Working with an Agent
Buyers who have been in the market frequently understand that REALTORS® share a common pool of inventory of properties. Given that a buyer, working with a REALTOR®, has access to all so-called “exclusive” listings through a single agent, what then are factors which distinguish agents?
MARKET KNOWLEDGE - A buyer expects to be able to rely on his or her agent as a market resource. Informed agents know their community and its housing stock. It is important, early on in the relationship between buyer and agent, that the buyer be satisfied with the “market smarts” and the approach of their agent.
UNDERSTANDING YOU THE BUYER - One of the most often heard complaints from buyers is “my broker just is not hearing what I am saying”. Good brokers are invariably good listeners. When buyers are straight forward and have a reasonable vision of what they are seeking to achieve in a home purchase, there is no justification for a broker trying to match customers to inappropriate properties. To help your agent better understand your needs, it is sometimes very useful to put in writing your wish list, your financial capability, your timetable for making a purchase, and a list of properties you may have already seen (with some critical comments on each). Once your broker develops a sense of what you are seeking, he or she will be monitoring, on a daily basis, new listings coming on the market and advising you if any appear to be a good fit for you.
TIME COMMITMENT - In addition to giving his or her expertise, a broker gives time. When selecting a broker it is common sense to deal with one who is fully committed to serving his or her clientele. Staying on top of an active market means tracking daily sales, following price reductions, new listings, etc. on a 7 days-a-week basis. Working with an agent who works less than full-time is usually not to a buyer’s advantage.
MANAGING THE BUYING PROCESS - In the last ten years the process of purchasing property has become much more involved. For the most part, these changes have been beneficial to both buyers and sellers. Today, it is the norm for buyers to purchase property with a series of contingencies that often involve provisions for structural inspections, condo-by-laws review, hazardous waste material issues, lead paint, et cetera. An experienced broker goes beyond the initial negotiating dynamics and document execution to thoroughly follow through on the post-offer contingencies.
AGENCY DISCLOSURE: By Massachusetts State regulation, agents are required to disclose the parties that they are representing. All agents are obligated to deal with both buyers and sellers fairly and honestly. Seller's agents are expected to negotiate the best price and terms for their client, the seller: Buyer’s agents represent the buyer. Dual agency can occur when the listing agent works directly with a buyer.
WHAT AGENTS LIKE TO SEE IN A BUYER - Being direct and up front with your agent allows him or her to better understand your circumstances. If you are not completely certain of your preferences or your timetable, tell this to your agent. If, for instance, there is no way you would find a condo without an acceptable view, let this requirement be known to your agent early on. The more definitive you are in detailing what you would like, the better. In return, expect and ask your agent to present facts and opinions forthrightly. If for instance, there is no way the buyers’ budget will meet their wish list, the buyers need to know where reality lies.
IT IS YOUR CHOICE - There are many excellent agents in the Boston area. It is your choice to select one who best meets your needs.