You’ll have your initial consultation with your real estate agent, who will familiarize you with the sales process, introduce you to our service approach, and determine your needs, goals, and concerns in buying your new home. In the Guide, you’ll learn about how to prepare for that meeting, how to assemble the rest of your home buying team, and how to get started using RandRealty.com.
The most successful home buyers are people who get proactively engaged in the purchasing process. Your agent is going to be hard at work finding you the right home, but there are some things he or she simply cannot do. So throughout this process, we’re going to urge you to stay involved in your transaction, which is the best way of ensuring that you have a great service experience . The first chance to be proactive in your purchase is your initial agent consultation.
Buying a home is easier than buying a car. The transaction is more complicated, because the stakes are so much higher, but the process is actually easier.
For example, let’s say that you’re buying a four-door sedan. To find the right car, you have to go to a bunch of different dealerships, because dealers will only sell you the cars they have in their own inventory. So depending on your price range, you might have to go to a dozen different showrooms: Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Ford, Acura, lnfiniti, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo, and all the rest. And you might even have to go to multiple dealerships that sell the same brand, since one Honda dealership can’t sell you a car held by another dealer. The process can be exhausting.
On top of that, you are always at a disadvantage when navigating the car buying process, because you’re totally on your own. That car salesman in the showroom might be the nicest guy in the world, but we all know he works for the dealer. He doesn’t work for you. His job is to get his boss the best price for the car – which by definition means getting you the WORST price! And that salesman has huge informational advantages over you. He knows what other similar cars have sold for recently. You don’t. He knows the ins and outs of that car, and how it compares to other cars. You don’t. Even if you do all your research, you’ll never equal his product and market knowledge. It’s not an even playing field.
Now compare that to buying a home. Because of the way the real estate industry is structured, with an agent on both sides of the transaction, home buyers have a much better experience navigating the process of buying a home. Unlike car dealers, real estate brokers share all their inventory through a multiple listing service, allowing any member buyer agent to show and sell their properties. So you don’t need to visit dozens of different real estate brokers or agents in order to see the whole inventory – you just need one good agent. Regardless of who listed that property, any agent who is a member of the local MLS can show you that property.
More importantly, when you buy a home, you have the opportunity to hire an agent to represent your interests. It’s not like being at the car dealership where everyone works for the seller. Your agent works for YOU. She has fiduciary obligations to look out for your interests. Moreover, if she’s a professional, full-time agent, she has market and product knowledge : she knows what comparable homes have sold, what homes have NOT sold, and what’s currently available on the market. That puts you on an even playing field with the seller.
You see the difference? When you buy a car, you’re on your own, and you’re always going to be at a disadvantage working with a salesperson who has superior market and product knowledge, and who negotiates the sale of cars every day for a living. But when you buy a home, you get the advantage of hiring an agent to help you sift through the inventory, advise you about what’s going on in the market and with that particular property, and then help you negotiate your deal.
And on top of all that, your buyer agent usually comes free! In most cases, buyer agents are paid by the seller out of the proceeds of the sale. If you represent yourself, you don’t get that savings in your pocket – instead, the seller or listing agent get to keep it. So if that’s the case, why are some buyers so afraid to hire a buyer agent? For example, real estate agents get calls like these all the time: “Thank you for calling Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. How can I help you?”
- “I saw your sign on a house on Ridge Road in New City. Is it still available?”
- “Let me check. Yes, it’s still available. It ‘s got four bedrooms and three-“
- “Great! Could you take me to look at it?”
- “Well, I’d be happy to do that. Why don’t we make an appointment for you to come into my office so we can sit down for a few minutes and find out what your situation is? Then we can go take a look at that home and maybe some other similar listings that might meet your needs.”
- “That’s okay. I just want to see that house. But I don’t want to come to your office. Can we meet there?”
We see this all the time in the real estate industry – buyers who would rather meet “at the house,” who spend months visiting open houses on their own, who waste hours staring at pictures on their laptops rather than making appointments to go see houses in person. They’ll meet an agent at the house, realize it’s not right for them, then say goodbye to that agent. A week later, they’re calling another agent on another house, meeting at the property, realize it’s not right for them, and so on. Such a waste of time!
Why are so many people afraid to hire a buyer’s agent? Sometimes, potential buyers in the early stages of looking for a home are actually too considerate for their own good. They’re afraid to call upon an agent’s services and make the agent waste a lot of time helping them if they’re not really sure they’re ready to buy. And while we do appreciate the thoughtfulness, we should make clear that this is a TERRIBLE reason not to hire an agent. That’s the job! That’s what real estate agents do! They help people starting out in the buying process and guide them through that process. Do a lot of clients eventually choose not to by something? Of course! But that doesn’t mean that the time spent was “wasted.” Agents don’t think that way. You shouldn’t either.
