I was speaking to a home buyer the other day and was trying to let her know all of the services that I provide to her as a Buyer’s Agent. She stated that she has had numerous agents contact her through the internet and she was trying to figure out how to choose the best Agent to help her.
I told her that I would recommend asking each agent the questions below.
· Do you work in Real Estate Full time? I personally think that if someone is helping a client make one of the biggest financial decisions of their life that it should not be handled by someone who treats real estate as a hobby. If you do choose to use someone who is not working real estate full time I would recommend asking them why they only do it part time and also find out how they plan on handling any issues that may pop up with your purchase process when they are at their other job.
· How knowledgeable are you in the town we are hoping to buy in? (area/county/subdivision as it applies) Often agents are so hungry for a sale that they step out of the area that they are most knowledgeable about and this could possibly hurt you as the buyer client. The agent might not be aware of things going on in the community, new roads being considered, how close to a garbage dump, local ordinances or many other things that would affect how a buyer can live in his home.
· How will you help me decide what to Offer on a home that I am interested in? Once you start to narrow down your home search your Buyer’s Agent should be willing to complete a Buyer’s Market Analysis on your favorite homes to help you decide a potential Offer price and to see which home may be a better deal. They should be willing to get you copies of the Restrictive Covenants so that you can take into consideration community guidelines. They should explain the taxes on each home so you fully know about the property, not just the purchase price. They should get you copies of the plat maps so you would be knowledgeable about possible undisclosed easements and property lines.
· Will you personally be helping me through the entire process? I personally work with my clients from the beginning through the Closing. I schedule inspections, negotiate Offers, Negotiate repairs, help give guidance with the loan process, schedule appointments, inspections and Closing. I feel that this helps the client feel more secure with the purchase / sale and less likely to worry that someone will miss something or worse yet just forgotten about once they went Under Contract. Some offices have coordinators to handle things after the Contract is signed and that is okay if you are comfortable with it.
· How will you be communicating with me through the process? This is important because you need to know what to expect so you don’t feel forgotten or neglected) Your agent needs to be willing and able to communicate with you in the way that you are most comfortable. That could be by text, email, phone, Skype or something else that you may prefer. You also should establish what your expectations are once you go Under Contract? Do you want to talk to your agent weekly or just as there are updates?
· How do you get paid for helping me? In the Buyer Agency Agreement it will state what percent of commission the agent is expecting to receive. If you are looking at homes that I have found you through the MLS then the majority of the time I will be getting paid by the seller at closing for representing you. If you happen to find a home that is For Sale By Owner or where the seller is not willing to pay the commission the agent can ask the seller to pay the agents commission however if the seller is not willing to then you should know that your Buyer’s agent is going to ask for you to pay their commission. This payment can be done at Closing. The most important thing is make certain that you tell your agent that you would like to be made aware if you are looking at any home that would require you to pay your Buyers Agent’s commission.
· Will you be only representing me or will you be representing the seller as well? Buyers need to clearly understand the differences of Buyer Agency and Dual Agency. They need to know how each type of Agency affects the advice and guidance that their agent can legally provide to them. For instance- in Buyer’s Agency I am 100% loyal to YOU and YOUR interests! I will research the sellers information as deeply as I can, I will research the last sale price , the last recorded mortgage amount, provide you with a Buyer’s Market Analysis, give you advice on an Offering price and so much more! In Dual Agency the Agent and their Real Estate Firm have their loyalties split between you and the seller. Neither the Agent or their firm are not allowed to tell you anything that could harm the seller’s negotiation or tell the sellers anything that could harm your negotiating position. Dual Agents do have to disclose any Material Facts that they are aware of, but they are not allowed to recommend Offer prices, reasons that the seller may be selling(unless the seller says that they can) If you want someone who is 100% on your side and advancing only your interests you need a Buyer’s Agent. At my firm we feel so strongly about the advantage of having your own agent that we have to be exclusively representing either the seller or the buyers. Advice tidbit: Did you know that if your agent shows you a home listed by another agent in their firm that they are still acting in Dual Agency? The only way that they can still represent ONLY your needs is if their firm offers an advanced form of Dual Agency; which is called Designated Dual Agency. This is what my firm offers so you can always be assured that I am representing your needs 100%! Whichever option you choose be certain to discuss it with your Agent well before you find a home that puts you in a Dual Agency situation.
If you or anyone you know is considering buying or selling please contact us. We are full time agents who are focused on amazing customer service! Full-time… because assisting you with life changing decisions shouldn’t be handled by someone who does real estate as a Hobby!
Krista and Rick Abshure 919-753-6518
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