Question: What’s the first step I should take when shopping for a home?
Answer: With so much information readily available online about what homes are on the market and their so-called automated values, it seems counterintuitive and perhaps even self-serving to suggest that the first thing a buyer should do when shopping for a home is to contact a Realtor. But working with a real estate professional is essential, and can add invaluable insight far beyond what can be found online, even if the purchase is not planned for the immediate future.
A good agent adds excellent value to any home buying process by recommending where to start the process given each buyer’s specific situation—whether helping a buyer to understand the intricacies and differences between the area’s towns and neighborhoods, getting pre-qualified, deciphering comps, learning about schools, being kept in the loop about homes that are available “off market” (homes not being publicly marketed – which can be vital in the swift moving and competitive Bay Area real estate market), or explaining and preparing for the ever-growing and changing complexities of the home buying process.
Purchasing a home is typically one of the most expensive purchases of a lifetime. Obtaining the assistance of a locally knowledgeable agent adds priceless value to the home buying process.