Working with Agents
In today’s world, access to real estate information is now more readily available to a property buyer, making many wonder why they should work with a real estate agent. Some think that real estate agents are a dieing breed (like the travel agents), however, the legal complexities of the real estate transaction will continue to require a representative in real estate.
The other common misconception which most first time home buyers think, is that they may search on their own and then try to go direct to the listing agent to purchase the home. This may work a handful of times but truth is that this seldom provides benefit to the buyer or seller and the legal requirements an dual representation can pose major risks to both parties.
Before deciding to work with a Real Estate Agent, take notes of the below protocols you can use while looking for a Real Estate Agent that will keep safe and provide the most benefit to you:
1. Understand Agents Work on Commission – Very few real estate agents work on salary and Most real estate agents are paid commission. Without an agreement between a buyer and buyers agent, the Real Estate agent may not work to the full extent the would if an agreement was signed. If an Agent doesn’t close a transaction, the buyer usually does not need to pay their buyers agent, meaning the agent will not get paid. Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. So, do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal or waste their time and money. For the best results, have the agent provide you with a buyer representation agreement describing the these terms.
2. Keep Appointments & Be On Time – Our Associates are required by our Local Expert Service policy to be on time or make arrangements to make sure you’re well taken care of. We hope the same respect and use of common courtesy is provided by our clients to our Associates. Our Associates will try to make sure you have the highest level of service, however, please don’t expect an agent to drop everything to run out and show you a property that same day. You are probably not that agent’s only prospect / client.
3. Choose A Real Estate Agent – If you decide to hire your own agent, interview agents to find an one with whom you are comfortable. If you are interviewing agents, let each agent know you are in the interview stage. Our client relations team can assist you by recommending an agent based on the criterias you give them. All of our associates take in-depth tests so that we can match you with an Associate that is right for you. You can also search, rate and review Agents across the world on http://LocalRealtors.com
4. Do Not Call The Listing Agent if You Are Working With a Buying Agent – Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If you hire the listing agent to represent you, that agent will now be working under dual agency. If listing agents show you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you. Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent’s job. Let your buyer’s agent do their job.
5. Practice Open House Protocol – Ask your agent if it’s considered proper for you to attend open houses alone. In some areas, it is frowned upon to go to open houses unescorted. Hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is an agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you. Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller’s motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you.
6. Sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement with a Buying Agent Expect to sign a buyer’s broker agreement. It creates a relationship between you and the agent, and explains the agent’s duties to you and vice versa. Ask about the difference between an Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Buyer’s Broker Agreement. If you’re not ready to sign a buyer’s broker, do not ask that agent to show you homes. Otherwise, procuring cause may pop up. Ask your agent if they will release you from the contract if you become dissatisfied. If they refuses, hire somebody else.
7. Always Ask For and Sign an Agency Agreement – By law, agents are required to give buyers an Agency Disclosure. Signing an agency disclosure is your proof of receipt. It is solely a disclosure. It is not an agreement to agency. Read it. The best and most practiced type of agency is the single agency. This mean you are represented by your own agent who owes you a fiduciary responsibility.
8. Make Your Expectations Known – If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell them. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office. Let your agent know how you want them to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, e-mails, text messages, IM’s or all of the above? Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home. Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback. If you are displeased, say so.
9. Do Not Sign Forms You Do Not Understand – Do not feel silly for asking your agent to explain a form to you. It is their job. Many forms are second nature to agents but not to you, so ask for explanations until you are satisfied you understand. Do not sign forms titled Consent To Represent More Than One Buyer. This is never in your best interest. Find another agent if this happens. Realize agents are not lawyers and cannot interpret law.
10. Be Ready To Buy – If you aren’t ready to buy, you don’t need a real estate agent. You can go to open houses by yourself; call listing agents for showings — but be honest, say you are “only shopping”; look at homes online; but don’t waste an agent’s time if you aren’t ready to act. If possible, hire a babysitter to care for children who are too young to stay out all morning or afternoon touring homes. Bring your checkbook. You’ll need it to write an offer because an earnest money deposit may be required to accompany your purchase offer.
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