We've all had experiences with the people who are really good at their jobs ... and THEN there are the really bad ones. Real estate is no different. How do you know if you've got a superstar or a complete flop handling your real estate transaction? One way to figure out if you've got a good one (or not) is to know what a really good agent will do for a client, then see if your own agent fits. Today we'll reveal some tricks real estate agents play to make you feel like you are the smartest buyer out there.
[Read on or watch on YouTube instead]
Ask you about your homeownership needs (and hopes)
When it comes to shopping for a home, assumptions are downright dangerous. So if you have an agent who assumes ... everything ... be wary. A good agent should ask you questions -- about where you've lived, what you liked and disliked about both the home and the neighborhood, where you work, how long you plan to stay there, your future family plans, and more. Agents may be able to find a neighborhood or property type that wasn't on your radar. If your agent isn't trying to figure out what would make you happy by asking lots of questions about your homeownership needs and wants, that's a red flag.
Recommend a mortgage broker
If you don't already have a mortgage broker to help you with your loan, then your real estate agent should be providing referrals for someone trustworthy. (And any agent worth his or her salt should definitely ask if you're pre-approved, so if you haven't been asked, be wary!) Real estate agents work on real estate transactions every day, and they have contacts who can help with mortgage, title, appraisals, inspections, and beyond. Use them!
Get you pre-approved
Speaking of pre-approval, this is also something that a good agent will help you manage. Not every client will need it, but some will appreciate the additional help. Agents can give you an idea of realistic sales price tags, and they can also typically put you in touch with people like mortgage brokers or even sometimes credit counselors to help get you in the best position possible to buy.
Talk about schools
You might not have kids, and you might not ever want kids, but even if that's the case, your agent would be remiss not to have the "and this neighborhood has access to the best schools" conversation. Some of the other people here who might buy your home at an unspecified future date could be parents. They are most certainly going to care about schools. Your agent should give you a rundown of which elementary, middle, and high schools service the areas where you're searching.
Give you feedback on the neighborhoods
There will always be things to learn about the place where you're buying your home. A good real estate agent should be able to answer your questions and explain how each neighborhood compares against the others. You'll probably have questions about everything from where to buy groceries to where to walk to dog to what people do for fun on weekends, and your real estate agent should help answer those questions.
Help you find a home
You might think that finding a home is as easy as looking it up on the internet, and for some lucky people, maybe it is. Many buyers check endless, potentially unsuitable, homes before they find "the one" that's their perfect fit, and pictures can be deceiving. It's a listing agents' job to but the best picture of the home out there. An agent should hook you up with MLS feed alerts so when a home meets your criteria hits the market, you'll be one of the first to know. They'll also help when your price range isn't working, or other criteria is keeping you from finding a home.
Price the home correctly
For sellers, this is one of the most critical jobs that your agent will complete -- and if they don't do a good job, you could lose tens of thousands of dollars. Pricing the home correctly initially is absolutely vital to selling the home quickly and for the best price. Some agents will inflate the possible sales price and tell sellers that they can always reduce the price if they don't get an offer. Your listing is going to get the most attention from qualified buyers within the first 30 days and even more so the first 48 hours of going on the market. Price reductions after the home is listed are never going to attract nearly as many eyeballs as new homes on the market -- and you may need to reduce the price well below fair-market value to generate buyer interest if you start off too high. Ask prospective agents how they calculated that sales price, whether it lines up with the typical price-per-square-foot in your area, and how long homes priced in that range tend to stay on the market. They should provide you with a comparative market analysis clearly showing this.
Market the home well
One reason why sellers hire a real estate agent in the first place is because the agent has a marketing platform. Some homes require more marketing than others, but agents should have a plan to market every home they list. Marketing goes far, far beyond putting it on the MLS, Zillow, and realtor.com. It should include print, radio, curbside and most importantly-video. If you don't know the listing agent's plan to market your home -- or worse, if you don't think the agent has a plan at all -- then that's a huge sign that your agent might not be the best fit for you.
Negotiate an offer
A real estate agent proves his or her worth on the negotiation floor, and you should expect nothing less from your agent. From landing on an offer price that seems fair to all parties, including contingencies and timelines, a real estate agent is your guide on the journey to buying a home, and this is where a good agent really shines. If your agent isn't really involved in the negotiation process, this is a big problem. You deserve an advocate in this home sale transaction.
Help you pick an inspector
Your real estate agent should help you find an inspector and answer any questions you have about whether the inspector's price tag is reasonable. They should give you options of different inspectors in the area and who will provide additional information for things like mold, radon or lead. They should encourage you to let them know if you are happy with the service they received so they can know whether to continue to give them out as references. You should also be encouraged to talk to more than one so you can compare pricing, availability and options.
