Approaching ten years as commercial and residential real estate professionals, we understand many people are confused as to how and when to involve a Realtor in their property search.
The ideal situation begins with a conversation with your agent of choice. This would be PRIOR to visiting properties at open houses, calling For Sale By Owners, etc.
Some great steps before visiting with your Realtor include meeting with your lender to determine your ability to finance a purchase and looking online at properties for sale in both the Multiple Listing System and For Sale By Owners sites.
Here are some situations you may find yourself in and how you can use your Realtor if you haven’t already begun to do so.
Situation #1: If you want to buy a property, but don’t know where to start
Make an appointment or a simple phone call to your agent to discuss the buying process and preliminary steps you should take (meeting with your lending office, taking a look at the market online, etc.). Your agent will want to know your buying criteria so they can begin to send you current listings.
Situation #2: If you have been looking online, but don’t know what to do next
Likely what you are able to view online is only a portion of the property information. Call your agent to explain your buying criteria and any properties of interest. The agent can email you this information and set up showings.
Situation #3: If another Realtor has the property listed
The agent that lists a property is representing the owner of the house. If you would like your own representation, you should call your agent before calling the listing agent. Your agent acts on your behalf in all communication with the listing agent and owners. If you visit an open house before you have spoken with your Realtor, you should mention that you are working with X agent (mention by name). A listing agent may represent both sides of the transaction with your permission, but if you have a relationships with another agent, why not have them represent your sole interest?
Situation #4: If the property is for sale by owner
Many people falsely assume that FSBOs will not work with a Realtor or that they will save money keeping their agent out of the deal. Neither of these things need be true. In fact we have purchased FSBO properties representing ourselves and negotiated our own commission. Nearly every FSBO listing we have ever contacted was excited to have a potential buyer whether or not they had a Realtor. Let your agent do the work of negotiating their own commission out of the deal. They should have your best interest in mind and work for something that is best for you. The need only represent your interests. Before calling or visiting a FSBO, ask your agent to handle all of the communication and set up the showing.
Situation #5: If you attended an open house, spoke to the agent, but forgot to mention you have a Realtor
Just be sure to tell your agent this information so they can relay the detail to the listing agent should you have an interest or make an offer. That way there aren’t two agents thinking they are representing your interest, calling you to follow up, etc.
With information on properties for sale so readily available on the internet , it is easy to see that an agent isn’t essential to find the right property (unless you are looking for something unique or scarce). Even if someone has purchased a property their own in the past, the greatest asset in having an agent on your team is the unknowns that occur. Your agent’s hardest work begins after the property is selected. They should be able to:
Negotiate on your behalf, giving you recommendations based on market information and the situational details of this purchase
Keep financing and legal work moving forward
Assist in selection and oversight of inspections and re-negotiation as necessary
Handle the stress of unforseen repairs and paperwork delays
Prepare you for closing
Assist in final arrangements i.e. last minute inspections, possession issues, etc.
We enjoy helping people purchase the property that fits their needs and wants. The process can typically be easier than many clients make it for themselves. Keeping your Realtor informed and working for you throughout the process is a great way to make sure all of the details are covered and your purchasing process is enjoyable.