Buyer Agency is not something that started yesterday. In fact, it has been around for more than 30 years. But the only ones who knew about it were big corporations who made huge real estate purchases.
They knew they needed someone they could trust who would research every available property to see if they were suitable for their needs, delve into property values to discover the real market value of the property, and negotiate skillfully with the Seller or their Agent. They needed their own representative that they knew would find the right property at the right price and protect their interests.
The only way to meet all these objectives was to employ their own Agent. A big corporation could afford to hire their own full time agent but up until the last few years the home buyer didn't have that alternative. Now, you can have that same level of service at no extra expense! Take a tip from these corporations: Insist on having your own Agent to represent you!
There is a huge difference between an ordinary Agent with no specialized training and a QUALIFIED Buyer's Agent who is committed to serving YOU.
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Economic Stability-A declining employment rate in a area spells trouble for the future resale possibilities of a home.
Community Pride-How well is the community maintained? Is there litter in the streets and lawns that are obviously not cared for properly?
Municipal Services-Is there a public library and how well is it stocked? What are the crime statistics? Is the police force effective and responsive to community needs? Are fire stations located nearby so that they also can respond quickly in an emergency? Does the city have well maintained and parks? Community events, such as an annual parade? Are there activities available for all ages from children through senior citizens?
A good real estate agent will have amassed a wealth of information on these subjects.
Schools-Even if you don't have children or your children are grown and gone from home, schools are very important. They reflect the community's willingness to invest in it's future by providing a quality education for their children. Check to see how local students score on the standardized tests. You can ask your agent about these things, and there are also school reports available for free on the Internet. You can also obtain the phone number of the local school district and check with them yourself.
Property Taxes-While we all like to see lower property taxes, as some point they can be too low and not provide enough money for the city to provide proper services for their residents. While you do not want to live in a community that taxes it's homeowners excessively, it is important to strike a balance between taxes and quality of infrastructure (streets, sewers, water supply).