me making the home buying process an enjoyable one. So as a homeowner I would recommend having an agent.
Ask the questions that you want to ask, only you can decide who is best for you to work with. You have to be comfortable with the person and trust that they are working for your best interest. All the best.

Fenella McFadden
Real Estate Professional
Fairfax Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
Hi Berlin,

Simply put, be it your first home or your fifth, every home buyer should at least consult with a Realtor. I am currently writing a six part series blog post on this very point. Please feel free to join the discussion right here, http://blog.searchcolumbiaschomesforsale.com/?p=49 and feel free to contact me at any time with questions.

Howard Rose III, Army (retired) Realtor
Associate Leadership Council
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
The seller pays the buyer agent's commission. If you can find a good buyer's agent, he or she can help you to check out the house.

1. Ask the agent whether they are full time or part time.

2. What kind of background they had?

You have to talk with at least 2-3 agents and find out which one you are comfortable to with you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013

Best of luck on your new move!! I have several reports that outlines certain questions to ask real estate agents to determine if they are a right fit for you. It's informative and very helpful. If you would like a copy of these reports please send me your email address and I will forward them to you. I would advise using an agent in the Columbia area and I would not attempt the home buying process alone. The agent of your choice will have your best interest in mind and will go to bat for you when there is a problem.


Brandon Ray
Carolina One Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
Definitely interview agents and have them represent you. Buyer's agent will ensure you get the best home value and look out for your best interest. As a first time homebuyer, an agent will help you find the best lender for you. SC have some awesome down payment assistance programs for first time buyers. Feel free to call or text me if you want to interview me 803-271-8333
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013

Every Buyer needs representation. Ask yourself this question. Would you go to court when the other side has a lawyer, but you do not? The seller will have an agent 99.9% of the time. The best reason is representation is free for you. Real estate buying is not only emotional, but also a huge investment. You need someone to represent your best intetest! Give me a call at 803-479-2843 or email me at Ira@IraCaesar.com and I will be happy to explain the many reasons for an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
Good Afternoon,

My name is Jay Luebke and I am an agent with Russell and Jeffcoat Real Estate in Columbia. Russell and Jeffcoat has one of the biggest presences in Columbia, and benefits both buyers and sellers.

Homebuying is a process that takes a good amount of work and expertise. Being that you are home buyers, I would strongly recommend obtaining the help of a buyers agent. One key reason is that you will not pay anything to get the experience of a professional to help guide you through the transaction.

I would strongly suggest looking at my website at http://www.JayLuebke.com as I have compiled information and resources regarding the home buying and selling processes. If you have any questions, or would like to talk more about anything on my website, or regarding using me as your buyers agent, please contact me at 919-696-3104 or send me an email at jluebke@russellandjeffcoat.com.

Thanks, and best of luck in your home search!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
Good afternoon. The home buying process is more than being in good financial shape. There are a number of steps you need to go through before you get to the closing table to sign for your home and get the keys. It is difficult even for people who have done it before, let alone someone who has not done it before. I would be happy to send you copies of the types of advise I give to all my clients, which outlines the process as well as provide helpful tools to get you through the home buying process.

You can then decide if I would be the right agent to help you through the process.

Feel free to contact me via email or phone.

All the best,

Mike Wyka
Real Estate Professional
Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate, Inc
(803) 261-6414
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
You absolutely want a buyer's agent. Your financial situation doesn't really have anything to do with it, but congratulations on being in good shape! Your real estate agent will interview you and help you find the right property, then guide you through the entire process of making and negotiating an offer, inspections, and getting to closing.

Agents have access to all of the homes listed for sale and can let you know how they should be priced so you don't pay too much.

The listing agent for each property represents the seller. Your buyer's agent represents you!

Do you have any friends in Columbia or in the Irmo area? If so, you might want to see if any of them had a good experience with a particular agent. If you can get some names, sit down and talk with them. Let them know you are looking for a buyer's agent and ask them why you should choose them. You want an agent who is patient with a first time home buyer and who will guide you in finding the property that meets your needs and you budget.

If you send me your e-mail address, I can send you my "Steps to Buying a Home" which will walk you through the process and let you know what I can do for you.

Page Latham
Real Estate Professional
Russell and Jeffcoat Real Estate
Web Reference: http://www.pagelatham.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013

I love first-time home buyers and have lived in the Irmo area for 30+ years! Send me your email address and I will forward my Buyer Presentation. It will give you a lot of insight into why you need your own realtor. You really need one that you're comfortable with. You can start your home search by registering at http://www.kris.searchingcolumbia.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Kris Deaton, Realtor
Exit Real Estate Solutions
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
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