Professional help in the buying process?
Sometimes new home buyer’s, or experienced buyer’s have the idea that working on their own is a better alternative than working with a buyer’s agent. With the advent of online listings, buyer’s ability to access homes for sale has risen dramatically within the past decade and many may ask the question, “why do we need a buyer’s agent, anyway?”
They may even see an buyer’s agent as an unnecessary expense that can be cut out of the equation, resulting in a better deal on a home.
People often resort to past experiences, or trusted friends to advise them through the process, which often times has to be discussed with a professional. Since real estate is fluid, practices change from week to week, month to month, year to year, and place to place. Customs and laws are constantly changing, so what someone else does often times has little bearing on what needs to happen in a given situation.
Most of our lessons about why buyer’s need representation comes from when we’re ready to help someone sell their home. We evaluate what comparable homes are selling for now, and we also look at what they paid, and what comparable homes were selling for when they purchased. When we find they ended up paying 20% above market price, then we wish they had representation.
One of the most common problems we hear about from clients is how they attempted a by owner transaction, and after hundreds of dollars in expenses for inspections and appraisals, the deal couldn’t move forward due to what should have been a correctable or avoidable situation. Not fun!!
Step 1 to Home Buying: Finding & Starting a Realtor Relationship
Our process starts with the Buyer Consultation where the agent listen’s to the buyer’s goals, ideals, thoughts, and fears, then describes the process, our legal obligations to the buyer and to the home owners who’s homes we show. We typically obtain written authorization to assist from the buyer at this meeting and establish an open dialog.
Step 2 to Home Buying: The Search
Then, the job of buyer’s agent shifts into the home search mode. Listening carefully to what the buyer’s want is crucial. Taking time to consider ways to expand or narrow the scope of the search based upon the availability of potential properties is huge. Evaluating all possible sources of homes, starting with the multiple listing service (MLS) and any other source of off market or by owner sales.
Being readily accessible for showings, often times after business hours or on weekends is a must. Also, being able to help the buyer examine the property with a critical eye, keeping mental notes about the pro’s and con’s of the home with respect to the buyer’s needs and wants. “We recall helping buyer’s early in our careers and they were shocked that we didn’t walk in and sell them a house, but quite the opposite. We began to pick apart and point out concerns for each home,” explained Chris Grus.
Step 3 to Home Buying: Negotiations, Making Offers, Executing Agreements
“The experienced buyer’s agent isn’t just a door opener,” said Jennifer Florida, buyer’s agent at Premier Realty Exclusive. Surveys suggest that the general public believes the number one duty of a buyer’s agent is to find the home, in actuality, making sure the buyer’s needs are represented through the process of negotiating, preparing, and executing a purchase agreement, There are many facets to the transaction, such as ensuring that the buyer has proper support from vendors, contractors, title companies; making sure the seller is performing their contractual obligations, and making sure everything is being explained to the buyer as the process moves forward. While all these things may seem like a ‘no brainer’, it actually takes years of experience in real estate to really know how to be properly supportive. “Keeping an up-to-date rolodex is important, but furthermore, making sure that all vendors & contractors are meeting our high standards of customer service is a challenge we insist on meeting,” added Jennifer. Helping the buyer to arrange and understand what inspections are needed, whether or not to order an appraisal, and understanding all the contingencies in the contract make up the most important roles of an agent.
Step 4 to Home Buying: Closing the Sale
After everything for buyer and seller have been completed, and the scheduled date arrives, the buyer’s agent works to ensure items have been finalized. The buyer’s emotional state varies throughout the contract process, and often times at closing they’re just ready for things to be done so they can enjoy their new home. Having a buyer’s agent to review any receipts and lien waivers provided by the seller, make sure utilities are able to be turned over and there are no outstanding issues is of paramount importance. Reviewing the closing disclosure statements from the lender and / or title company is a must. Performing a final walk through with the buyer, making sure they know where to arrive to sign closing documents, that they bring their photo identification and an appropriate payment amount and method of payment all seems self-explanatory, but in some cases it is not. In the event of a ‘remote closing’ where the buyer may not even be available in town, arranging for everything to be handled via the mail is an added responsibility for the agent to supervise.
Step 5 to Home Buying: Post Closing
According to National Association of Realtor surveys of home buyers, over 80% of the Realtors being surveyed consider step 5 optional. Providing buyer’s with after the sale support and communication is a huge priority for Premier Realty Exclusive. As real estate experts, professional Realtors can really be a huge asset for home owners in many areas. If, when, and how to refinance, what to do about problems that come up pertaining to their home, which update will improve re-sale value more, etc. “Just the fact that we have been through such a personally meaningful experience with a home buyer establishes a connection for us,” said Florida. Without a buyer’s agent that’s in the field and active, there’s always plenty of information out there, but is it accurate and timely, or is it yesterday’s news. What’s in style varies so much, that getting input from a personal connection like your buyer’s agent is one added bonus of building a relationship with a buyer’s agent.