We are first time homebuyers, and I am frustrated with our realtor. Do we have reasonable expectations?

Asked by K Fray, 85304 Sun May 10, 2009

We are new to this, so I am not sure if I am being reasonable or picky. I feel like I am not getting enough information from our realtor. I want to find out more about the home buying process, about the time-line we can expect, and I feel like she doesn't give us the information I want. I am asking a lot of questions, but I am not confident that I am asking all the right ones.

What really irked me was that we were putting an offer down on a home, and I had asked her a couple times about the HOA fees. I had searched on the internet, made some calls, and was unable to find anything. When I asked her again, she said, "That's something you're going to have to find out about." I've already tried the best way I know! What's the point of having a realtor then?

I feel like she's pushing us to buy more expensive house. Everything she shows is *just* out of our price range.

Do I have reasonable expectations? How can I communicate this? What if things don't change?

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Homebuyer79, Home Buyer, Phoenix, AZ
Sun Jun 13, 2010
Hi there,
I understand your frustration. I experienced the same with a realtor whom I felt constantly railroaded me when it came to viewing lower priced properties. This person never returned calls or emails, either. (I'm wondering if we had the same realtor). Thankfully I never signed a contract stating exclusivity and so I moved on to another realtor. Let me tell you, the difference is night and day. Since I'm not a realtor and won't get into trouble, I would encourage you to move on. She sounds slack and lazy and arrogant.

The new realtor found me a house of interest in one day and several houses I liked within a week. I actually had a tough time deciding which one I liked best. Still am, really. Anyway, I would move on. If she is anything like my former realtor was, you will be continue to be miserable.
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Mon May 11, 2009
Is she your buyer agent? I know you're in Arizona, but since we rarely act as buyer agents on LI, when I am asked a question about fees or taxes (even when I am acting as the buyer agent) I tell the buyer "as far as I know. . . " and give them the number of where they can get the info themselves. IMO it is all about liability and I would prefer to be the source of the source, rather than the source.
As for showing you homes outside your price range, I sometimes show homes listed higher than a buyer says they want to pay for two reasons: 1. the home is overpriced and 2. usually what buyers "want" and what they can afford are two different things.
1 vote
The Urban Te…, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Mon May 11, 2009
Stories like this make me truly wonder why the Arizona Department of Real Estate is so resistant to raising the licensing and education standards for our industry. I encourage you and all those who are angered and embarrassed by such situations to contact the Department of Real Estate and local real estate associations and demand changes in education and licensing standards that will produce satisfying real estate experiences.

The public and good agents have been quiet for too long. The ADRE web site is below.

Web Reference:  http://www.urbanteamaz.com
1 vote
Maria Fano, , Phoenix, AZ
Fri Apr 13, 2012
The market is very different and difficult at this time as we all know. My suggestion would be to be open and honest with your realtor and tell her exactly what you are feeling and what your expectations are. Maybe what she is showing you are the only homes available. A realtor is there to help you and educate you on the area you are buying in and how the process works. But sometimes there might just be a communication break down. Talk to her/him and then if you still feeling that way find someone who will take the time to explain and at least help you find answers.
0 votes
Patrick Jorg…, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Wed Jun 22, 2011
I would say your expectations are not high enough if you keep giving her more chances. Her job is not only to represent you in the process of buying your first home, but she should also be educating you at the same time. I have worked with first time home buyers for years, and the first thing I tell them is that this will be an incredible education process. Find yourself a good buyer's agent with a lot of transaction experience helping first time home buyers. It should be an exciting process, not a frustrating one.
0 votes
Tim O'Buckley, Agent, Glendale, AZ
Tue Aug 10, 2010

I didn't read all the responses but as a real estate professional, the object to using an agent is to guide you through the process and help you get the questions you have, answered. I don't want to step on any feet here, but your agent should be listening to your requests. If they are not reasonable, that should be explained that we may not find what your looking for in that price range or neighborhood. Most of our job is to educate, not just show homes. A good resource for HOA information is http://www.aznb.com, you can search for the HOA by neighborhood and call the HOA company to answer your questions. Although, I do think it is your agent's job to get this question answered for you. Good luck and I hope your experience with this particular agent, doesn't tarnish your outlook on our industry.
0 votes
The Urban Te…, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Sun Jun 13, 2010
As with most industries there are good agents and not so good ones. One of the biggest problems with our industry is the lack of required training. I would love it if you would voice your concerns directly to the Arizona Department of Real Estate. The only way things are going to change is if the public voices its outrage.

