REThink Real Estate
And I drove them over to a neighborhood similar to what they were used to and pulled them up to the curb of a home for sale that met their every criteria. They gasped with delight -- yes! this was it -- exactly what they'd been looking for! (Subtext: Why did it take you so long to show us this house?)
The list price on that home was more than two-and-a-half times what they were preapproved for.
Your agent might have been trying to tell you that your expectations were unrealistic, or trying to show you exactly what it would cost to get the home you said you wanted. You don't mention whether you ever found suitable listings at the right price range online and requested to see them, but that's certainly one way to get on the same page with an agent.
Moving forward, I'd urge you to be more aggressive in locating a suitable agent by getting a referral from another entry-level, first-time homebuyer who had a good experience with his or her agent; use any of the many real estate listing websites to conduct some proactive research into what listings are available and what you can get in your local market for the money you plan to spend; and do some investigating on the Web into first-time buyer programs in your area as well.
Before you contact agents, collect several referrals, then search for their names online to see if you can find any reviews from past clients, their own website or their participation in real estate Q-and-As online from which you can ascertain that they are first-time-buyer-friendly.
Then, walk into your first meeting with your next agent prepared with your mortgage preapproval paperwork, intelligent questions about specific listings, your local market, and what assistance programs they can help connect you with, and you'll likely have a better outcome the next go-round.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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