What can I expect from a buyer's agent? The 3 real estate agents I've worked with while looking for a home in MA have simply connected me

Asked by SR, Boston, MA Sun Mar 21, 2010

to their listings on their websites and asked me to look through all the listings and decide what to go see. After we went to look at a few places, I figured they would have a good idea of what I was looking for, and would then take over the searching and be able to show me what I was looking for. However, the agents never searched for me. Since I don't have time to search daily, I do not like this arrangement and realize that I am not going to find my home this way. Do agents in MA not search for their clients, or have I just had bad luck with my buyers agents?

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Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hello JD and thanks for your post.

So, my first question is, are you working with all three agents simultaneously or have you worked with three agents in a row and none of them have worked out? The reason I ask is that, many times, unless the buyer is willing to commit to an agent as his or her representative, the agent is unlikely to expend too much time looking for the buyer. Like others, I'll email listings to clients who have expressed, for example, an interest in a 3 bedroom home in Santa Clara, California, but who have not expressed a desire to work exclusively with me. For those who are active buyers, who have worked with me exclusively and who have signed Buyer/Broker representation agreements, they have my full, undivided attention to their housing needs and search. I will daily search the MLS for suitable homes for them, will preview houses before showing the homes to them, review the comparables, check the disclosures and know everything about the home before I suggest anything to the client.

Otherwise, I've learned from experience that a buyer who will not sign such a buyer broker agreement is usually not that serious in working with me at this time, so we keep the relationship casual and open-ended until the buyer is ready to make such a commitment. In today's home buying environment, as you are now finding out (and others do too, but it takes time and exposure to the market), one must be "serious" about a house hunt in order to be successful. To do this, you, as the buyer, must make serious commitments to buy with a qualified, experienced and willing agent.

Interview a few agents, be upfront about your needs and expectations, and then be willing to make a commitment to work with and hire an agent, and I'm certainyou'll see a huge difference in the type of service you receive from that agent. Good luck!

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
1 vote
Richard Rosa, Agent, Haverhill, MA
Mon Jan 25, 2016
Besides communicating to your buyer agent what your expectations are during the home-buying process, it is very important that you know what type of buyer agent in Massachusetts you're working with. There are designated buyer agents and exclusive buyer agents. What is an exclusive buyer agent? An exclusive buyer agent only represents homebuyers AND works at a real estate company that only represents homebuyers, never sellers, thus avoiding potential conflicts of interest. Good luck.
0 votes
Kevin Vitali, Agent, Tewksbury, MA
Mon May 17, 2010
I think you need to make it quite clear what you are looking for in a buyer's agent. Most buyers with the internet are picking and choosing what they would like to see and are not so reliant on their agent to choose properties.
Web Reference:  http://www.thehousewiz.com
0 votes
Greer Swiston, Agent, Newton, MA
Wed Mar 31, 2010
How long have you've been house hunting? When you signed your contract with each of these agents, did you ask to see a service pledge from any of them?

When I am hired to be a Buyer's agent, I provide a signed service pledge that clearly details how I work and I commit to it in my contract. I'm happy to provide references! If I violate any of my commitments, feel free to fire me!

If you're interested to sit down to meet me and let me show you how I work, please give me a call at (617) 308-6583 or email me at greer.swiston@commonmoves.com

0 votes
Catherine Fi…, , Methuen, MA
Wed Mar 31, 2010
Hello, I can empathize with you, as I recently purchased and sold a home and too was disappointed. As an Agent expected more of "concierge" services, to do more of the "leg work". As an Agent, and a customer, I wanted a more personable, tactical, compassionate, and professional; all the reason I entered RE. With my own personal experiences, most agents have not personalize services aligned with their Clients goals, in consideration of outlining:

1.Your timeframe
2. Your risks and options
3. Your preference to receive new property info and what vehicle, i.e. fax, direct calls, automated emails based on criteria
4. Your criteria: features, amenities, location, pricing, and so on - really narrow down to eliminate time.
5. Your financing options also
6. What else can help to smooth the process, other considerations if relocating, etc.