Most people do not know that in Arizona one can obtain a real estate license without having graduated from high school. It takes less than 100 hours of course work and no internship to get a license. Your massage therapist takes 700 hours of classes and much of it is supervised hands on training.

We really need the public to voice its frustration and anger to the Arizona Department of Real Estate and get them to up the standards and educational requirement. There job, in part, is to protect the public from bad real estate experiences.

Good luck and hold your expectations at a very high level and demand the same of your agent.
Web Reference:  http://www.urbanteamaz.com
0 votes
Scott Troyan…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Thu Jun 10, 2010
Hello K Fray,

I work wth first-time homebuyers regularly and certainly understand your frustration. There are over a 100 areas of information that new buyers want information on when the questions come, and they want them in a timely fashion. If your Realtor doesn't know the answer, they should at the very least be the source of the source of the information you need to make an informed decision.

Your HOA issue is a pretty easy one - usually the phone number to the HOA or management company is readily available on the ARMLS Listing- you should call the number and request the information your looking for. The reason your Realtor may have given you that particular answer is because these investigations fall under "due diligence" which is the buyer's investigation process of the property. An agent conveying the worng information to you, creates liability, and so we encourage buyer's to use the proper resources, to find the right answer to the specific question.

Your agent should have supplied you with either an eMail Buyer's Advisory or hard copy in your initial meeting packet. Ask them for it if you have not already received one.

As far as commenting on the price point for your search, in Phoenix, we are currently experiencing a seasonal slump in available homes to be sold. There are less homes available, all over town. :(
Best of luck in your search!
Web Reference:  http://www.aaronline.com/
0 votes
Suz A, Agent, Longmont, CO
Thu May 20, 2010
Hello K Fray:
You are on the right track.

Relationships don't have to sour. I'm with the others on communicating your concerns in an "air clearing" talk with your agent. A good agent is a good listener.

About reasonable expectations: Yes, you have a right to information regarding an Arizona HOA. If you haven't made progress with an agent, call the association on your own. Perform an online search. The HOA has information that is important to your buying decision. For your own peace of mind, you should know what information is supposed to be available.

For Arizona, you may find these web sites helpful:

As for your other impression, what you describe is not outrageous conduct. You can, however, exercise some control over how smoothly things go:

1) Obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender so you can know what you can afford.

2) You can avoid spinning your wheels if you shop for a neighborhood first (on your own) and ask for listings in these neighborhoods. You can make changes to a home, but that's not the case for the neighborhood.

3) Ask to see a listing before heading out to a showing. Choose from several listings in your price range and make sure they are in the neighborhoods you have selected. You can, of course, always decline to go out and look at what she puts in front of you.

Your instincts seem good. Keep talking.

Good hunting.

0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, San Carlos, CA
Thu May 20, 2010
I am so sorry to hear that you are having this experience. As a first time homebuyer, you need some extra attention and time spent to orient you to the entire process.

HOA fees are an easily answered question, and if your agent can't answer those, then when you come to a difficult one I would have great concern about how they are advocating for you.

Your expectations are not being met, and it seems as though you don't know what direction to turn. I would say that you need to find someone who is willing to sit down with you in their office to educate you about the entire process from head to toe. Looking for homes is the fun part, and there are many many options out there.

I hope that you find the right person to work with.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu May 14, 2009

If your agent is not meeting your reasonable expectations it's up to you to make the next move..... common sense would indicate the agent's responsibility to provide buyers with accurate and comprehensive information relative to a home potential buyers were making an offer on. This is a commonly understood service agents provide for their customers.

The fact that she is consistantly showing you homes that are out of your price range is an additional concern that boils down to a waste of time for everyone involved.

This is clearly not going in the direction you want it to......our advice is it's time for you to "take charge" and point out the problems as you see them. Clearing the air should cause her to refocus and do a better job meeting your specific needs.....if this does not happen our recommendation is to not continue wasting your time.

