What is a buyer’s agent?

A common question I hear is what is a buyer’s agent, and why do I need one?  Believe it or not this is a very simple question to answer.

A buyer’s agent is exactly what the name implies. They represent the buyer in a real estate transaction. A buyer’s agent can be one of the most important people on your real estate team. Not only will they be able to show you houses, they will handle all of the paperwork, and the negotiating that needs done. It is a great idea to go into possibly the biggest transaction of your life with somebody in your corner. They will manage the entire transaction from start to finish and be able to address any issues that may arise.

Another question I hear asked is, can you show me any house that’s for sale? The answer is yes. A buyer’s agent can help you buy any house on the market, not just houses listed under their brokerage name. This is a common misconception and is often confusing to buyers. So, if you have a Realtor that you are working with and want to see a house listed by someone else, they can get you in to see it. You don’t have to call the agent that’s listed on the sign.

The third question I hear often is, how much does it cost to have you represent me? The answer, most of the time, is that it won’t cost you anything to have a buyer’s agent. We get paid by the seller for bringing them a qualified buyer and closing the transaction. On occasion a property for sale by owner will not cooperate with Realtors, so at that point you would be responsible for our commission, but you would know this going into the transaction.

So I ask you this, if you can have an agent representing you and working their hardest for your interests, and it’s not going to cost you anything out of pocket (the majority of the time), why would you buy a home without an agent?

If you’re looking to purchase a home I can be reached at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com. I would be happy to help you find the home of your dreams.

A taste of Hamburg, NY

If you’ve ever considered living in Hamburg, NY, this post is for you. There are many reasons to consider this town about 20 minutes from downtown Buffalo. With an affordable tax rate and many amenities Hamburg should be on your radar for comfortable Southtowns living.

The town’s roughly 58,000 residents enjoy access to the beautiful Lake Erie shoreline at the Hamburg town park featuring a beach, volleyball courts, basketball courts, boat launch, fitness center, and water sports. Further inland, in the village, there are many restaurants and boutiques for your enjoyment. Also, the town features an ice rink as well as many other sports opportunities.

The taxes alone are a reason to consider Hamburg. With a town tax rate of $10.58 per $1000 and a school tax rate of $26.85 per $1000 for Frontier schools and $36.32 per $1000 for Hamburg schools, taxes remain affordable. The county tax rate is $9.76 per $1000. The town features two villages as well with their tax rate being $20.42 per $1000 for the village of Hamburg and $19.83 per $1000 for the village of Blasdell.

The median home price for the town of Hamburg is roughly $158,000, and for that price you can enjoy comfortable suburban living with easy access to the NYS Thruway, professional sports arenas, an exciting nightlife, and some of the best fishing on Lake Erie.

There are a variety of housing options available in Hamburg, from the traditional colonial style to craftsman to cape cods. The town also features various styles of living from cul de sac to lakefront to homes with acreage. Whatever style you are looking for I’m sure Hamburg can meet your needs. For more information on Hamburg housing check out my website at myagent.huntrealestate.com/MichaelDevlin for all of the latest Hamburg market information.

If you have ever considered moving to the Town of Hamburg contact me today and let me show you around. I can be reached at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com

Q&A session with Sharlene Bauer of Hunt Mortgage

I had the opportunity this week to sit down with Sharlene Bauer of Hunt Mortgage and ask her a few questions regarding mortgages. There will be many more segments to come so stay tuned for more detailed information.

Q: Why do you need to be pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting?

A: First of all, knowledge is power, and as a consumer you need to know your buying power. Also, the seller has the right to know if you are qualified to purchase the home. Finally, after a conversation with Sharlene you’ll know what steps you need to take to meet your expectations.

Q: What will your mortgage consultant ask?

A: Your mortgage consultant will inquire about 4 aspects of your buying power. Your income, assets, debt, and credit will be reviewed. It is a good idea to have your income and asset information gathered prior to an interview with your mortgage consultant. Your debt and credit will be reviewed when your credit report is pulled.

Q: Are there different mortgage products available?

A: Yes, and your mortgage consultant is a specialist at identifying the best product to meet your needs.

