Home Buying in 90230>Question Details

Johanna Delm…, Home Buyer in Beverly Hills Post O...

I met a "Buyers Agents" who wanted a lot of personal information from me. Is this common practice? Why can't I see homes without this?

Asked by Johanna Delmartin, Beverly Hills Post Office, Los Angeles, CA Tue Apr 5, 2011

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Dear Johanna,
You can go to Open Houses without representation to "look" if you wish, however, when you really want to buy it is in your best interest to have a Buyer Agent represent you in your purchase.
Buyer Agents have protocol for working with clilents. Many have contracts and almost ALL have a Pre-Qualificaiton requirement that must be take care of before they will go out with any client.
You will have to provide personal information in order to purchase property, so it's not something that is being asked of you without a purpose. It's industry standard prochedure and nothing more.
Best of Luck to you!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 13, 2011
Johanna,
If by personal information they are asking for your shoe or dress size, favorite movie, dessert or where you grew up, find another agent. If they want to know personal information regarding your work, income, available down payment and whether you are pre-approved or not; this is perfectly reasonable.
Agents get paid only after investing a lot of time and effort. A good, busy agent needs to make wise choices with whom they invest that time. Some may let anyone in their car to see any house, and many of these agents are out of business.
Having a pre-approval letter from a local lender will probably go a long way to shorten the question and answer question with the agent or at least make it more focused on what types or homes you want to see.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Like so many have prefaced their answer with... it depends on what you consider "a lot of personal information."

A buyer's agent should ask whether you intend to pay cash or if you are seeking financing. If cash, they need proof of those funds. You can black out account numbers. If you'll need financing an agent will want to speak with your lender or will recommend one. That lender will liaise with your agent to tell them what you can afford, and your lender will keep other information private. An agent will want to know you have proof of funds for the downpayment and closing costs. An agent might show one or two properties in good faith, but after that proof of a client's qualification is needed. How can they show you appropriate properties if they have no idea what you can afford? Agents are licensed by the state and undergo ethics training. If an agent is misappropriating personal information their career is at stake and if won't be long before they lose their license. I wouldn't worry about sharing personal info - agents are working in your best interest. Buying a property is a huge investment and the degree of information requested is commiserate with such an investment. Financial advisers are also privy to much personal information. First-time buyers are always wary of disclosing personal info, but it's what's needed to properly represent you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Johanna, Even though a buyer's agent represents the buyer, ethically, they should not a home that is not in a client's price range. That is not previewing a property, that is snooping or perhaps something more sinestre. A seller puts their home on the market with faith that those agents who show their home (have a key or access to their home) have not only done their due diligence in qualifying their client, but also can vouch for their client's integrity. A buyer and a buyer's agent have a business relationship and each one should trust the other or there is no relationship.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
You're hiring someone to represent you and your interests...can they do that without knowing about you? Here is what a buyer's agent should know: how are you paying for the property? Are you getting a loan? Where is the down payment? Other than that, they might want to know about who is going to live with you, and what your plans are.

Best,


Richard
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
Depends on what you consider "a lot of personal information." There is an underlying question here--are you choosing to work with this agent or afraid of feeling obligated? In your search, you would do well to select an agent first. Part of your agent's job is to locate and sift through the multitude of properties for you to see. With that said, no agent wants to provide significant services unless they know you are ready and capable of completing a purchase with them. So, until you are ready, online sites list open houses that you can see without either an appointment or commitment. (You will also meet several agents to choose from.)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
Simply put, Lookie Loo's are the nemesis and Black Plague to the RE agent/broker. Without some pre qualification the agent/broker is prey and victim of dreamers who could potentially end up just wasting a lot of their time all for naught.

Just as the client wants to seek counsel and guidance from the most qualified professionals so do these professionals wish to seek qualified and competent prospects. There's really nothing wrong with this concept.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
"Buyers Agents" owes to the buyer/client the use of "due diligence" to meet your exclusive representative.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
Yes this is exactly what buyer's Agents should be doing. We need this information to properly represent you, both in locating an ideal home and in negotiating the purchase. Buyer's agents put in a great deal of effort into locating suitable properties without any guarantee of being paid, so it is also reasonable that we should ask questions to satisfy ourselves that we are working for a bona fide buyer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
Johanna, there are a number of reasons why:

1. Who are you allowing into another person's home?
2. Have you talked to a lender? (without approval, there is no chance to buy a home. do you work for an employer who might not be able to pay you?)
3. Is there an agent you are working with? (this prevents disputes and breaking rules)
4. You are being provided a service. Do you get to test drive a car without giving any personal info?
5. Homeowners have a right to know who was in the house, and if that person is in fact a qualified buyer.

Some agents require it, others don't. For those that don't, is that the agent you want when you are selling your house? The one who lets whomever in without knowing anything about them? Most likely not.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
You can. The agent just wants to make sure you are qualified and his time management is well spent. Go get pre qualified and you can just use that to let your agent know you are serious about finding the right home that fits your needs. It's about what you want don't waiver.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
If you are just starting out and just want to see the properties, try going to open houses, you can view them with little pressure, however even the open houses you go to the Realtors will attempt to have you hire them and utilize their services. Many Real Estate agents that show you homes will want to make sure you are qualified to see a property or that attempt to get you to work with them. To be truly honest, it only benefits you to have your own Buyers agent, they will be able to schedule all your appointments, plus they will have expert knowledge of the area and the best properties on the market.

There are a lot of great properties currently available in the area, I would highly recommend hiring your own exclusive buyers agent to assist you with your home purchase, it will benefit you greatly!

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
310-586-0364
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
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