How to Work As a Team with Your Real Estate Agent
Buying and selling a home is an activity most families do not do very often. When working with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home the following nine tips will help make the process go smoother and result in a win-win situation for all parties involved. The process involves teamwork and each party has to know their part on the team.
Real Estate is one of the only professions in which the agent puts in hours of work and does not get paid until the home is sold. The agent has expenses including; gas, marketing, office fees, professional fees, lock box and Multiple Listing fees, among others. They spend their most valuable resources, time and money upfront in the effort to help a buyer find a home or help a seller sell their home. The agent will only get paid when the job has been successfully completed. It is common that the agent does not see a return for his or her efforts for at least 30 to 45 days from writing a contract, add to that, the marketing time which could be an additional 30 to 90 days. It is important to find a qualified agent, you feel comfortable with, upfront, and to remain loyal to that agent throughout the process. Agents have access to the same information and most use similar methods to sell a home. Look for an agent with market knowledge, experience and someone that will listen to your wants and needs. Many buyers think it is better to have several agents looking for them but it is best to only work with one agent that is the right fit and stick with them. Therefore, Tip #1: Commit to one agent. If you are unhappy, let them know before you decide to work with someone else so they don’t continue to spend valuable time.
Tip #2: It is important to have your agent with you if you go into an open house or a new model home. Some buyers think they will just drop in on their own, not wanting to bother their agent. If a buyer visits a home without their agent most builders and some open house agents will not pay your agent, if you don’t have your agent with you on the first visit. More importantly, you will be represented by the seller’s agent, whose job it is to get the seller the best deal.
Zillow is a website buyers and sellers love to use because of its simplicity and easy access to information. Zillow uses a computer-generated system to come up with values that are not accurate most of the time. So, this leads us to Tip #3: Use an agent for accurate information on value. An agent with market knowledge will be the best resource to give buyers and sellers accurate information on value. Sites like Zillow and Realtor.com are not as current with the information as the realtor’s information. We get calls inquiring on homes that are already sold and are still showing as available on Zillow or Realtor.com. These sites are designed to gather leads, potential buyers and sellers, and then sell these leads to real estate agents, and lenders.
For the most accurate and up to date information a real estate agent is the best resource, which leads us to Tip #4: It is best to work with a professional that has your best interest for important information. There is a lot of information involved in real estate and your agent is your best resource. Listening to well-meaning friends and family can interfere and is how misinformation is sometimes passed along. Real estate has changed a lot in the last several years and many family members have not bought or sold a home in years. The media often reports incorrect information on the market therefore, it is best to work with a professional that knows the real estate market.
When making arrangements to show homes that involve setting up a time that works best for the buyer, the agent, and the seller leads us to tip number five and six. Tip #5: Don’t expect to see all houses without some notice. Sellers have pets, children and busy schedules and cannot always accommodate showing at a moment’s notice. It is best to give some time for your agent to schedule appointments. Real estate agents know buyers frequently purchase homes that do not fit the criteria the buyer gives to the agent. Tip #6: Sometimes an agent will show a house that does not fit all of the desires of the buyer, but keep an open mind. I have had buyers that only want a one-story home and they end up buying a two story because the master bedroom is on the main floor, or the second story is just a loft and all of the most used rooms are on the first floor. Buyers may buy a home with less bedrooms or bathrooms to get a view or a big lot. Being a little open minded will often help a buyer find the right home. Don’t think the agent is not listening to you they are just stretching the possibilities.
Tip #7: I recommend buyers do not discuss the home or show too much excitement when touring the home with their agent and do not discuss price while viewing the home. Many homes have cameras and sellers can see and hear what is being said about their home and buyers could compromise their negotiating position. Save the discussion for after you have left the seller’s home.
Tip #8: It is not all about the price. Listen to your agent when structuring an offer. The terms and contingencies all come into play for the sellers to make a decision. Sellers like to sell to buyers they like. I have seen sellers take less money to sell to a family they would like to see live in their home. A good agent will sell the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer. This should not be overlooked.
Finally, Tip #9: Do not blame your agent when things get off track. The agent’s job is to manage many moving parts in a transaction. Their job is to stay on top of all of the details, including getting the loan done, managing inspection items, getting the appraisal done among many other details. Many of these are not in their control but a good agent will make the best of any challenges that may arise.
Do your homework upfront when choosing an agent to work with and commit to sticking with them. This will bring the best results ending in a win for all parties involved. Be honest and share your feelings and opinions with your agent. Let them know what you are thinking at all times so they can understand you needs, desires and concerns. Don’t be afraid to be honest, it will help them do their job for you.