Buying a House in 2024: What You Need to Know Now

Jun 27, 2024Buying Basics, Buying Up, First-Time Home Buyers, Homebuying Process, Real Estate Tips, Watching the Market


NAEBA asked Jon Boyd, Past President of NAEBA and long-time real estate broker serving only buyers, what he would advise consumers to do if they plan to buy a home in 2024. Jon indicated that it starts with the team – you, your buyer’s agent and the others who will help you get across the finish line and get the keys to your home. As you are assembling your team, Jon talks about the need to look for key characteristics of your agent (the one who works ONLY for you).

Home buyers should interview a couple of different buyer agents before they pick one and look especially for these five characteristics:

Property Evaluation Skills

Property evaluation skills are crucial for buyer agents because they enable them to assess the value and condition of homes accurately. A skilled agent should have a keen eye for details such as the quality of construction, potential repairs needed, and the overall market value of comparable properties in the area. This skill goes beyond simply viewing homes; it involves understanding local market trends, assessing the potential for future property value appreciation, and identifying any red flags that could affect the property’s value or desirability. Agents with solid property evaluation skills can provide informed guidance on whether a property is priced competitively and advise buyers on making a reasonable offer that reflects both market conditions and the property’s true worth.

Moreover, a buyer agent with excellent property evaluation skills can save clients time and money by steering them away from overpriced properties or those with hidden issues that may not be apparent to a less experienced eye. They should be able to discuss the dynamics of different floor plans, how a home’s location in a neighborhood can impact the quality of living, and how newer homes tend to be safer and more energy-efficient than older homes. Ultimately, this skill ensures that home buyers are well-informed throughout the purchasing process, empowering them to make sound investment choices that align with their long-term goals.

Negotiation Training and Skills

Negotiation is a cornerstone of any effective buyer agent. Beyond simply submitting offers, a skilled negotiator understands the nuances of real estate transactions and can advocate effectively for their client’s interests. This includes knowing when and how to negotiate on price, contingencies, repairs, and other sale terms to ensure the buyer’s best possible outcome. A trained negotiator will have strategies for dealing with counteroffers, handling multiple offer situations, and maintaining a strong position without alienating the seller or their agent.

Successful negotiation also involves understanding the motivations and priorities of both parties involved. A skilled agent will listen attentively to their client’s needs and goals, using that information to craft offers and counteroffers that are compelling yet realistic. They should be able to communicate effectively, manage expectations, and remain calm under pressure to achieve mutually beneficial agreements. By demonstrating strong negotiation skills, a buyer agent can maximize their client’s purchasing power and ensure that they secure the best possible terms on their new home. This ability helps buyers navigate competitive markets and builds trust and confidence in their agent’s ability to represent their interests effectively throughout the buying process.

Loyalty to You as a Home Buyer

These days, many real estate companies look at you not just as a home buyer but as a source of significant profit. In our market, along with pushing buyers at their listings, we see real estate companies generating income by selling you mortgages from their affiliated mortgage company, selling you title insurance and settlement services from their affiliated title company, selling you staging services from their affiliated staging company, and then charging you hundreds of extra dollars for their “Compliance” fee or “Document storage” fee.

You want to choose a buyer agent to protect you from all the high-profit gimmicks that might be popular in your area. (This is not always easy if the agent’s broker “requires” them.)

Proof of Previous Success When Helping Home Buyers

When selecting a buyer agent, one of the most critical factors to consider is their track record of success in assisting home buyers. A reputable agent should be able to provide tangible evidence of their achievements, such as testimonials from satisfied clients, references, savings records, and examples of homes they have successfully helped buyers acquire. This proof of previous success demonstrates the agent’s competence and ability to navigate various challenges that may arise during the home-buying process. Look for agents with a history of smoothly and efficiently closing transactions, particularly in your desired market or neighborhood.

For most buyers, saving money is a valuable measure of success. Does the agent have any savings awards? Do they even know the six ways a buyer agent can save buyers money on a home purchase?

Moreover, agents with a proven track record often have relationships with local real estate professionals, which can be advantageous when negotiating offers or navigating complex transactions. They should be transparent about their experiences and willing to share specific case studies or examples where they have exceeded client expectations. Ultimately, choosing an agent with a solid history of success can provide peace of mind, knowing that you have a skilled advocate working on your behalf to achieve your real estate goals.

The Ability to Shop and Negotiate Mortgages for Home Buyers

Unless you can pay cash for a home, a valuable skill for any buyer agent is the ability to assist clients in finding and negotiating suitable mortgage terms. This involves understanding the intricacies of different loan products, interest rates, and lender requirements. A competent agent should have a network of reputable mortgage brokers or lenders they can recommend based on your financial situation and needs. They should be able to help you shop around for competitive interest rates and terms that align with your budget and long-term financial goals.

Furthermore, negotiating mortgage terms requires attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the loan process. An adept agent will review loan estimates and help you navigate potential fees, closing costs, and points to ensure you get the best possible financing package. They should also proactively address any issues arising during the loan approval process, advocating on your behalf to secure favorable conditions. By leveraging their expertise in mortgage shopping and negotiation, a skilled buyer agent can streamline the home buying experience and potentially save you money over the life of your loan. This skill is particularly valuable for first-time home buyers or those seeking to maximize their purchasing power in a competitive real estate market.


Jon Boyd is Broker/Manager at The Home Buyer’s Agent of Ann Arbor, Inc. near the University of Michigan | 734-662-6240 (Office) | BuyersAgentAnnArbor.Com 

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