Q: Hello! I am in the beginning steps of buying my first home. I just started reading your book tonight. Yesterday, I told my real estate agent the full amount I’ve been pre-approved for ($180,000) and the amount I am comfortable spending ($150,000-$160,000).
I am in the military and using the Movers Advantage program offered to military members by my bank. They put me in contact with my realtor, who is selected through their screening process.
I am so new at this. As soon as I read Question 17 in your book…how much to tell my broker about finances…I realized just how new. Do you think this will affect my real estate agent’s performance? My biggest fear is paying more because I didn’t know all the facts.
My other question is this: I am looking for a home on the state line between Rhode Island and Connecticut. I have two real estate agents, one for each state. Is this OK? Or is this a situation that might backfire on me?
A: If real estate agents in your area cross over the state line and represent both areas, it could be trouble for you. Why don’t you ask the real estate agent you like best if he or she works in both places. If so, then don’t waste the other real estate agent’s time. Explain that due to your ignorance, you unfortunately engaged two real estate agents at the same time. Apologize and end the relationship. If it turns out that neither real estate agent works in the other real estate agent’s territory, then it might be fine to work with them both.
As for disclosing how much you can truly afford, I hope you’re working with a buyer’s real estate agent (skip ahead to that section of the book) who will have your interests at heart. If you don’t know whether your real estate agent is a buyer’s or seller’s real estate agent, read ahead about agency disclosure and what it means. (And, ask your real estate agent directly whom he or she represents.)
Finally, even if your real estate agent knows how much the lender will allow to you spend, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it in the end. It’s up to you to stick to your budget, and if the real estate agent doesn’t respect that, you might at that time consider finding another real estate agent.