Why work with a buyer’s agent?
Why should a home buyer work with a buyer’s agent? In this word of technology, potential home buyers can go online and search for homes using popular apps like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and others. Buyers feel more in control than ever, which is a good thing for the world of home ownership. However, there are still many reasons why it is beneficial for a buyer to work with a buyer’s agent when purchasing a property, whether the buyer is a first time home buyer or has been around the block a few times. The seller will likely have an agent too, so regardless of whether any of these reasons below resonate with you, you should at least want to be on equal footing with the seller.
These 11 reason to work with a buyer’s agent, plus a twelfth bonus reason, pertain specifically to me and my team. I know that very few agents do all of what I am explaining here, and this is only part of what makes us your best choice.
Here’s a brief explanation of these reasons via video:
1. Conducting the orchestra
For a first time home buyer, one of the most important things that we do is coordinate the entire process for you. I like to say that I’m like the conductor of an orchestra, making sure that all of the parts play together at the right time and in tune. It is a participatory activity for the buyer of course, but we take on the responsibility of coordinating everything for you with your requests and preferences guiding the way.
2. Search apps are not always accurate; An agent’s search is always accurate
There are many search apps available for download that buyers love to use when looking for a home. The problem is that none of these apps are the same as the MLS — the multiple listing service — where the agents selling properties post their properties that are for sale. There can be a 2 to 7 day delay from the MLS before the property appears on one of these apps. And even then, when the property goes into contract, sees a reduction in price or even sells, the information may not update back to the app unless the agent manually enters it in. This manual entry rarely happens, and for good reason — agents are busy focusing on their own business, not making sure that a third-party that doesn’t pay the agent anything has the correct information.
When we place you on a search tied to our own app and to the MLS directly, the search will be up-to-date and accurate. Most of these apps refresh every 15, 30 or 60 minutes to make sure that the data is correct. You can choose to have instant, daily, bi-weekly, weekly and monthly notifications typically.
3. Be the first to learn about a new listing; Get in before the masses
When you are subscribed to our search, you will know about a new listing (if you do instant or daily notifications) before the rest of the real estate world knows about it. You will learn about the listing before it winds up on one of the popular app sites. When you know about a listing before everyone does, you can be one of the first to get into that property before everyone out there without a buyer’s agent figures out that the property is available. In this competitive seller’s market, especially around an area’s median price point, this can make the difference as to whether you actually get the property you’re looking for or keep losing out.
4. Work with a buyer’s agent to receive off MLS “listings”
After a new client signs a representation agreement with us, I start looking off of the MLS for potential properties. By looking through FSBOs (we get the lists daily), coming soon postings, groups I am in with other real estate agents and hearing about what is going on in the area through my many channels, I can keep my ear to the ground for something that fits what you want. If you are looking at or below the area’s median price, this is especially important because it becomes more and more difficult to find properties through the traditional MLS listings. If it serves the situation, we can also do a mailer to potential properties and see if someone is willing to sell. If you commit to working with us, we commit to finding you a home — it’s that simple.
5. Finding the right financing
Getting a mortgage is not as easy as just walking into your bank. In fact, frequently your bank will decline you and you will feel lost and frustrated. We always offer at least two, sometimes up to five options of lenders, and explain to you what they can offer and the strengths and weaknesses of each. All of this is based on what you share with your agent about your credit score and financial situation, allowing us to pair you with a few lenders who can do a great job for you. Keep in mind, we do not receive kickbacks from your lender; we just want to help you get the best financing package so that we know the search parameters for your property and can get you closed on a new home.
6. Get advice on the right price and market conditions
You may think you have seen the comps, know the market, understand how to place an offer or know how to bargain. But actually, in the world of real estate all of this is quite different. What you know in relation to other things may not be applicable to this particular house on this certain street in this exact area, but your agent will know that information and have the technological tools to confirm it for you. You want to know how to put in the offer properly the first time so that you either get the counter offer or acceptance that you want.
7. Home inspection assistance
Home inspectors in many areas are not regulated, and someone can literally buy a “certification” online for under $100. Our real estate agents network with home inspectors and other vendors, and know which ones have good reviews from other agents and clients. Ask our agent for a list of two or three, and go with one of those. You may know a home inspector, but not all inspectors do inspections for real estate purchases — some just work with insurance companies or inspect for other purposes. The inspector should understand how to inspect for the purpose of a purchase, not just for a third party’s interest that may differ from yours.
8. Request for remedy negotiations
Our agents know what the normal processes and requests are for the market. For example, you may think that the request to remedy phase allows you to ask for the crack in the countertop to be fixed, but your purchase contract actually specifies “no cosmetic requests.” Or, it may be normal in your area for radon to be mitigated and you could have gotten it mitigated, but because you did not know this you let a 5.1 reading by the wayside. I specifically walk my clients through this phase before we even sign the purchase contract so that you are aware of what you will be able to request. The costs requested, if a closing credit is what is asked for from the seller, are also nebulous unless you know how much certain repairs cost. We do this enough that we have a general idea, and can advise you on the price that may be acceptable to the other party. Of course, at the end of the day, you tell us what to request and as long as it is legal we will follow your instructions.
9. Supporting the appraisal
Even if we are confident that a property will appraise, we always send a packet of information to the appraiser. This is not to request for a certain appraisal amount, as that is no longer legal or ethical (a change that came after the financial crisis). However, we can and do explain how we obtained the purchase price and from which comps, providing additional support to the appraiser in case something is missed or overlooked. In addition, the appraiser may not have been inside the other properties in the area, and if you or we have it is easier to explain those differences to support our price.
10. Coordination through closing
We will help you make sure that everything is ready for your lender and that the deal closes as it should, and on time. Working with the title company, lender, seller’s agent and any other parties involved (contractors, etc.), we will help put everything together so that you are ready to close and the seller is, too!
11. You don’t pay us, the seller does
Typically, the seller pays our fee, which is usually 3%. In some rare circumstances, the seller may not be paying 3%. For example, a seller may agree to pay 2.5%, and if that is the case we will notify you before placing an offer on your behalf so that you are aware that the other 0.5% will be due at closing. For sale by owner properties (which are approximately 8% of all sales) sometimes do not pay any buyer’s agent commission, in which case you may end up owing all 3%. This is a very small percentage of the FSBOs, as even they realize that it often takes a buyer’s agent to bring them a buyer, they just don’t want to pay the seller’s agent’s commission on top of that. You will always know ahead of time, before you place the offer, that the commission has to be made up by you at the closing table because we will notify you if that is the case so that you may make a decision one way or the other. However, in 90%+ of the homes listed, you will have the 3% fee paid for by the seller at the closing table so that you only have to worry about your lender’s requirements.
This is a bonus reason, but perhaps it some ways it is the most important one. I will be there for you through the entire process to hear your frustrations, answer your questions, explain things you do not understand, guide you to the light at the end of the tunnel and listen to you think aloud as you make decisions. Maybe I should have gotten a counseling degree instead? All kidding aside, I absolutely love being the person to help you through from the moment we set up the search to when we are sitting at the closing table. That’s what it’s all about, right? And also going through the process with honesty, integrity and transparency so that you know you were treated properly and got the best deal possible. That’s what I’m here to do for you.
Contact Sara Marie Brenner to discuss starting your home buying process today!