Home Buying in Federal Way>Question Details

Jim, Other/Just Looking in Federal Way, WA

I am currently in the process of looking for a condo/townhouse/stand alone with my wife and daughter. We

Asked by Jim, Federal Way, WA Tue Jul 1, 2008

We like our current agent, but at times it seems like we are doing more of the work in locating a home to look at than she is. We are also concerned that she has not shown a very strong knowledge of the South Sound areas (Kent, Auburn, Federal Way) to help us stay away from undesirable areas. When is the right time to move to another agent? And if we stay with our current agent, what kind of information can I provide to her on decent areas of the South Sound to look at for homes?

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Answers

9
Here are a few things to consider when working with an agent to find a property...

1 - Is your agent actively sending you more listings? It is possible that she is sending you the wrong type of homes. If your agent is not sending homes to you at least a few times a week then this is a red flag.

2 - Do you know what you can afford? Has your agent sat down with you and talked with you about financing? If not you may be wasting time looking.

3 - Are you aware of just how much you are going to need to get into your new home? Often times there are steps that are not discussed up front. Then when you least expect it you have to pull $400 dollars from your pocket to some expense.

For example, do you know how much an inspection is going to cost you? Are you even aware of the need for an inspection? If you are not informed better of the process then this could cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Knowledge is critical. Another example, have you been informed about an earnest money deposit? Do you know how much you plan to put down? If you are answering “no” to these questions then you are not being informed of the process…another red flag.

4 - Are you seeing homes that are along the lines of what you are looking for? If not then it is possible your agent really does not know what you are hoping to find. This too would be a red flag.

A buyers agent really does need to be on the top of things. They are your representative in this purchase which will affect you for years to come. If you feel you want to make a change, then you should seriously consider it. If you are not getting an update of homes every couple days then ask yourself, is this someone who really will be able to negotiate a transaction? Will they really stay on top of the process? Will they keep you informed? Your agent is your representative and should keep you informed. I do agree you should raise your concerns with your agent first. See what they say before you make any final decision.

If you then are still wanting to make a switch, then seriously consider it.

I hope this has helped,
Best Wishes,
Bryan Lovell
Web Reference: http://www.homelantern.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Hi Jim,

Have you talked to your agent about your concerns? She may not realize how you feel, although she should have an awareness that she is not fulfilling your needs. After being made aware of your concerns, she might be able to make those changes, if not, then ask her to refer you to another agent who is more knowledgeable about those areas.

Your agent should have the knowledge and expertise to help you identify areas and neighborhoods that are a good fit for your family. Buying a home is a long term decision, and you need to know your options so that you can make a good decision.

If your agent is unable to refer you to another agent, try asking your family, friends and co-workers for a the name of an agent they feel could help you better.

I hope you are able to get the help you need so that you can the home that is the best for your family!

~Deborah
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
11/12/13

Jim - were you able to find a good agent as well as a good property ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 12, 2013
Hi Jim,
Just wanted to share with you my condo in a very desireable area near Dash Point. 31720 47th Lanes SW. Unit A Federal Way, 98023. I have 2 bedrooms, an office/den, wood burning fireplace, deck, formal dining area, two full baths, vaulted ceilings, recently painted and updated. Water, sewer, garbage and cable are
included along with all landscaping. I have an attached one car garage and am listed on MLS if you want to take a tour!
Good Luck!
H
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 25, 2009
Jim
With all of the internet postings of listings on hundreds of websites, I tell my buyers that it is very likely that THEY will be the ones to find their home. The days of the Realtor having the inside track on listings are gone.

My recommendation is for you to sit down and map out a plan for buying your home. We spend about an hour during our first meeting trying to figure out how we should go about buying a home, and see if we can work together. During that meeting we both assess each others expectations and at the end of that meeting decide if we want to work together.

Equal housing laws prohibit Realtors from "steering" buyers from buying in certain neighborhoods. If you have concerns about how the process is going, then sit down and have an update meeting. In many markets the inventory levels are shrinking so low that many buyers are becoming frustrated. So talk about your needs and see what happens.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 1, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Hi Jim,
You’ve received great feedback from all of the agents that have replied. I wish you the best of luck on purchasing your new home! If you have any other questions that have not been answered please let me know.

Best of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 30, 2009
Hi Jim
The agents who have answered your question have all given you good advice. It sounds like your agent is from out of the area. It is sometimes difficult for an agent who is not familiar with a particular area to find the right home for their client. Some agents may not spend the time houses first. In this market with so many homes to look at it is important foer your agent to weed out the ones she knows would not be of interest to you so neither of you are wasting your time. If she can find 4-6 homes that she thinks meets your criteria it will save you time and stress. She may need to look at 20+ houses to find those 4-6 to show you. I don't show more than that to a client in one day or their eyes start crossing and confusion sets in!
You should speak to her about your concerns. I would think she would be open to some of your suggestions and not want to loose you as a client.
Web Reference: http://www.JoniRibera.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Agents are supposed to be careful to avoid "steering" clients to or from specific neighborhoods for legal reasons. However, a good agent will provide an abundance of information and statistics about any neighborhood being considered so that the buyers can form their decision on whether it is suitable for them. That is the theory at least. In practice, it is the agent's job to avoid properties in which you are not interested.

If your agent is not providing an abundance information, i.e. weblinks, spread sheets, graphs, etc. it is probably due to lack of experience or lack of knowledge or both. Ask her to provide statistics on crime, schools or any information that is important to you.

Ask yourself if she really knows what you are looking for or if she is just sending you listings based on price and location or minimal parameters. A responsible agent will do their best to preview every listing prior to bringing you there so that they can answer your questions about location, condition, etc. And to be sure they know where it is and how to get there (it sounds like you're covering a big area). They also ask a lot of questions - a lot of questions - so that they can hone in on what you are really interested in.

Consider how you met the agent: did you interview at least three agents before deciding? did you get any referrals from past clients? Bryan makes excellent points below. No one wants to see an agent fired. Address your concerns with her (if you haven't already) and if she stil isn't performing, move on.

Best of luck in your search for a new home.

Mark
Web Reference: http://www.homehounds.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Jim,

I agree with Deborah and Bryan, they are right on with their advice. Additionally, If your agent hasn't had a meeting and specifically asked you all the questions about what you would like to buy and really discovered where you want to live, that would be a concern. Then they should have taken the time to explain the entire process of buying a home or townhome. And they should have either recommended a couple of good loan officers or talked with you and your loan officer about your financial options. You should have been given a copy fof the buyers presentation to take with you so when questions come up in your mind (which they always will) you could look for the answer. And once the loan officer has you pre approved and it is documented, then it is time to look for homes. Often times the pre meetings will take a total of 3 or 4 hours. Preparation ahead of time, keeps you from wasting time and driving around or looking at homes you don't want or can't afford.

With the abundance of homes and townhomes available, here in the south end, it should be easy to find several homes for you to view online. After that your agent should have knowledge of the neighborhoods and schools and can give you more input. The agent should preview the homes in which you are interested. This means going to them, going in to make sure they meet your needs. Then all of you go out looking at the best 5 or 6 homes and buy one.

At this point, you should be getting homes 2 or 3 times a day by email to look. And if your agent is not calling you often for your feedback that would be a concern.

This is a great market for buyers, with lots of available homes and good interest rates. It is a major financial and life decision which home to buy and you need an agent that is diligent, knowledgeable about the homes and market in the specific area and maintains contact with you on a continuous basis.

Have a great 4th of July,
Gary McNinch
Web Reference: http://www.GaryMcNinch.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
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