I prefer to work on a more personal level with my clients, not necessarily by volume. Service is absolutely the key to preserving long lasting relationships and who doesn't appreciate concierge services these days, even if it means after meeting with a client dropping off their drycleaning ;-)

Your Agent should be very familar with your criteria and know what is available on the market to reduce your wasted efforts, and slim down the number of potential homes that truly fit YOU. In the end, any {agent} can sell you a home you locate, but it's the added touch that eliminates possible hinderances by understanding the complete set of requirements YOU have.

All the best,
Catherine Fiorello Aziz
Web Reference:  http://www.catherineaziz.com
0 votes
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Mon Mar 22, 2010
Tom and Joanne,

Can you please tell me what a "certified buyer broker" is? I see you are ABR (accredited buyer representive) but I have never heard of a "certified buyer broker" or of any "certification" for buyer's brokers. Just want to see if I missing something new....
0 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Mar 22, 2010

I can understand your frustration. That is what most agents do and if your truly looking for something different you should contact my team. We give a 1 hour free buyer consultation where we cover soup to nut all that is involved in the buying process. Next we will cater our search needs based on the clients ability. I have some clients that demand to search for their own homes while I have other clients like yourself that need assistance. We are certified buyer brokers and can assist you. Please see our email below. Best
0 votes
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Mon Mar 22, 2010
Clarification: I DO send them lisitngs directly that match their criteria on the MLS system but I don't pick out the houses for them. If that is what you mean by "not searching for me" then I agree, that is a problem.
0 votes
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Mon Mar 22, 2010
In defense of those agents, I never "search for homes for my clients." I send them the listings and tell them to tell me what they want to see. I don't "pick" houses for my clients, that is their job. I do make comments, and if I see one in their listings that I think is a good fit I tell them. But I don't want the responsibility of picking out the houses I think my clients might like. That's their job.

BTW, the fact that you've had (3) agents is a red flag to me. I have a feeling you are wanting something that most agents do not offer. Possibly your expectations are not realistic or you don't have a proper understanding of the process.
0 votes
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Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Mon Mar 22, 2010
Jd, lots of good avice below for sure! You have worked with 3 agents either simultaneously or not and have not found a good fit. Interview some agents, Tell them your expectations and have them preview properties once they get to know you. As with any relationship you need to get to know each other and go out a few times so the agent can get a feel for the type of property that appeals to you. We all set up the online listings but we should be checking them daily on our side to see what is best matching our clients.
Of course I would be happy to talk to you further if you are interviewing.
Heidi Zizza
mdm realty
Web Reference:  http://www.mdmrealtyinc.com
0 votes
Susan Costa, , Westport, MA
Mon Mar 22, 2010
Sounds like the agents you hooked up were not fully doing their due diligence for you. Interview agents and tell them what YOU expect. If they cannot represent you the way you want - move on to anther realtor.

I also set up buyers and also allow them to search on my website for properties. I also search daily for my clients. If I see one that they buyer may like, I send it to them and ask what they think. I have gone to see properties that my clients do not have time to view. If I think they client will like ti, I ask them to view.

Some realtors are "part time". Meaning they work another job full time and this is a second job for them.

Full time agents - full time service.

I get to know my buyers and our office strides for "Service and Perfection" to meet our clients needs.

Good luck with your search.
0 votes
Tean Wong, Agent, Boston, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
I can understand that frustration and can actually relate to you. Here is the thing about working with an agent. If you are working with three agents, you need to decide who do you want to work with exclusively. The biggest mistake for many home buyer is not interviewing agents and find the one that know and understand your needs. Working with many agents doesn't benefit you. You probably feel that you work three times harder, explaining what you want, pro and cons of what you saw three times. That is exhausting. This is the weakest link kind of game right now. Find the one that will fit your needs, explain what you are expecting from your agent upfront. Agents work for you, so you tell them how you want them to do, if they said they can't do what you are expecting from them, move on to the next.

