Find the Right Agent

Find the Right Agent

If you're new to the home-buying game, you'll need a reputable real estate agent, a good loan officer or broker and perhaps a lawyer.

First-time buyers generally should not try to deal directly with the listing agent, Anderson says.

"If you are getting divorced, are you going to go to your husband's attorney for help? Of course not," he says. "Same here. If you go to a listing agent, he is only going to show you his listings. You must find a buyers' agent to help you."

If you hire an agent without a referral from friends or family, ask the agent to provide references from previous buyers. The same goes for loan officers or mortgage brokers. It's crucial to find a professional who will give you "truly independent advice," Conarchy says.

Sometimes that means hiring a lawyer, says Castellanos.

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