If you are on the market for a new home chances are that you working with a buyer’s agent. If not, you definitely should be. After all, there’s no cost to you to use the services of this professional and their expertise and experience can save you a lot of time and trouble.
It’s easy for home seekers to explain what they expect from their agent but it’s much more complicated for them to understand the “do’s and don’ts” from the agent’s point of view. As in all aspects of life, there are “rules of etiquette” to follow that the client may not be aware of. Here are some very important things that you should know if you have asked an agent to assist you in your search for a new home.
1. First of all, please take the time to obtain pre-approval from a lender before you ask your agent to begin showing you properties. Remember, the agent that is working so hard to help you does not receive a salary. Agents work on commission and are not paid unless and until you buy a home. They spend a lot of time arranging viewings, talking to listing agents (the seller’s agents) and many other things that you are not aware of in order to locate your dream home. There’s no sense in their showing homes to people that have not yet been pre-approved for a mortgage loan from a lender. In the end, if the "would be" buyer cannot obtain a loan than the agent has wasted their time and will receive no pay for the countless hours of hard work they have done on their behalf. Is that fair?
2. Don’t ask to look at homes that you simply can’t afford. If you have been pre-approved for a $250,000 home loan, don’t ask the agent to show you a $300,000 home. You are wasting everyone’s time looking at properties that you simply can’t afford. It’s a good bet that the seller is not going to accept an offer so far below the asking price, so why bother?
3. Keep in mind that you may not be the only client that your agent is working with at the time. Yes, you are important to your agent and he/she does want to provide you with stellar service that you will always remember but the same can be said of all of the other clients they are serving at the same time. Please understand that your agent can not always drop whatever else they are doing to show you a home in 20 minutes. Be reasonable and work with your agent, not against them.
4. Don’t call listing agents on your own. The truth is there is no reason to do this. If you discover a home that you are interested in, call your agent, not someone else’s! Keep in mind that the listing agent does not represent you. He/she represents the seller and has their best interests at heart, not yours. Allow your agent to speak with the listing agent on your behalf.
5. Be loyal and be honest with your agent. As I had mentioned earlier, the agent that is assisting you in your home search is only paid for their time and effort when you buy a home and they represent you. It’s surprising how many people use multiple agents that don’t know of each other’s existence. This is NEVER OK. Please be fair to your agent. As an added note, this includes buying a home from the agent at an open house instead of your own! When is the last time you worked for free?
6. Help your agent to help you. The more you can tell your agent about exactly what type of home you are looking for and where, the better able they will be able to help you. Take the time to do some research on your own before asking an agent for assistance. Looking for a home “somewhere around Richmond” or “in a place that isn’t too crowded” doesn’t give an agent much information to go on. Have a good understanding of where you want to buy a home and what things are most important to you so that you can be specific with your agent. This will save both of you a lot of time and effort and will allow the agent to show you homes that are guaranteed to make you happy!
7. Be prepared to make an offer and make it reasonable! What’s the point in looking at a home 5 times and never making an offer? It’s also just as senseless to make an offer so low that the seller is insulted and will have nothing more to do with you. If you are serious about finding your dream home than listen to the advice of your buying agent. They will be able to guide you through the process of making an offer that will be accepted by the seller and that is the only way that you are going to wake up one morning in the home of your dreams!