Buying a home is a big step and it’s understandable if you’re feeling somewhat anxious. After all, homeownership typically signifies making a significant financial commitment of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. But with the right information at your fingertips, this decision can be exciting and empowering. Learn the details here

Here are things to know before contacting a real estate agent or housebuying company.

Before contacting a real estate agent, learn from the internet

A housebuying company is an independent third party; there is no requirement for them to disclose anything in writing to their clients. But there are some things that potential home buyers should know before contacting a housebuying company.

Be clear about what you want from your agent

Be honest with yourself. Write down all the questions you want answered by the agent before deciding whether or not to contact him or her. Some of these questions might be as simple as whether or not the agent is licensed to sell securities in your state or whether he or she has experience in lending money.

Know your options and where you want to live

Some housebuying companies can provide you with a comprehensive list of homes that they represent, while others provide only a basic referral. If you want the more comprehensive list, make sure the housebuying company doesn’t charge for this service.

Read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line

It’s important to know that even if a company claims to offer free services or free information about homes, you will likely end up paying for them in other ways, such as when buyers have to pay back the money they borrow from a homebuyers’ organization. Another thing homebuyers should know is that although many housebuying companies claim to save people time and money, it is always best to shop around for a good deal.

Always ask for references

It’s vital that you ask for references from people who have actually used a housebuying service. Many home buying companies will give you an impressive list of names, but these people might not really be customers.

Ask questions of the seller or listing agent

If the home is listed with a real estate agent, it’s important to know whether or not she or he has a referral relationship with the housebuying company. For example, if the agent is using a housebuying company, it’s possible that the agent’s referral will not necessarily be in the best interest of her or his clients. In some cases, this can even mean that the agent is placing his or her own interests ahead of those of their clients.