Buying Real Estate
The first thing any buyer should do is obtain a Letter of Financial Commitment prior to requesting showings. Even if you plan on paying cash for the purchase, you should have a formal Proof of Funds that can be presented with any offers. An agent can provide a list of preferred lenders.
If an agent does not ask or advise on these letters, you might want to consider interviewing other agents. It is for the benefit of the buyer and seller to have these letters in hand.
Many sellers require these letters prior to any showings. If you were a seller, you would want to know anyone walking through your home would have proof that they are financially capable of buying prior to coming through your home.
Part of this is for the seller's protection as well as our protection.
To obtain these letters, contact the financial institution that is currently holding your funds or your preferred lender if you need to apply for a mortgage. If you are applying for a mortgage, the lender should have you fill our a financial application, credit check, income verification, and run the application through underwriting if possible.
If your letters have any "subject to's" such as subject to income verification or credit check, it might still ad levels of difficulty to the negotiations and the transaction itself. If we get an offer accepted and the lender finds a previous lien or judgement, it might bring the deal to a sudden hault with upset buyers and seller.
We want everyone involved to have an excellent experience when buying and selling.
Choosing a buyer's agent: You are not required to go to the listing agent directly. Depending on the listing agent, you might be better off to find a different buyer's agent. Do extensive research when choosing the right buyer's agent for you and make sure they are highly experienced in the type of property you are interested in purchasing.
Most selling agents/brokers offer cooperating compensations to buyer's agents. If you have your own buyer's agent, your agent should be offered compensation from the listing agent to bring the buyer. So the buyer's agent fee typically shouldn't cost the buyer anything extra to have the buyer's agent represent the buyer in the transaction. Every situation can be different and ask any buyer's agents about those details before signing with them.
When you find an agent/broker that you want to work with, they may have an agency form to sign to keep other agents from trying to solicit that buyer. It is common practice and agency disclosures are required in a transaction.