What to Expect From A Buyer’s Agent
A real estate agent can be invaluable when you are trying to buy a home. Each agent is different, which means each may take a slightly different approach to the home buying process. However, there are certain things that every real estate agent should do for you as a buyer.
I have talked in the past about what to expect from a real estate agent when selling a home. You should have similar expectations as a buyer on what your Realtor will be doing for you!
Use the following list to weed out the agents that you don’t want to work with. These are nine critical things a real estate agent should be doing for home buyers. If you find a potential agent that says he or she won’t do the things on this list, keep looking.
When you find a quality agent, he or she will be more than happy to take care of these things. These are the benefits of having a buyers agent who will be in your corner fighting hard for you.
If you have not formally met with a real estate agent yet, you may want to brush up on what to do before buying a home. The advice will put you on the right track for home buying success!
The best buyer’s agents will do these nine things for you when purchasing a home no questions asked.
1. Get you pre-approved.
A good Realtor has a sizable network of trusted agents, lenders, and other professionals involved in the home buying and selling process. Your agent should be able to connect you with a trusted lender who will take you through the pre-approval process so you can get to shopping for your home.
You want to be pre-approved so you know how much you can spend, so if you aren’t already – talk to your real estate agent about getting it done.
One thing to keep in mind is the differences between being pre-approved and prequalified. These two mortgage terms are night and day in their meaning. You want to be pre-approved which means the lender has verified your income, employment and run your credit. A prequalification letter in most circumstances does none of these things. Frankly, it is not worth the paper it is written on.
An exceptional seller’s agent will insist upon having a solid pre-approval letter so make sure you get one!
2. Help find you a home – including counseling on location, neighborhood, schools, etc.
House hunting is a tiring process at the best of times, requiring you to make concessions so that your dreams can match up with the reality of what is available and what you can afford. One of your Realtor’s key jobs is to help you clarify what you want most, and find you options that meet your specifications as much as possible. The best real estate agents are going to counsel you on location, neighborhood, schools and other factors.
Your agent should help you determine the best locations for you to look based on what you’re looking to achieve, including the type of neighborhood you want, school systems you want to be part of, etc.
Those buyers who look at a real estate agent as a glorified taxi cab driver are really missing out on all the benefits a good buyer’s agent should be providing. If driving you from house to house is all your real estate agent is doing, you might want to look for someone else!
A good listener is an important trait of an excellent buyer’s agent. You don’t want to get stuck with an agent like the one in this video.
Interviewing a buyer’s agent could be a smart move to ensure you don’t get stuck with a lemon. Anyone can show houses. A skilled buyer’s agent goes far beyond carting you around in their car.
3. Negotiate an offer.
One of the biggest perks of having a great buyer’s agent is their ability to negotiate the best price for your home purchase. The best negotiators know the value of what they are attempting to buy or sell, which is what makes a respected Realtor so useful.
Exceptional buyer’s agents will analyze the value of the home you are looking to purchase. They should then be advising you on what your initial offer should be and how to proceed accordingly when the seller responds.
He or she should know how to effectively negotiate to get you the best possible price on the home of your dreams. Ultimately you are beholden to the market, but that doesn’t mean a good negotiator can’t tip the scales in your favor.
The agent should have in-depth knowledge of the factors that affect the value of a home. After all, this will be the basis for what you will pay for the house.
4. Help with picking a home inspector.
Just like real estate agents, some inspectors are better than others. Your Realtor should know the best home inspectors in the area and help you choose one that you can depend on to give you the low down on the true state of any home you are interested in buying.
Don’t have a buyers agent yet? Here is a great guide on how to pick a home inspector. Use this advice to make the best choice possible.
Your Realtor can also advise you on any additional inspections that may apply to the home you are looking at, including radon, mold, water, lead paint, etc. These are all potential stumbling blocks that could cause issues in your sale. They are important enough, however, that you will want to be sure there are no problems.
