Choosing the right real estate agent for your needs can make all the difference in your home buying experience. An experienced agent will do more than just help you find your next place of residence. He or she will accelerate the process for you, help you avoid delays and unforeseen pitfalls, and get you the best possible home for your needs and budget.

Every agent has their own approach and style when it comes to dealing with buyers, sellers and the network of other professionals needed to close on a new home. And every buyer should choose an agent with whom they feel comfortable and confident. I hope to be that reliable partner for all of my customers, but regardless of who you choose, here are 5 essential services every buyer should expect from their realtor.

Getting You Pre-approved

Getting pre-approved is one of the most critical steps a buyer should take before beginning their search. Pre-approval does more than speed up the process when you find the home of your dreams. It means a lender has verified your income, employment, and credit, which will also give you an accurate estimate of how much you can spend on your new home. This helps you narrow your search and saves time. An experienced realtor will have access to trusted lenders who can guide you through the process and get you pre-approved, so you can start searching for your dream home!

It’s equally important that your agent keep abreast of your credit status and mortgage commitment throughout the buying process. The last thing you want as a buyer is to learn that an error or change in your mortgage will affect the purchase of your home, require a larger down payment, or make it financially unfeasible for you to get the property you’ve worked so hard to acquire. I’ll be on top of this to ensure your approval isn’t jeopardized at any time during the sale.

Making an Offer

Easily one of the most valuable services I provide to my clients is my ability to negotiate the best price for your new home. I pride myself on the research, knowledge and insight I bring to the negotiating table, which helps me determine the true value of the property. I am an advocate for my clients, I will be able to advise you on what your initial offer should be, and when you are spending more than the value of the listing. Has the home been on the market for several months? Is the seller motivated? Have previous inspections revealed irregularities that will affect the price? An effective agent will advise you throughout the negotiation, leaving no stone unturned. My job isn’t done until I have come away with the best deal I can secure for you.

Managing the Home Inspection Process

I always tell my clients that a real estate agent isn’t just one person, but rather a team of professionals from many disciplines, who work together to get you into your dream home. The home inspector is a key member of this team, and the person best qualified to give you the most accurate diagnosis of the heath and value of the property. As with any other professional, there are good and bad inspectors. Your realtor should have the best in the business on speed dial, because they know how much of a difference they can make in the home-buying process.

Finding the right man or woman for the job is only the beginning. I make a point to attend every home inspection. Many agents skip this step, but I believe it is critical for me to be on site so I can learn firsthand what the inspector discovers, and share this insight with you. Then, we can together come up with a plan of action to address the findings and modify your offer accordingly. At this time, I may also advise you to have other inspections conducted at the home, for common issues like mold or lead paint. These inspections represent a small investment on the buyer’s part, but they will give you peace of mind or alert you to potential issues that may or may not be deal-breakers.

A thorough inspection gives us more negotiating power. Based on what we learn and report, we can request repairs, a reduction in the asking price, or other concessions. A good realtor knows exactly how to navigate these dealings to extract the most value for their clients. My approach to these negotiations is always to be tough but fair. No home is in perfect condition, and part of my job is to know what to fight for, and how much to ask for.

Be the Liaison Between All Parties

A home purchase has many moving parts and many parties at the table. The realtor keeps the communication transparent and open between the buyer’s attorney and the seller’s agent, ensuring that the process is moving along smoothly and without any unexpected surprises for either side. This is an important part of my job, and it requires adept communications skills. My years of experience in sales and marketing have served me well during this process!

Close the Deal!

I wouldn’t be a very good agent if I didn’t help you close on your dream home. As simple as that might sound, first-time buyers are often surprised at how complex and stressful a closing can be. Beyond the paperwork, there are many details that require your attention, and therefore my attention. Many closings fall through at the last minute because of an oversight that could have been avoided by a diligent agent. I’ll be there to ensure you close on the home you want, at the price you want.

Your agent shouldn’t merely send you listings and show you properties until you find the one that suits you. She is an invaluable ally who will save you time, money and stress. She will help you find the home that fits your budget, lifestyle and unique needs. And she has the know-how and network to give you all the information you need to make the right decisions at every stage. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions a person makes in their lives. You need the right partner by your side. My team and I are ready to help.