The Internet is awash with short and incomplete lists of tips for homebuyers. For the many Americans unfamiliar with the home-buying process, trying to determine which tips to focus on could be confusing. Upon reading these lists, aspiring homebuyers must ask themselves, “Are these tips that industry experts would actually recommend, and are they worth spending my valuable time on?”

To remedy this problem, Market Leader gathered tips for homebuyers from half a dozen sources, put them all on one giant list, and, after removing the trivial and contradictory ones, surveyed almost 400 real estate agents about the importance of each tip. For the 17 tips featured in this survey, participants indicated whether they found them to be very, moderately or slightly important for homebuyers – or not recommendable at all!

The Market Leader blog staff also created an infographic, “The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer Tips,” that you can share on your website to educate current or prospective clients.

Did we miss a tip? Please share it in the comments!

The most important tips for homebuyers to know, as recommended by real estate agents


Get a Home Inspection

91.4 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.54 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety and overall condition of your new home, even if it appears flawless.

Get Preapproved for a Loan

89.0 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.78 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Before you start house hunting, get preapproved for a mortgage loan.

Communicate Through Your Agent

89.0 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.27 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: When you want to ask or tell the seller something, always go through your real estate agent.

Put the Deal Into Writing

87.5 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.83 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Get the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.

Include Contingencies With Offer

83.0 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.78 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Include important contingencies, such as financing and property inspections, with your offer.

Develop a Wish List

82.4 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

0.27 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Come up with a realistic wish list. Find out what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood and amenities.

Know Your Local Market

75.6 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

1.7 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Know as much about the local market as you can. Use your agent’s CMA to learn about the selling price of comparable homes and the strength of the local real estate market.

Prioritize!

68.5 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

1.11 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Decide what’s most important to you before the negotiation so you know what parts of your offer you’re most comfortable giving up.

Look Into Government Programs

57.7 of agents say this is a very important tip.

1.36 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Look into programs for first-time homebuyers. See if you qualify for the lower interest rates, low down payment options and down payment assistance programs some banks and governmental organizations offer first-time homebuyers.

Research Real Estate Agents

54.7 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

7.61 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Don’t just work with the first real estate agent you come across! Do your homework and find one you’re comfortable with.

Keep Other Houses in Mind

43.9 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

5.8 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: When you begin negotiating on a specific property, know of other houses you’d be interested in buying. You don’t want to be so desperate to buy a certain house that you give in to whatever the seller wants.

Be Smart With Your Contingencies

40.6 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

9 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Avoid including unnecessary contingencies in your offer. Doing so will make it less attractive.

Keep Negotiations Short

39.8 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

4.8 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Avoid long, drawn-out negotiations, which can negatively affect the chances of your offer being accepted.

Shop around for Mortgages

37.9 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

4.7 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Shop around for at least several mortgage quotes before choosing one.

Ask for More Than You Want

32.1 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

10.1 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Ask for more than you want during negotiations, without asking too much. You can “give in” to the seller without actually giving up the things you want!

Scope out Neighborhoods, Neighbors

31.9 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

7.1 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Talk to neighbors to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to live in the neighborhoods of homes you are interested in. While doing so, gauge if you would like to live next to these people for the foreseeable future. Bad neighbors can affect your property’s value.

Connect With the Sellers

24.9 percent of agents say this is a very important tip.

27.5 percent of agents don’t recommend this tip.

The tip: Establish a connection with the sellers. You may be able to get a better deal if the sellers see you as a person, not just an opportunity.


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