So you have determined that you want to buy and what. You are ready to get out there in the market and look. But what’s your budget? What is the market like? Is this property a good value or will you end up with a lemon? All these and more questions can be solved by getting a Buyer’s Agent! Why? To help you set a budget, know what is in the market, know the value of properties, and save you time, money, and legal hassles.
What is the function of a Buyer’s Agent?
1) Help you set a realistic budget. If you have a set budget, then you will not waste time looking for homes that are unattainable. This budget may be set based on what you have in savings, in income, or by what you actually want to spend. Usually a combination of the three. A buyer’s agent can help you look at your income and determine whether or not you need to get a mortgage and if yes, determine your monthly payments.
2) Check out what is in the market for you. You may decide that you only want to spend a certain amount, but once you start looking, your needs or dreams and your budget may not match up. How do you know what is out there? A good first start is by checking websites and Realtor.com and in Costa Rica, http://www.realtor.com/international or mls.mls-cr.com. You can search what is in your price range to see if your needs match up. Also, talking to a buyer’s agent will help you adjust your budget or your dreams to match what’s in the market.
3) Know what is priced right and what is not. Just because something is listed on a website doesn’t mean it’s priced well. A buyer’s agent should be able to give you a market overview of different areas and what has sold and what has been sitting at different prices. He/she should be able to advise on potential construction costs if you are comparing buying a home versus building one. In the end, the right price is when the buyer and seller are both happy.
4) Save time. A buyer’s agent can guide you from the beginning. You don’t have to go from agency to agency to find a property. Good agents will know most everything that is in the market, have the tools to find what is there, and will work with other agents to find exactly what is right for you.
5) Save money. For sale by owners are always cheaper, right? Wrong. Owners usually say they avoid Realtors because they want to save on the commission, but sometimes it is because they have priced a property based on what they want to receive, not what is legitimate for the market. Many don’t want to hear what a Realtor has to say on the value of the property or are just hoping someone will come along, fall in love, and buy the property at any price.
6) Save yourself legal battles. Especially in Costa Rica, it is important to know that everything is legally registered in the system before you buy. A buyer’s agent should make sure that anything that is being shown to you is legal for selling. The correct property size must be registered in the National Registry and have a correct “plano” or property map for you to see. The “owners” need to be the official owners in the system. Many times here in Costa Rica a parent or grandparent passes properties on to children without registering the change. This means that the new owner has no right to actually sell the property to you. Properties set up in the names of corporations have the same problem. You must make sure the person signing has authority to sign. If not, you are in for a long legal battle. Get yourself a good buyer’s agent and avoid this.
A buyer’s agent doesn’t cost you anything. The main thing is to find someone in whom you feel confident, who is knowledgeable about the market, and who is showing you what you want to see not what they are trying to push you into. Talk to several agents to decide with whom you feel most comfortable and who is most attentive even before you start looking at homes.
See our listings on tnrealestatecr.com and on mls.mls-cr.com