Searching for a new home can be daunting. Understanding the legal aspects of home ownership and how financing works can be even more overwhelming.
Realtors make the home buying process much easier. They have much broader access to the housing market through tools that are unavailable to the typical home seeker. A realtor may even be able to show you homes that you didn’t even know were for sale.
The home buying process is often stressful. It not just a matter of finding a home and signing on a dotted line. There are a lot of highs and lows in the journey, and as a result, the relationship between buyers and their agents can become a bit tense.
To get the maximum value out of your relationship with your realtor and to make as easy as possible for them to locate your dream home, there are three key things you can do.
We’ve outlined 5 great ways you can help your real estate agent find you your next luxury home below.
Provide as Much Information as Possible
The realtor you hire will probably work pretty hard to find you the perfect house. What often happens, though, is that expectations are misconstrued. Vague suggestions like “a great place to raise kids” or “a place where our family can grow” are too variable when seen from different perspectives.
A realtor needs to know what your true needs are in order to find a house that will really suit you.
Take some time to really consider what type of house will work best for you and your family. Think about what is working for you where you currently live and what isn’t. Jot down ideas of what kind of home or location would make your life easier and what kind of situation would present challenges.
Think about the future too. For example, plans for a new baby or bringing an elderly parent home to live might make you think twice about two story houses with steep stairs.
Let your realtor know what size and style of home you’re looking for and what features you want it to have. Be sure that it all makes sense. If your family is at odds on what they want, figure it out before you give the specs to the realtor. You can’t expect the realtor to find the lots of space to entertain that you want in the one bedroom high-rise condo that your spouse wants.
When you start visiting homes with your realtor, be sure to point out what you like and don’t like. That way, your realtor will know exactly what you need and be better able to pinpoint the best houses to show you.
Show Up on Time and Don’t Cancel Meetings
Real estate is big business. Buying a home is a big deal. Treat your agent and this process with the respect that they deserve.
Real estate agents make their living by commission. When they don’t make a sale, the hours they’ve spent working with a client go unpaid. Realtors are often used by people toying with the idea of buying a new home and never go through with the deal. As realtors gain experience, they start to avoid clients that they don’t think are serious buyers.
You don’t want your realtor to think you aren’t serious. They might go so far as to drop you if they think you’re just looking around. Some realty companies even recommend that their realtors show no more than 3-6 houses in order to avoid house hunting joyriders.
That’s why it’s important to show up to meetings and showings on time. You should also avoid canceling at all costs. Agents schedule their time for clients and rescheduling your appointment time is a big speed bump in the process.
If your agent knows that you respect their time and that you’re serious about buying a luxury home, they’ll work that much harder to find you a perfect house.
Ask How They Feel About Open Houses
Agents in some markets prefer to accompany their clients to open houses. It’s a somewhat territorial thing. It would be frustrating to spend a lot of time showing you houses only to have you buy one at an open house from another realtor.
This varies by market because in some states a listing or seller’s agent can’t represent the buyer, but in other states, it’s perfectly legal. In the former, you probably won’t have an issue going to open houses on your own.
When you start working with an agent, ask them about their policy on visiting open houses. They’ll let you know if they would prefer to go with you. If they don’t mind you going alone, they might go over the terms of your contract or agreement so you know how to proceed if you want to purchase the open house. Either way, asking shows the realtor that you respect the relationship and are committed to moving forward together.
Ultimately, asking about their policy shows your loyalty. That loyalty will make them want to find you the perfect home.
Stay Away From Listing Agents
The realtor you work with should have your best interests in mind. They should be driven to get you the best possible price. Their cut at the end of the deal should only come from your side of the table.
A listing agent works for the seller. They have listed the home and will get their cut from the seller’s side of the table at closing. They have the seller’s best interest in mind and will be working to get the seller the highest price they can for their home.
If a listing agent tries to represent both the seller and the buyer it’s a conflict of interest. Or, so it is seen in some states and in some larger real estate companies.
In states that discourage the practice, some real estate companies have found ways of getting around it. For example, if an unrepresented buyer became interested in an open house, the listing agent could have another realtor from his/her agency represent the buyer and pay them a small fee rather than the commission a regular buyer’s agent would normally get. In that situation, both the seller and the listing agent have come out way ahead.
Another reason to avoid talking to listing agents is that you might not have a great poker face or you might let crucial information slip. If you let on that you love the house or that it’s so much closer to work than the last one you looked at, the listing agent could use that to manipulate the price when it came time to negotiate the contract.
Especially avoid talking to the listing agent about the contract or anything having to do with pricing or allowances. Your realtor is your representative and it could tarnish your relationship if they find out you’ve negotiated points of the deal in their absence.
It’s just best to avoid talking to listing agents unless your agent is present. Even then, let your agent do most of the talking. Your agent knows every little way to knock down the ultimate price you’ll pay, so let them take the lead and save you money.
Remember That They Work on Commission
Real estate agents aren’t paid a salary. They are paid when homes close. Most, probably all, of the time they spend with you is unpaid until you purchase a home.
Always keep in mind that your agent is working hard, unpaid hours to find your home. Once you enter into a working relationship with an agent, stick with them. They will strive to find an amazing place for you and your family to live.
Some realty companies or independent realtors may ask you to enter into a contract that says that, for the time being, they are your realtor. This is just a protection for them and does not obligate you to buy a home right now. The purpose of the contract, also known as a broker’s agreement, is to ensure that when it’s time to purchase the home that you don’t suddenly change agents and leave them without the commission for the home they worked so hard to find you.
As long as a realtor knows that they can trust you, they’ll strive to find an amazing place for you and your family to live.
Buying a home is a huge milestone and the process can be fraught with stressful moments.
A good real estate agent knows how to guide you through the process and advise you on the best ways to save money at closing. As long as you communicate clearly with your agent and treat them with respect, they should be able to help you find a home you love.
Lindsey is the community manager who comes to Siesta Key with several years experience managing luxury communities throughout the DC metropolitan area. As a Montgomery County native, Lindsey feels as though Siesta Key is what Rockville has been missing. It is centrally located however, it proves that you can have plenty of space without losing style and sophistication.