5. Attend home inspection.
Even the best home inspectors can miss things, and even the most knowledgeable inspectors can fail to accurately convey the information they find to you as a buyer. Your buyer’s agent should be at the home inspection to hear exactly what the home inspector finds.
When the home inspection is over and you are given the report from the inspector an excellent agent will counsel you on what should be brought to the sellers attention.
If your agent is not in attendance it is awfully hard to understand what the issues are and then negotiate them. Make sure you find out up-front if your agent will be at the inspection. If they say it is not their “policy” to go, insist they be there. Unfortunately, in this business, there are a lot of lazy agents that will try to get away with doing as little as possible.
There have been plenty of times over my career representing Metrowest home sellers where the buyer’s agent is not in attendance. It absolutely blows me away – especially when it comes time to negotiate and the agent doesn’t REALLY know what the issues are!
6. Negotiate any home inspection repair requests.
The information you get from the home inspection can provide you with leverage in negotiations. You can request repairs based on the information from the home inspection, and you can sometimes get price, or other concessions based on the problems found in the inspection. Your Realtor is best qualified to negotiate for these things because he or she is most knowledgeable about how each issue affects the value of the home.
The agent again will be your “negotiator” to make sure any serious problems are dealt with by the seller. This could be in the form of a price reduction, a repair or a seller’s concession at closing. One of the roles of a buyer’s agent is to also let you know when you are asking for unreasonable home inspection requests. There is always a give and take when it comes to home inspections. Buyers need to remember the purpose of a home inspection is not to make a perfect home. Nearly every home has issues large and small.
Skilled buyer’s agents will direct you what to keep your focus on and what to let go.
Your Realtor can also verify that there are no permitting issues with the home. Sometimes homeowners make changes to the home without getting the proper permits, which can present major problems to you as a buyer. You want to know about any of these hurdles before you buy.
7. Communicate with seller’s agent and buyer’s attorney throughout the sale.
Everyone needs to be on the same page for a home purchase to go smoothly. Your real estate agent will be responsible for keeping everyone informed, including the seller’s agent and your attorney.
The agent is best qualified for this duty because he or she knows how to measure the importance of information, and knows who needs what and when to keep the ball rolling.
There are some real estate agents who are lousy communicators. There can be lots of reasons for this from being a part-time agent to just not realizing how important it is to people. Whatever the reason some agents “just don’t get it”!
8. Monitor your loan commitment.
Excellent buyer’s agents are always staying on top of things including monitoring the buyer’s mortgage commitment. Smart agents also make sure buyers understand they need to maintain their current credit status. Mortgage mistakes can be quite common, especially among first-time home buyers.
The pre-approval you got for your home purchase is a fragile thing, based off of the information given to the lender at the time of the pre-approval request. Any changes to your financial situation could make it impossible to get the loan or reduce the amount of the loan available to you.
Your real estate agent should monitor the status of your loan and advise you on how to protect your approval. He or she will make sure that you understand not to make any large purchases or take out any loans, like buying a car, before you close on the home.
9. Finalize all loose ends for the closing.
You only need to make it through the closing to finally get your home. But there are a surprising number of details involved in a closing, all of which need to be wrapped up before you officially become the owner of the home. Failing to take care of everything could cause the closing to fall through.
Your agent will finalize all the loose ends so that the closing goes through without a hitch, and will be there alongside you at the closing so you have support and advice should you need it.
As a buyer, you should have high expectations from your buyer’s agent. You are making a huge purchase that could quite possibly the biggest of your life. Make sure you hire an agent you will like enough to consider a friend when all is said and done. On the other side of the coin make sure you are a buyer that a real estate agent enjoys working with. A great relationship is a give and take! Don’t make any of the mistakes that real estate agents hate about buyers and you will be on the right track!
Additional Useful Home Buying Articles
- Great guide to understanding credit scores when buying a home via Kevin Vitali.
Use these additional helpful real estate resources to make sound decisions when purchasing a home.
About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the nine things a real estate agent should do for home buyers was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 30+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.