Buyers Guide

Buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you’ll ever make. This guide walks you through every step in your search, from finding your Realtor to making an offer.

What Is a REALTOR®?

A real estate agent is a REALTOR® when they become a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate – the world’s largest professional association. The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Founded in 1908, NAR has grown from its original nucleus of 120 to over 800,000 members today. NAR is composed of REALTORS® who are involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Members belong to one or more of some 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. They can join one of our many institutes, societies and councils. Additionally, NAR offers members the opportunity to be active in our appraisal and international real estate specialty sections. REALTORS® are pledged to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Working for America’s property owners, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members.

Why Use a REALTOR®?

Financing: REALTORS® can help determine how much home you can afford, explain different financing options and refer you to the best-qualified lender.

Closing: Every area has its own unique closing or settlement customs. A local REALTOR® can guide you through the process.

Selection: REALTORS® have the resources to investigate all available properties and provide objective information about each property regarding the community and other important issues.

Pricing: When selling property, REALTORS® can give you current market information to sell your property quickly, at the best price and with minimum hassle.

Negotiation: REALTORS® can advise you on factors such as price, financing, terms, date of possession, repairs and furnishings.

Inspection: REALTORS® can help provide enough time in the purchase agreement for inspections and investigations, plus advise which ones are required or recommended.

Marketing: A REALTOR® can recommend repairs to enhance the stability of your property and expose it to other agents, the public and cooperative marketing networks.

When it’s time to buy or sell your house, it’s time to turn to a professional. Someone with the expertise to get the job done right.

Every member of the Lafayette Regional Association of Realtors® subscribes to a strict code of ethics and professionalism. They have exclusive access to the most up-to-date and accurate listing and sales information available.

Remember the Mortgage

If you’re like most buyers, you’ll need a mortgage. You may find yourself working with a bank, a mortgage broker, or even a mortgage company. Discuss what your budget with your Realtor and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best rates and terms.

Typically, you should be able to make a 20 percent down payment on the of the purchase price of your house. But don’t worry if this isn’t possible. Your lender can help you find the right financing option. Once financing is in place, you want to get pre-approved for a mortgage to show sellers that you’re serious and ready to buy.

Begin House Hunting

House hunting is an exciting process. It can also be overwhelming at times, which is why your Realtor is there to keep searches on track. They will set up an exclusive search for you on the MLS and you will get an email alert when new homes that fit your wishlist hit the market. Because the information is coming directly from our multiple listing service, every listing is accurate.

Make an Offer

You found your dream house, and now it’s time to make an offer. Your Realtor will work with you to decide on a bid price, as well as the terms, conditions, and settlement date. They will then work with the seller’s Realtor to negotiate an agreement. After both parties have signed, you will make the down payment.

Complete the Inspection and Appraisal

It’s tempting to rush the closing process, but a house inspection should not be overlooked. If you’ve made the agreement contingent on a completed inspection, it must be finished before the deal goes through. You might ask for repairs or a discount based on the report you receive. Your Realtor and attorney will work with the seller’s representatives to reach an agreement.

Your lender will order an appraisal of the home. This assessment confirms for lenders that the house is worth the loan amount. Since the cost of an appraisal falls to the buyer, you should only get one when you plan to make an offer.

Work Through the Transfer Process

You’ll be busy getting ready to move, transferring utilities and getting new homeowner’s insurance. Every step of the way, your Realtor will be there to help — reminding you of important dates and what documents you need for settlement and making sure everyone’s working together towards a smooth transfer process.