- evaluating the specific needs and wants of the buyer and locate properties that fit those specifications.
- assisting the buyer in determining the amount that they can afford (pre-qualify), and show properties in that price range and locale.
- assisting in viewing properties -- accompanying the buyer on the showings, or preview the properties on behalf of the buyer to insure that the identified specifications are met.
- researching the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the buyer make an informed decision prior to making an offer to purchase the property.
- advising the buyer on structuring an appropriate offer to purchase the selected property.
- presenting the offer to the seller's agent and the seller on the buyer's behalf.
- negotiating on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the identified property -- keeping the buyer's best interests in mind.
- assisting in securing appropriate financing for the selected property.
- providing a list of potential qualified vendors (e.g. movers, attorneys, carpenters, etc.) if these services are needed.
- most importantly, fully-representing the buyer throughout the real estate transaction.
Hope this helps.
GerryV - a NY LSA & Certified Buyer Representative
The odds are extremely high that mortgage brokers, inspectors and attorneys who become dependent on agent referrals will favor the interests of the agent over those of the buyer or seller.
It's not a bad idea, however, to ask your agent for referrals: the answer you get will tell you something worth knowing about your agent. Many highly professional agents will refuse to make referrals or, if pressed, will provide only a list that includes a number of firms in each category of service. If an agent provides only one home inspector, one mortgage broker or one attorney - consider hiring a diferent agent.
You can find your own home (there are many useful websites).
You can negotiate your own price (you are really doing this anyway).
You can read and understand the purchase contract (and should).
You can arrange inspections (I recommend being a part of them).
You can find a lender (rates are largely controlled).
You can complete the closure.
Often the most useful aspect of having an agent is that many specialize in knowing specific neighborhoods - they can advise about aspects you may be unaware of. This is useful if you are unable to wait to get to know an area before making a purchase. But beware too: their incentive is to sell a house and collect their commision; they may sell you a house you don't really want.
My best advice is to research the neighborhood (crime, schools, activities), visit the neighborhood during various times of the day, and do your homework (is it a historic district, what kind of heating does it have, etc).
Once you find a good one trust then to help you in every way. you will be fine.
As far as inspectors go. You should ask for a list of ASHI certified inspectors and make your own choice.
We should also help our buyers find service providers, but the extent of that assistance depends on either brokerage policy or the agent's own sense of the perils involved. As for referrals to service providers, agents would be well advised to simply provide a list from which their clients can select a service provider. Anyone can have a bad day, and someone who normally does a great job can fail to perform. Worse yet, unrealistic expectations on the part of a client can result in bad feelings--and in litigation.
When addressing referrals to brokers (providing relocation services), many brokers/agents have little or no control over the selection of the agent after sending the referral. Those who do have some control generally have little knowledge of the actual performance of the agents to whom they send referrals. Brokers tend however to select their best or most productive agents to handle referrals, and it usually works out well. The referee should however make their own assessment of the agent to whom they are referred before making a commitment to that agent.