Who needs a buyer’s agent; I can find the house myself!
We often hear stories that start with that phrase: I am not really sure what my agent did because we found the house without them!
Yes, it is often true that buyers find houses without actually sitting in the car with a real estate agent and driving around to designated properties. Sometimes they are just riding around and suddenly see a house they simply fall in love with and want to buy it. With Zillow and the internet shopping for houses on line has become a national past time. In fact it is one that probably employers wish never existed since many employees do their searches while at work!
We have had buyers contact us many times to say they have found a house they want to see. Often the inside of the property does not match up to the buyer’s expectations. Why is this?
Once inside the buyer will say, “The rooms are too small or big, the master bedroom closet is awful, didn’t these people realize no one uses wallpaper anymore?”… and on and on. Liking the house outside is a good start, but it is one buyer in a hundred who actually buys the house they first called on.
A good buyer’s agent working with the buyer(s) will in a very short time know what the buyer wants and needs, even before the buyer knows. Then the home hunting is cut from a long time consuming task to a few outings. In today’s internet world we are over served with too much choice, anyone can find a houses, but a good buyer’s agent knows how to focus and eliminates the houses that will not match the buyer’s needs and desires. An experienced buyer’s agent also knows the area and can point out things like traffic issues. If you add 30 minutes to your commute because this location goes by 3 schools August to May it can get pretty frustrating.
So what happens after finding the ideal house? Here is where a good Buyer’s agent’s real work begins. Before making an offer, an experienced buyer’s agent should be able to spot any obvious visible defects and point them out. This will save the buyer the time bidding on a property and the expense of paying for a building inspection that dissuades the buyer from proceeding with the purchase.
Making an offer is not just a Zestimate- guestimate, but the buyer’s agent’s formula of local knowledge and research. Agents know what similar houses sold for in the past six months via the multi list service and tax records, including the availability of similar available homes in the area and how fast they are selling. Add to the equation any knowledge gained on the seller’s motivation to sell and possibility of other offers will determine the price of the opening offer. A good Buyer’s agent will write a good, clean offer attractive enough to be accepted or at least to receive a good counteroffer. Clouding the offer by asking for everything but the first born child and low balling is just bad advice. Agents, who write offers like this think they are a hero to the buyer when in truth it wastes time, forfeits negotiating power and often loses the sale to another bidder.
Once under contract the home inspections start. Some inspections are rational, some are far from it. Some simply scare buyers away. Having seen hundreds of inspections I know we haven’t seen it all but it is hard to surprise us. Getting through that phase is always a challenge. A good agent separates the small easy fix stuff from the important issues and the negotiations begin. If a property has structural issues brought to light by the inspection a decision has to be made. First, does the buyer want to proceed or is it time to back out. A couple of months ago we got a great offer accepted on the ideal home on a lakeside lot. The buyers were thrilled.
When the building inspector crawled into the catacomb of crawl spaces under the home, all the floor joists and supports were rotted and crumbling, not to mention a natural spring under the house. We reviewed our offer and considered a $45,000 deduction according to what the engineers said was an approximate repair cost. This was supposed to be the retirement home. A $45,000 repair was just too scary. We moved on.
There are a lot of negotiations involved during the purchase of a house. Getting past the contract stage you still have to get through the home inspection, appraisal, contingency clauses, final inspections, right up to the state someone leaves the house in after move out. Third party mediator becomes the role of the Buyer’s Agent.
Don’t forget while the buyer and seller are going through all these timely contingencies, the buyer is also going through the loan process, which is really tough these days. An attentive, experienced agent will also be keeping in touch with the lender. This is an absolute for the first time buyer; still welcomed by the seasoned buyer because this process changes all the time. It is always worse than you think it will be!
Sometimes during this process buyers and sellers just become alienated and angry. One of my favorite closing attorneys, Ken Chalker, Sr., was a master at resolving conflicts around his closing table. When the fighting started Ken would say, “I am going to walk outside and give ya’ll some time to work this out. I will be back in a few minutes.” We never failed to close. Ken knew they had gotten that far, buyers wanted to buy and sellers wanted to sell so he just gave them time to get real again. Kenneth Chalker was a fine man. Now, from his vantage point in Heaven I bet he still gets a chuckle watching some closings!
Written By Paul & Marta