Good luck
0 votes
Krista Mulli…, , Phoenix, AZ
Wed May 13, 2009
HOA information is supposed to be in the PLANO, however it is usually not. Most listing agents will just state that it does or does not have one, as this section is required to be completed when we list and the HOA contact info/fees are not required. Your agent should of simply called the listing agent or searched the MLS for other listings in the same subdivision to acquire a contact number. Your agent should have been able to call the HOA and gotten the fees, if they are mon/Qtly and what their transfer fees are....it takes all of 5 minutes. Our sole purpose as licensed REALTOR"S is to best inform our clients.There is no liability in obtaining such information on behalf of our client.
With regard to her showing you homes at the top of your range...I have to question her knowledge of the market, as most homes have multiple offers and sell for over asking price.
You are making the biggest investment of your life, make sure you are informed and confident with your agent. The average agent in Phoenix only sells three homes per year, do your homework :)By the way, I hope she informed you about the first time buyer tax credit...
0 votes
Stephanie We…, Agent, Gilbert, AZ
Tue May 12, 2009
K Fray,

The HOA fees are disclosed to all agents in the listing information. While it is prudent during escrow for you to investigate all these issues, the agent should be able to tell you generally what those fees are. Shame on her! Unless you're under contract, I'd look for another agent. Take control. You ultimately will be the one who buys the home and makes the payments.

Stephanie Weiss, REALTOR
(480) 273.7472
0 votes
Lucinda Tkach, , Phoenix, AZ
Mon May 11, 2009
It seems like reasonable questions! HOA is something should be on the mls plano sheets however an agent needs to verifiy accuracy.

If your not happy after you explain your concerns you may look for a referral from a friend. If you dont have a referral ask for referrences from an agent.

Lucinda Tkach
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Sun May 10, 2009
HOA fees should be a no brainer... it should be in the listing, or your agent should be able to call the listing agent and find out... and, hardest of all - call the HOA itself and find out. Especially if you are at the top of your range, I am very cautious of this - I have the lender re-run numbers when we're writing an offer, to make sure it fits with the tax information and HOA information in the listing. There may be some variable from then to closing, but it shouldn't be much.

You should ask questions. You need to truly feel that your agent cares about you and your family and is working to provide you with the information you feel you need. Communication is the critical part of agency, without that there is nothing.

Before I got my license, I bought 2 homes and we had 2 different agents - neither one was very good. Sometimes you have to keep looking to find the right agent. But, now that I do this all the time for a living, I want you to know that when you have the right agent, everything is better... if you can't fix this relationship, create a new one. Seriously, I know I earn every penny and then some, and my clients truly benefit from education, coaching, and experience. most of the time, however, the clients don't even realize how much heartache and pain I help them avoid.

A recent client was at work and a co-worker was telling people in the office about their home purchase process. My client called me, appaulled. She said - "do you know a lot of people don't like realtors?" I said, yeah - well, people have bad experiences sometimes. She told me that prior to listening in on that conversation, she thought all real estate agents were just like me... and now she realized that was not the case. So, she was calling me to say thank you.
0 votes
Todd Lee, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Sun May 10, 2009
Hi K,

As the others have said, we are not allowed to interfere with the relationship that you have with your agent at the risk of losing our license. What I can say though is that you really need to sit down and have a heart to heart with your agent (aka your employee). As with any relationship communication and honesty are the cornerstone. If you have neither, you have no relationship. If they cannot or will not answer your questions then I would suggest speaking to their broker and voicing your concerns.
0 votes
Maria Fano, , Phoenix, AZ
Sun May 10, 2009
Are you asking to many questions? Buying a home for the first time is a stressful, but should be an exciting time. I'm sure you have tons of questions and there are ways for realtors to answer these questions, usually by providing the answer or giving you places where you can find the answers, with HOA fees that is an easy find. She can arrange to get you copies of CC&R's which gives you all rules and regulations of an HOA. Also, there is a fees that should be disclosed. Before you get yourself all upset please talk to your realtor and let him/her know exactly how you feel and give them a chance to explain or at least give you a reason why maybe they are showing you homes in a higher price range. Maybe with your criteria there is nothing in the lower price range and she/he is forced to go a bit higher. Communicate and then if you are not happy then find a better match but by all means communicate your feelings first. Best of Luck!
0 votes
Scott Clayton, Agent, Tempe, AZ
Sun May 10, 2009
If you're not comfortable with your realtor, you should find another. Communication is very important in any relationship, but especially when you're making the most important purchase of your life. I would be glad to answer any and all questions about the home buying process.

AZ's Rebate Realtor
Web Reference:  http://www.cr-az.com
0 votes
Robert Kroon, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Sun May 10, 2009
As agents, we cannot interfer with other agents and their clients. Having said that, It doesn't sound like your expectations are unreasonable. For example, HOA fees are ( should be ) identified in the MLS listing information. Should be easy to find and communicate to the buyer. I would expect to find this information for my buyers and communicate to them.

Ask your agent to sit down with you and discuss your expectations. You both need to understand what is expected and what can / should be communicated.

Sadly, if you cannot get together on these issues, most likely you will have to agree to part company....and seek other representation.
0 votes
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