Q: Why use Hunt Mortgage?

A: We are a mortgage banker who has access to 12-15 lending institutions, nationwide and locally, and not every lending institution matches the needs of every customer profile.

To get started on the mortgage process today, feel free to contact Sharlene Bauer at 716-481-7010 or by email at sharlene.bauer@huntmortgage.com and for all of your real estate needs I can be reached at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com


First time home buying

So you’ve finally made the decision that you’re tired of paying a landlord and would like to invest in a home of your own. Congratulations! The journey is just beginning, and having a reliable and dedicated Realtor will help make that journey go smoothly. (Shameless plug, I am that Realtor). This can be a challenging but also a most rewarding experience. After all, it’s probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime!

One of the first steps that you’ll want to take is obtaining a pre qualification (or better yet a pre approval) from the lender you choose to see how much home you can afford. There is nothing worse than looking at houses outside of your price range and getting your hopes up. A good Realtor will want to see the pre approval before showing you homes to avoid that let down. Once you have that paper in your hand, the fun part begins!

The next step in the process is touring homes that will suit your needs. This is the fun part in the whole process! Your Realtor will set up a search for homes that meet your criteria in your selected area, and you’ll get together to tour them. I always recommend touring multiple homes even if you “fall in love” with the first one. You never know what the next house will hold. Plus you can always pick up some pretty cool design ideas from viewing homes.

So now after you’ve toured multiple homes you found the one that’s meant to be, and you’re ready to put an offer in. Your Realtor will draw up a contract and will meet with you to have you sign. At this point it’s a waiting game, some sellers will get back to you right away, while others may take their time. It’s important during this step to not lose hope.

Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted! You’re not in the clear yet. The next few steps, however, are some of the most important (and also some of the most stressful) in the home buying process.

First comes the home inspection. At this point you will pay a reputable home inspector to come and do a head to toe inspection of your selected home. He/she will look for issues such as structural, electrical, and water problems, as well as many other things. At the end of the inspection you’ll get a binder with any issues as well as the positive things that were found. If the inspection passes and you’re satisfied we move on to giving an earnest money deposit (good faith deposit, usually of 1-5% of the purchase price) and then proceed with applying for the mortgage. If the inspection doesn’t pass, or you are not comfortable with the results, you are able to walk away or request that the seller repairs the deficiencies (they may say no so be prepared).

The next step here is applying for the mortgage and your mortgage broker or lender of your choosing will help you with this process, which will be covered in more detail in a later post. One of the most important things to remember is to not make any big purchases or open any new lines of credit during this time.

As part of the mortgage process an appraisal will be ordered to ensure that the value of the home matches the requested loan amount. This part of the process can sometimes lead to some challenges as well, especially if the home appraises much lower than the offer price. If this happens your Realtor is there to help you through the process and handle further negotiations.

Now that all of the legal and financial hurdles are overcome you get the clear to close, which means you are merely days away from getting the keys to your new home. At the closing your lawyer is going to have many forms for you to sign, and you will turn over the check for the closing costs (including down payment, attorney fees, etc). At this time you will get the keys to your new home and be ready to set your moving day.

This is just a brief overview of the process for the first time (or second or third time) homebuyer. If this process sounds daunting that’s where having a good Realtor comes in. They will make the journey run smoothly and will be able to support you the entire way. If you have made the decision to start looking for your first home, feel free to contact me today and let’s start this journey together!

I can be reached anytime at 716-809-0300 or by email me at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com


Photo credit:city-data.com



Hello everyone,

I decided to start this blog as a source of the most up to date real estate information. I am a licensed real estate salesperson affiliated with Hunt Real Estate ERA in Hamburg NY. I will be discussing a wide range of topics, not just specific to the Hamburg, NY market. Throughout the course of the year you can expect 1-3 blog posts per week covering topics from mortgages to featured properties in the Western New York area. Please feel free at anytime to leave me feedback on topics you would like covered, and I will try my best to publish posts to meet your needs. I am always open to constructive criticism and I’m here to serve. I look forward to sharing plenty of helpful information with you in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me anytime with feedback at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com  Thank you all and have a great night!