Communication is the key in this business, if you are ( both you and your agent ) communicating, you can find your dream home.

Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.teanwong.com
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hi Jd, I'd suggest you discuss your preferences with the agent(s) and work with the one that can work in the way that you desire. You've got some experience under your belt with three agents at this point, weigh their qualities and strengths, discuss your expectations on the searching front and then work with the agent that meets your criteria. I would not work with three - you'll likely dilute your effort rather than strengthen it. Put another way, find the agent that works the way you do, and then reward them with your loyalty and you should get her/his best in return.

As with all business endeavors - communication is key. Hopefully all you need is to clarify your expectations to get back on track.

Good luck,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Michelle Lane, Agent, Chestnut Hill, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010

It sounds like you have not yet found the right fit. As with any professional relationship you should believe in your agents competence, trust them and have a good rapport. That rapport would be established through enough communication so that the agent knows your criteria, your budget, your timeline and any other needs. I sit down with my clients to determine all this, then I do set them up for MLS notifications, but I also cull through the listings to let them know when I see ones that are promising. I go to the Broker Tours and let my buyer know what I think about which might be a fit. Then I make a schedule for us to go look at them together.
Were you choosing agents that live or work in the town you are looking in? That isn't absolutely necessary, but certainly helpful. Also, make sure the agent is a full-time agent. It may be the agents you chose do not do this full-time so they do not have the time to search for you.

If you are looking in Newton, I can certainly help. I live and sell here. I know the houses and neighborhoods so can give you the rundown on which will work for you. I can give you references that can vouch for the level of service I provide. Contact me if you need help. 617 584-3904
0 votes
Rachel Hillm…, Agent, Newton, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hi JD-
I have to agree with the posts below. Absolutely, a good buyer's agent will search for their clients. Some buyers prefer to use the website and decide what properties to see. Other buyers like the agent to pick the listings for them. If you prefer the searching be done for you, that is completely reasonable.
70% of buyers work with the first Realtor they meet. Hopefully, you are not working with 3 agents at the same time. My recommendation is to find ONE agent who is both a Realtor and an Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR). Check references and take the time to find someone that you feel comfortable working with and can trust. Then work as a team. Be clear about your needs and how your prefer to look for properties.
My philosophy is to work with 4 active buyers at a time so I can offer the best customer service. I do cover Newton and would be happy to talk to you more if interested. My email is rachelhillman@earthlink.net and website link is below.
Web Reference:  http://www.rachelhillman.com
0 votes
Ellen Friedm…, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Dear Jd - I'll tell you what I do for my buyers--and I think that's what a buyer's agent should do. I do set them up with MLS automated listings but I also check the listings several times a day to see if something new has come up which would suit their needs. If I see something I think they will like I call or e-mail them right away. I accompany them to open houses and also set up private viewings for them. Once my clients find something they like I really push the offer and try to negotiate the best deal for them. Once the offer is accepted and they are ready for the home inspection I accompany them to the inspection. I will then help them find the best financing package (they should be pre-approved but don't have to go to that lender for their financing). I stay on top of the mortgage application to be sure they are well within the deadline--or ask for an extension if necessary--and then take them through the final process until the closing. I am not done with my clients after the closing. They know that they can call me with questions, for workmen referrals, etc.--I call them back right away. In other words I treat them as though they are still clients, even though I already have my commission. If that sounds like the kind of service you want get in touch with me and I'll be glad to talk with you. Better yet, check out some client testimonials on Trulia at http://www.trulia.com/profile/ellenfriedman/. They are also on Yelp, but a bit harder to find.
Best regards, Ellen

Ellen G. Friedman, Keller Williams Realty, ellengfriedman@comcast.net or 617-448-1542.
Web Reference:  http://www.ellenfriedman.biz
0 votes
Matthew Heis…, Agent, Westborough, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010

Well, you have had some bad luck. Part of the issue is many of today's buyers like to drive the bus, and aren't always that interested in their agents recommendations - at least until they've exhaustive what they perceive as their options*. But there are PLENTY of us who do (and PREFER) to be choosing the path together, explaining how property is priced, what types of styles and how old a house you should be looking for, and percentages of how likely what you want is in your available price range.

