House hunting is a wonderful experience. Beautiful properties listed online are all too tempting to pass up these days. However, things can go haywire when you are clueless on the ins and outs of the real estate business. If it is your first time in buying a house, enlisting the assistance of a buyer’s agent would be a sensible move.
It can get quite confusing and tiring when you do not have someone who has more experience and knowledge on property acquisition by your side. Excitement can get the better of you, so have a buyer’s agent with you every step of the way to ensure a smooth search and successful purchase.
Where to Find a Buyer’s Agent?
The best way to find a good real estate agent is to ask friends and relatives for referrals. You can go online to search for a buyer’s agent located in the area you are eyeing.
There are also websites that offer buyer’s agent services such as the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Association of Australia (REBAA). You can also consider websites that are affiliated with Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA). There are affiliates in every city state.
Another option is to go to Open Houses to have the opportunity to meet and interact with buyer’s agents. Ask for the contact details of the person who left you with a good impression. Set an interview with your prospects and choose the one who you are most comfortable with.
What Should be Your Expectations from a Buyer’s Agent?
You need to set clear cut expectations in order to foster good working relations with your agent. Present your list of expectations and ask your agent to let you know his or hers as well. This way, both parties will be able to come to an agreement and proceed to house hunting on good terms.
Here are the areas that you should keep tabs on.
It is important that you partner with an honest agent. The agent must never hold back on any information necessary for your decision making. Keep in mind that the agent represents you and not the seller.
Your agent is expected to answer all your queries truthfully. Be wary of contradicting statements, lame excuses and unethical moves. These are valid grounds to terminate his service.
Also, a good buyer’s agent is expected to be upfront with suggestions and opinions because he only has your best interests in mind. However, do not take it against the agent when opinions raised are not in sync with yours.
2. Scope of Work
It is standard practice for a buyer’s agent to present you with a detailed scope of work. Review it carefully and feel free to suggest changes before signing an agreement with him. Check this list often to make sure that your Agent is not negligent on his obligations.
3. Clear Understanding of What you Want
You should expect that your agent gets a crystal clear picture of the kind of house you intend to buy. This will narrow down the agent’s search based on your specific requirements. You will only go in circles if the agent can’t fully comprehend what it is you are looking for.
Another area you should touch on is the working arrangement itself. Do you want the buyer’s agent to arrange transportation when visiting prospective homes? Do you want the agent to bring his or her people to inspect the homes or would you prefer to bring your own contacts?
Don’t assume everything is clear-cut when working with a buyer’s agent. They can always adjust their schedule to accommodate yours.
Your agent should keep you in the loop. Establish your preferred methods of communication and frequency of updates early on. He or she must inform you of the following:
- Appointments made with sellers.
- New property listings.
- Progress report.
- Feedback from sellers after site visit.
Also, your agent must be easy to get in touch with and reply promptly to your messages or email.
5. Knowledge of the area where you want to buy a house
You want the best house your money can buy, so your Agent must have ample knowledge about the area you are eyeing.
Does the location have establishments that suit your needs? Is it located near a grocery, school, gym or church? How is the neighborhood? How is the peace and order situation? Is the area accessible via public transportation?
You should also know of current legislation on buying real estate in the city state you are interested in. Rules and regulations differ from one city to the next.
If you plan to purchase a house in a village, there are association rules that your agent must orient you with. Expect all pertinent details be known to you before deciding to purchase the house in your preferred location.
6. Knowledge of the property market
It is important for your Agent to be abreast with the local real estate market. This will help determine what price to offer the seller. This is an important aspect of negotiation so you should never be misinformed on this one.
7. Negotiating skills
Your buyer’s agent is expected to get you the house you want and clinch a good deal on your behalf. If your agent is lacking in this area, either you will get the short end of the stick or lose the house to another buyer. It’s time to look for a new agent when your instinct tells you that opportunities were lost due to poor negotiating skills.
Expect your Agent to observe the following professional courtesies all the time. He should:
- Always be on time to pick you up or meet you on site.
- Be appropriately dressed.
- Follow rules of etiquette when dealing with client and seller.
- Strictly adhere to seller’s visiting rules.
- Keep his word to the client.
- Never criticize the house in the presence of the seller.
- Comply with buyer’s broker agreement.
A buyer’s agent is a valuable asset to have with you when searching for property. But not all agents are made from the same mold. Some are easier to work with than others. On the side of the buyer’s agent, they probably think the same way about clients. There are difficult ones to work with and there are those who make their job a pleasure.
These differences open up any working arrangement to potential conflict. The key to establishing a productive relationship with a buyer’s agent is to lay down each party’s expectations before moving forward.