las vegas real estate buyers agent realtor

How to Buy Las Vegas

How to Buy a Home - An Overview


There are 3 types of real estate agents:

  1. Listing Agents: people who list homes for sale. Usually their name is on the FOR SALE sign on the front lawn. They work to get the best possible deal for the seller in all transactions.

  2. New Home Salespeople: These agents work for the builder. Usually they can be found in new model homes. They are restricted, by law, to selling only the builder's homes.

  3. Buyers Agent: an agent that represent the buyer.

It's extremely important to distinguish between the 3 types. A listing agent is motivated to "sell" you a house at the best possible price to the seller. These agents spend most of their time securing listings. They advertise extensively and you will see their names on many FOR SALE signs. When they sell you a home, they receive a handsome commission (usually 6% of the selling price). Sales people at new home tracts are specifically trained to sell you one of their builders homes and, like the listing agent, are usually paid on a commission basis.


As a buyer's agent, I work for YOU. On your behalf I will help you select the most suitable home... at the best price for YOU. With about 6,000 resale homes and over 1,500 new home models from which to choose, there is no need to "push" you toward any particular home. I know that when I find you the most appropriate home, at a good price, you will buy. When you buy a home, using my services, I will receive 50% of the commission (paid by the listing broker). On the other hand, a listing agent is more motivated to sell you their listing rather than show you the house down the street that was listed by another agent. Both the listing agent and the new home salesperson are highly motivated to show you a limited selection of homes while I have no such restriction.


One of the biggest complaints that I hear about salespeople is that they don't listen. "I told them that I could only spend up to $280,000 and the first home they showed me was $310,000!". Before we get in the car to start looking, I want to know as much as possible about your requirements.

  • What is your budget 

  • What area of the city is best for you 

  • What size do you require 

  • How many bedrooms 

  • How many bathrooms 

  • Would you like a pool 

  • Are you looking for a new or resale home 

  • When do you want to take possession 

Sometimes my clients don't have the answers to all these questions. That's OK. After we've looked at a few homes I can get a better idea of your requirements.

$$$ and ¢¢¢

Before looking at any homes it is essential that you talk with a lender. There are many lenders in Las Vegas.. some good, and some not so good. Please consult with me during this stage. I can save you a lot of aggravation during this process. There are two types of lender approval. 

  1. At the first stage a lender gets basic information which will give you a general idea about your price range and buying situation. A lenders prequalification is NOT a commitment to lend you money.

  2. While prequalification is helpful in giving you a general idea of your price range, you should then advance to the preapproval stage. After preapproval, you can make an offer to purchase with confidence.

Be cautious of lenders who approve you quickly over the phone. A good lender wants to see you, face to face, with pay stubs, W-2 tax forms etc.


Once the preliminary approval has been completed, we can begin. After I get your "wish list" of features that you want, I begin to search through all homes that are listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) computer. All of the pertinent features of each home, including a picture, are listed. Here's an example. Let's assume you are looking for the following:

Area Northwest, north of Cheyenne, south of Ann Rd and west of I-95 

  • Year built: 1985 or newer 

  • Sq. Ft.: 1300 to 1800 

  • Bedrooms: 3 or 4 

  • Baths: 2 or more 

  • Style: 1 story 

  • Garage: 2-car or larger 

  • Pool: no 

  • Appliances: stove, dishwasher, washer & dryer 

  • Price range: $280,000 up to $320,000 

Then I search the Multiple Listing Service for these specific features. Let's say there are 20 homes that match this description. I will print a list of these homes, complete with pictures and directions to each, and send it to you. This will give you a chance to drive around and preview the neighborhoods to get a better "feel" for each home. Once you select a few of your favorites, call me to set up an appointment for viewing.

Once I know what properties you would like to see, my main goal is to protect you from; a) an overpriced listing and b) some adverse condition to the property. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

Many homes are overpriced. This is usually the result of:

  • The owner paid too much when he bought the home in the first place.

  • The owner has refinanced the home to the maximum and needs to net too much money to break even.

  • The owner has an unrealistic notion about the value of the home.

  • Upgrades to the home were inappropriate and too costly.

Some listing agents will not accept an overpriced listing, but most will! I can alert you to an overpriced listing by checking the public records on recent sales of similar properties in the neighborhood. This is called a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis. I never sell a home without showing you a CMA! I also double-check the tax assessor's records to be sure that such things as square footage and zoning are accurate.

If the home is occupied, I often have to make an appointment with the owner to show the home. Be patient... this sometimes takes a little time.


This might be the home that you will purchase. Be thorough. If you have any special requirements, such as finding space for a chest of drawers, this is the time. Bring a tape measure. If the owners are present, you might ask them about schools, shopping, neighbors etc. 


Before writing an offer it is important for you to know how much this transaction will cost. Besides the down payment there are additional closing costs which must be calculated. Some closing costs are paid by the seller, some by the buyer, and some are negotiable. I will calculate and explain all these costs so that there will be no last minute surprises. 

Nevada has a "lemon law" to protect the home buyer. When a home is put on the market the seller must complete a "Seller's Real Property Disclosure Form". They must disclose any aspects of the property that will affect the value... everything from the condition of the soil to the functioning of the stove. If you are not shown this form, you may cancel any contracts. After you take possession of the home, if a problem occurs that the seller didn't disclose, you may seek damages for 3 times the amount of the repair. In spite of this protection, I recommend that you hire a certified building inspector. They will examine the roof, exterior, electrical, heating, air-conditioning, attic, plumbing and kitchen appliances. The cost of this inspection is usually $175 depending on the size of the home. 

The Offer to Purchase Contract is a document which basically sets out the price, terms and conditions that you are offering to the seller. Besides the obvious price, here are some terms & conditions: 

  • Who will pay for the appraisal 

  • Will the seller provide a 1-year home warranty 

  • Are the drapes included 

  • When can you take possession 

  • Will all taxes and fees be prorated to the possession date 

  • Are you requesting a home inspection 

  • Is the seller willing to clean the carpets 

After we complete the Offer it's up to me. Usually the listing agent and I meet face-to-face with the sellers and I present the offer. In this negotiation, the distinction between buyer's and seller's agents becomes apparent. It's up to me to "sell" your offer to the owner.


When your offer is accepted all the paperwork is then passed to an escrow/title company. It is the job of the escrow company to: 

  • arrange for title insurance to insure that you are receiving clear unencumbered title to the property. 

  • handle the transfer of funds from the buyer's lender to the seller and to pay off any existing mortgages. 

  • ensure that the terms of the Offer and Acceptance are carried out.

  • record a new deed on the property 

Escrow is considered "closed" when all the documents have been signed by all parties and funds have been distributed. In Nevada, you take possession of the home after the new deed has been recorded at the Clark County registrar's office. This usually happens the day after closing. If you have all your friends set to help you move on Saturday, you should close escrow on the previous Thursday so that you will have the keys on time.


Phillip Henkle Realtor with Prominent Realty
Phillip Henkle
Las Vegas
Buyer's Agent

Las Vegas real estate agent

Prominent Realty Group
7469 W Lake Mead Blvd Ste 130
Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 496-9898

Copyright © 1997 - 2014 Jim McEachern Las Vegas