When Should I Engage a Real Estate Agent: Buyer’s Edition

If I told you how many times I have been walking down the streets of Manhattan, sitting in a restaurant or riding the subway and overheard a conversation about someone buying, selling, renting, moving, renovating, or relocating, you probably would think I was embellishing. If you know me well, you would be absolutely positive that I was embellishing. Haha. Seriously though, I don’t think a day has passed in which I haven’t heard the “apartment” discussion or watched someone browse properties on their phone or tablet. Often times, I insert myself and strike up a conversation about their situation and am frequently surprised that the person has not engaged a real estate agent.

When is the right time to engage a real estate agent? It depends on the agent, but if it is someone who has made it their business to know absolutely everything about the geographical area in which they sell, then it is never too early. If you are at the very early stages of even considering a move, involving a savvy and sophisticated agent can help a buyer:

  • Decide if you are financially qualified to make a move (down payment, financing, etc.)
  • Decide the best neighborhoods to consider for you and your desired lifestyle.
  • Decide what type of ownership best suits you (co-operative, condo, cond-op, or townhouse)
  • Decide how much of a home you can afford in your desired location (1BR, 2BR, etc.)
  • Manage expectations of market dynamics (negotiability, bidding wars, building requirements, timeline)

All too often, a real estate agent is engaged when the buyer begins to look at properties and sometimes even deeper into the search. If you desire a more efficient process, consider enlisting the help of a real estate agent the moment you begin to dream of that new home.

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