The biggest reason, though, is that buyers are afraid of “salespeople.” They’re terrified of the “hard sell.” They fear getting a “pushy” agent who is going to pressure them into buying a home before they’re ready. We particularly see this with potential clients who are in the early stages of “just looking,” and who are afraid of agents inundating them with phone calls and emails once they express any kind of interest in buying a home. It’s like when you go into a department store and try to avoid the sales clerk because you’re really “just looking” and don’t want the clerk hovering over you for the whole time.
We can certainly understand why some buyers feel that way, because the real estate industry has a pretty well-deserved reputation for aggressive sales techniques that can sometimes make buyers feel uncomfortably pressured. But let’s also recognize a few important things:
But if you find that your agent is making you uncomfortable, just say something! Your agent works for YOU, so she should accommodate to your needs and comfort level. If the agent is a professional, she should get the message, and you won’t have to worry about working with a “pushy” agent.
Ultimately, we understand and appreciate that people are afraid of dealing with a “salesperson.” That’s why Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has pioneered the “client-oriented” approach to real estate brokerage that emphasizes our agents’ roles as service professionals rather than “salespeople,” and encourages agents to take a proactive approach to identifying and satisfying our clients’ needs – including the need NOT to be sold to.
We don’t want our real estate agents to act as “salespeople” any more than you do. So we hope that you’ll realize that having an agent is a good thing, not something to shy away from. A fear of sales pressure is a really bad reason to deny yourself the services of a good real estate agent, particularly when it is so easy to dispel that pressure and focus the agent in providing you with the services you need.
Rather, you should think about all the advantages you get with a good buyer’s agent:
First, your buyer’s agent acts as a fiduciary representative, legally bound to look out for your best interests.
If you’ve never bought a home before, or you last bought a home prior to the mid-1990s, you might not even realize that buyer agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, because buyer agency did not exist in New York until about 20 years ago. But it’s now one of the most important advantages you have in buying a home with an agent. Indeed, the fiduciary relationship with your agent is similar to the attorney-client relationship that you’re probably familiar with: among other responsibilities, your agent has the duties to be loyal only to you, keep your confidences, and make all disclosures to you of any material facts. When you get a buyer’s agent, you’re not getting a “salesperson” – you’re getting someone who is on your side, representing your interests.
Second, working with a buyer agent gives you several competitive advantages that you cannot get working on your own.
Some of those advantages, including advantages that you can only get working with a Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty agent, are:
•Access to sold property data. Even in the information age, it ‘s difficult for lay people to get full and complete access to sold information, which is crucial for helping you determine the market value of unsold listings and in preparing your offers.
•Preliminary lien searches. Because of our affiliate relationship with Hudson United Abstract, your agent can order a preliminary lien search on any property you place an offer on, which can help you in formulating your pricing strategy or identifying “red flags” on the title that might delay your transaction.
•The intermediary negotiating role. Any professional negotiator will tell you how important it can be to have someone act as an intermediary in any negotiation, to deflect persuasive pressures and allow you to limit bargaining authority from “outside the room.”
•Neighborhood Expertise. A good real estate agent knows the neighborhoods, and can provide you with information that goes beyond the four corners of the listing detail sheet, information that might be crucial for determining the true market price.
•Transactional Facilitation. A real estate agent’s job doesn’t end when you reach a meeting of the minds with a seller – rather, the agent then becomes a facilitator, coordinating all the other professionals in the transaction to make sure you have a smooth transition through to your closing.
And that’s only a short list of some of the biggest advantages you have in hiring a good buyer’s agent. Basically, good agents add value to your home buying process.
Third, a buyer agent provides a range of services that will help you have a better transactional experience.
From your first consultation to your final closing, your agent is responsible for a wide array of services that you will need to ensure a smooth home buying experience. Throughout the process, your buyer agent will stay in constant communication with you, through phone or email, to make sure you’re up-to-date with what’s happening in the market, your home search, and your transaction.
Finally, you generally do not pay for your buyer agent’s services, because the seller usually pays all the broker fees out of the proceeds of the sale.
It’s really one of the best deals in the industry: you get all the services of a buyer agent to represent your own interests, help you find the right home to buy, and facilitate the entire purchasing process, and you don’t even have to pay for it. In certain cases, sellers do not offer to pay buyer agent fees, but your agent will make that clear to you when you look at the home, so you will be able to condition your offer on the seller paying the agent out of the sale proceeds. Generally, though, you get all the benefits of buyer agency without any of the direct costs.
Ultimately , this is one of the best deals you’ll ever have. Your buyer agent will work tirelessly on your behalf, always in your best interest, and in the end it will be the seller who pays your agent for those services. Think of it this way – real estate agents have a full-time job in helping buyers through the transactional process. If they’re not around to do that job for you, then you have to do it for yourself. And you probably have your own job.