Attend the home inspection
The inspector is going to look at the nuts and bolts that put the house together, from the foundation to the wiring to the exterior, and note the home's condition. Almost every home is going to have something "wrong" with it per the inspection; houses, like all other goods, deteriorate over time, and building codes change. A good agent will help sellers prepare mentally and financially to tackle any possible issues, and a good agent will also take note of what the inspector finds to help the buyer negotiate repairs in the deal. A buyer needs to keep in mind they are not buying a brand-new home and a seller needs to understand a buyer needs to feel comfortable with their purchase and definitely safe when they are able to move in.
Negotiate home inspection repair requests
There's no right or wrong way to manage repairs; some sellers will want to tackle them while others will prefer to knock some money off the asking price and ask the buyer to handle them. Both sides have an opportunity to present what they would like to have completed or are willing to do. This kind of like a second round of negotiations and can end with everyone happy or a termination. Whatever the case, the real estate agents should be the people managing this negotiation to help keep emotions out of the equation.
Attend the appraisal
If the appraisal comes in under the sales price and there were no agents present to answer questions or help the appraiser figure out the home's value, then you've got a problem that might not be very easy to solve. Many buyer's agents will make a point to attend the appraisal and make sure that the appraiser has access to everything he or she needs and can get any information necessary to complete the appraisal thoroughly. Appraisers need to access all the nooks and crannies just like an inspector. This is also why it's important to keep your home show ready throughout the process--it can make the difference between it appraising for enough or not so much.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
A lot can change between putting an offer on a home and actually moving in. The real estate agent should be the person who knows all of the different parts and pieces of the transaction -- and is willing to serve as the point of communication between them. If the appraisal is delayed, or there's an issue with the loan, then the agent is one who is communicating that information to the people on each side who need to know. An agent's job is to make the transaction easier for you, and that typically means managing the messages for everybody. It's important for you as buyer or seller to be responsive and stay in touch as well so all information can be communicated easily.
Help you prepare to buy or sell
As the closing approaches, there's a lot to do for both buyers and sellers who are getting ready to exchange ownership of a home. They both may need to pack and arrange for a way to move their things. Sellers are also going to have to clean -- the oven, the bathrooms, the works -- before they hand over the keys and ensure that any trash is hauled away. Your real estate agent should be sharing resources to help find those who can make this process easier.
Stay on top of the mortgage
Real estate agents will make sure that the loan is ready to go -- in every way. For a buyer's agent, that probably means working with the buyer to ensure that they have all the documentation that they'll need to present to the mortgage broker, and helping the buyer track down any missing pieces of paper. I always recommend you keep a file of everything they ask for, because it may be needed again later. The listing agent needs to keep in close communication with the buyer's agent to keep any nasty loan surprises from happening.
Tie up any loose ends
There are a lot of moving parts and pieces to a real estate transaction, and a good agent is going to be there to make sure that those parts and pieces are moving correctly -- and to work on anything that could be a problem. Confirm the inspection repairs are completed, or the title search clear, or the appraisal is returned, the agent is the person who tracks them down and whips everything into shape.
Help you manage emotions
Buying a home is a process fraught with anxiety, feelings of missing out, and even sadness surrounding a big change. Sellers especially might be caught off-guard by how they feel about leaving a house when the time comes to pack everything up. Good real estate agents understand emotions are part of the deal and may warn you. They will do their best to be there to help you get your bearings and power through.
Follow up to see how the move went
Even after closing, the agent's work is not done. A superior agent knows life is still in upheaval and will check in to make sure everything went smoothly with the move. Did you forget anything at your old place? Do you need help cleaning and getting settled in? A good agent will ask you these questions and help solve any problems that emerged as a result of changing your address.
Offer help finding contractors
All homes deteriorate -- so you can expect to have to make some repairs on your new place at some point. Who do you call to take a look at your plumbing or your landscaping? Ideally, you'll already have a list of local contractors in hand that your agent provided for you when you moved in -- but if not, this is something else that your agent should be able to help with. So, ask!
Keep in touch
Its not uncommon for clients and agents to lose touch as years pass. The best agents make a point to keep in contact with their best clients. A good agent will reach out to help celebrate your homeownership anniversary, ask how you're doing, and generally stay apprised of any emerging housing needs that you might have like downsizing or moving away.
Now you know what you should be looking for so you have a superstar agent on your side! Take the next step and watch this video about first time homebuyer mistakes, or just give me a call with any questions! thanks for spending time with me and have a blessed day!