And in response to all the notes here about exclusivity and contracts, I humbly suggest that if you find the agent that is smart, dedicated, and a good personal fit for you, they will earn the first and you won't need the second.

*And, as a rule, I understand why they want to drive, it is, after all, their money. But many people do not really know good ways to narrow down houses that make sense so that they don't have to spend every weekend for 12 months going to open houses.
Web Reference:  http://www.bjheisler.com
0 votes
Zelda Kohn, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hi Jd,

Buyer-Agent relationship is a 2-way street. If you chose yourself an agent and work with him/her exclusively, you should expect to get a priority attention, dedicated service, have your requirements understood and, most of all, have your interests be represented by an experienced,. knowlegable professional who knows the process and can handhold you 1 step a time all the way through to the closing while protecting your interests and, not necessarily, the Seller's.

A good agent should be also be able to assess your requirements and reset your expectations, if necessary, to make sure your real estate goals achievable, thus saving you a lot of time and frastrations. There are many good agents out there in Newton and, if they are like me, they are very busy right now, so their priority service is to those Buyers who are commited to work with them exclusevly.
0 votes
Tom Lynch, Agent, Great Barrington, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010

Certainly agents in Massachusetts search for their clients! It appears you have either had bad luck with buyer's agents, or the three agents you worked with were not confident you were a "ready, willing and motivated" buyer and thus did not put their best efforts into helping you.


Tom Lynch
Associate Broker, Massachusetts and New York
Berkshire Property Agents
Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230
0 votes
J.M.Jones -…, , Massachusetts
Sun Mar 21, 2010
YOU SHOULD EXPECT the greatest customer service you could get within reason. If you are Pre-Approved to buy and not a tire kicker and have signed a buyer agent agreement with an agent, in my opinion you deserve to be treated quite well.

Be sure your agent is a REALTOR and not just an agent, that is huge in my book and be sure you dealing with a powerful worldwide agency like Century 21 or Remax, strength in numbers is true.

Do not expect something from your agent if you have not explained what you would like, maybe he or she just did not understand the level of care you would like to achieve and lastly, even though it might upset some folks, try to help the agent help you, we are not mind readers and none of us want to disappoint you.

This is one of the largest purchases most people will ever make and with it comes personal wealth, you need to look at some photos and be involved with your investment, respectfully.

I take what I do for my clients very seriously, that is why I get paid and I like to earn my money not to mention I may have to see them on the street and I much prefer a smile over the finger.

My advise, keep your agent informed as to your EXACT wishes and allow he or she to agree with those terms up front - then proceed together.

Good luck and if you need anything feel free to call or write !

Jamin Jones
Century 21 Northshore
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Sun Mar 21, 2010
In regards to your agent directing you to only their listings, this is why you need to hire an exclusive buyers agent that works for an exclusive buyers agency (never represents sellers). They will help you sift through every property on the market in the area and price range you are considering. It can be very frustrating process otherwise.
If you need help searching your agent should have absolutely no problem doing this for you so if you are experiencing resistance or non response I would move on. Find yourself an exclusive buyer agency that is dedicated to helping home buyers only.

Feel free to call us anytime with questions: 617 848 5407 ext 704
Web Reference:  http://territoryre.com
0 votes
Joe Arnao, Agent, Sanwich, MA
Sun Mar 21, 2010
It depends on each agent. If you want an agent to go over and above you should consider a buyers contract with only one of them. That way they will be able to dedicate more time to your effors.
However, it is often that we as agents try to determine what a buyer wants and end up missing something in the translation or the buyer sees in one property something that stands out that the agent wouldn't see.
It is important that the buyer participate in the search within a narrowed field of listings. Set some parameters and have only those listings sent you. Keep the criteria rather open so you can get a good feel for what is on and coming onto the market. Good luck.
0 votes
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