Great questions! And let me be the first to say, at least on Trulia, welcome to the midsouth. Hiring a buyer's agent will be the best decision to make regarding your home purchase. In most cases, the agent's fee will be paid by the selling agent (who is paid by the seller) but this can change based upon the buyer's agent's business model.
If you are hoping to pursue the foreclosure home route, it is even more imperative that you have an agent representing you on this purchase. Real estate agents are not just to show you the properties but to guide you through the purchase offer, negotiations, inspections, financing, and much, much more. The agent will be your representative and look out for your best interest.
Its not too early to hire your agent with a July/August moving date, especially if you decide to purchase a foreclosure. Start looking online at the available homes and your agent will also be able to find all the foreclosed properties available for sale.
Happy hunting and thank you for your service!
You will not be expected to pay any commission, the sellers pays the commission. The only time I have ever had a buyer pay me is on a for sale by owner when the seller did not have a realtor and my clients fell in love with the property. We had been working together for a while and they did pay me a commission. Many time a FSBO will pay, this one did not though.
The foreclosure issue depends on the condition it could be as short as a couple of weeks if the house is in good shape or longer if more repairs are needed. Many times if they could not pay their mortgage then they did not do basic repairs either.
I have lived in Millington for 47 yrs and know the area very well, I also have a15yr daughter so I understand the schools. If you look on my web site you will see that I also work with alot of military families so I understand thier needs.
I'm not sure of your location now but if you are interested in viewing REO and Gov. foreclosures/properties for sale then you might find this interesting.....http://www.hud.gov/homes/index.cfm ... in Shelby county there were quite a few properties for sale. Information on the purchasing/bidding process for Hud homes is also provided. Found some properties REO for shelby county here also...http://bankofamerica.reo.com/search/.
You can find links to these Bank and Gov. sites provided for the public here...http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/wiki/REO_Database_List.asp
The other parts of your question is stuff you'll get worked out after you have a discussion with whoever you choose to represent you.
My advice is if you do end up having to pay 0 for representation you should see if you can get a discount on that plus some pens.
First, you will have no problem with staying in your price range (you'll live like a king) and have the commute you desire. I know of several properties that will fit the bill on that. Your credit is good and you have lots of financing choices depending on what you are trying to achieve (low downpayment, a low payment,s low interest rate, etc.).
When you purchase a home as a buyer generally the seller pays all commissions. This is not a buyer's expense. If a house is listed, then the seller has already agreed to pay the listing agent "x" amount. The listing agent them agrees to pay a buyer's agent from their proceeds. If you decide not to use a buyer's agent and go directly to the listing agent depending on the private listing agreement between the seller and listing agent - the listing agent will make the full commission. Not you, nor will you have to pay the commission.
The only time you will have to pay the commssion as a buyer is if you signed an agreement with the buyer's agent stating if the seller refuses to pay (like in a for sale by owner situation) that you will pay it. Know what you sign.
A good buyer's agent is worth every penny and then some. 99% of the time you pay nothing and they protect and negotiate you more. Would go to court unrepresented? He who represents himself usually has a fool for a client (I believe O W Holmes said that). I have seen nightmares that cost folks their lifesavings just trying to save a dime. In the end they didn't understand how they let it happen to them.
Be careful of foreclosures with certain types of loans. If repairs are required and most foreclosures are sold "as is", the deal may not work or you might get stuck paying prior to closing or worst - financing repairs into Your loan. There are good deals all around, not only with REO (real estate owned property), so don't limit yourself.
As far as three years down the road with your agent - most are generous with past clients. This is as individual as can be. Some companies do not allow their agents to make special deal - they mandate how much can be charge. Others have more controll of their business paractices. Three years - a lot can happen and you may meet in your new town a Realtor who becomes your friend through church or work, etc. - who knows your spouse might want to become one. Let's not get the cart in front of the horse.
You are in the drivers seat - it's a buyer's market and you have so many things that are going your way.
Welsome to the area and best of luck. Let me know if I can help.