If you’re thinking about buying a home in the coming months, keep reading or watch the video below! There are very important things that every buyer should know. You should definitely learn about the home buying process and how to get pre-approved, but also about a less talked about aspect… why you NEED a buyer’s agent! I’ve found through the years that many people do not understand the importance of having a buyer’s agent or all the benefits you can reap from having one.
1. Don't call the number on the yard signs
The first thing I want to talk about is why you should never call the sign out of somebody's yard to schedule a showing. I'm probably going to make some real estate agents mad by sharing this with you, but you don't want to do that because that agent is hired by the seller. Therefore, they already have a relationship with the seller which could affect your negotiation. You inevitably lose some competitive edge by letting that agent work both sides of the transaction. Instead, you could have your own agent who's sole concern is what you need and what you want. They're more likely to take the time to get to know you better as well. I have a lot of friends in Toledo who have done this and they’ve told me, “I didn’t think you could help me because you didn’t have the house listed.”. This breaks my heart, not only because I couldn’t help them, but because you’re better off not working with the listing agent most of the time.
2. We're free
The second point a lot of people don’t realize is that a buyer’s agent is free to the buyer in Northwest Ohio. The seller pays both agents, so there is no benefit to not having a buyer's agent. There are a lot of nuances in the business and you should have your own representation to help you through this. We can tell you what is normal, what isn’t, and what kind of timeframe you can expect for everything. You can count on us to set your expectations, so you know what’s going to happen and when. We’ll also make sure you’re not going to get taken advantage of.
3. Not all search tools are created equal
Now let’s talk about some of the services that you get with a buyer’s agent (for free, of course). Real estate agents know the in’s and out’s of searching for a home. For example, some websites are better than others. Back in the day, real estate agents were great for finding houses because we didn't have the internet. Now a lot of my buyers are going to find houses that they want to see before I do. I still bring a lot more to the table than just searching for a home. As a realtor, I've learned there are certain websites that are better and more accurate than others...I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Zillow. We can educate you on these types of nuances! The other thing we can do is set you up on e-mail alerts. Instead of going on Zillow or Trulia every single day and searching, searching, searching, day in and day out, you'll get emails as soon as something comes up. It's a lot less hassle and you don't have to worry that you’re missing anything. These alerts are instantaneous, so you can get it right away and as soon as it’s listed, you can be the first one in.
4. We don't mind being your personal scheduler
The next thing that we’re going to do is schedule all your showings for you. Let’s imagine you're not working with a real estate agent and you’re calling signs in yards when you want to see houses. If you want to look at five houses, you call the number on the signs and all five of those houses have different real estate agents. Now you’ve got to set up five different showing times. Instead of this, you could meet up with the same agent every time who can can get used to what you’re looking for. They can also tell you what you may not want to look at or what you probably should look at that maybe you haven’t noticed. Why not let us set the showings up for you and we can knock them all out in one afternoon? You have to agree, it’s a lot easier than calling five different people, setting up five different times and probably on different days in different parts of town. This in itself is like having a personal chauffeur in a way.
5. We have "red flag" radar
Now let’s say we're walking through houses together. A buyer’s agent is going to be able to see and notice red flags that maybe you're not seeing. This could be some patch jobs in the ceiling from a leak in the roof or a crack in the mortar of the foundation. Those could be huge repairs. Why waste your time writing an offer on a house when you could have noticed these things the first time you walked through? Every real estate agent has a horror story of something we could have noticed before we wrote the offer and now we’re in the inspection period and the deal is going to fall through because a repair is going to cost $10,000, $20,000 or even $30,000. An experienced buyer’s agent can look out for red flags and let you know what we’re noticing the first time we walk through. If you still love the home, we can recommend you to the right type of inspector to make sure everything is okay and it’s not going to be a huge bill for you down the road.
6. We know the legal mumble jumble (yes, that's my technical term for this)
Once we’ve found the right house for you, we’ll write an offer. The next biggest perk about having a real estate agent is that we handle filling out all the contracts. In Toledo, the contracts are written to safeguard the buyer in a lot of aspects, so it’s not as scary as you think it is. It’s beneficial to have somebody that you trust in your corner to walk you through it step-by-step. We can read every single word if you want to and we can talk about everything. While we’re writing the offer, we’re going to decide what kind of offer makes sense. At this point, we should be pulling comparable properties that have sold in the neighborhood and seeing what they sold for. It’s almost like you’re a lawyer and you’re building a case for why you’re making the offer that you are.
7. We can get you heard
This brings us to the next step and this is a huge thing that a real estate agent can do for you. We will present the offer to listing agent or seller. This is the part where your realtor justifies the offer to the listing agent or seller based on comparable sales in the area and unique aspects of the home. For example, I could say something like “We are offering $100,000 based on comparables x, y and z and the fact that this yard is smaller and the roof is older.”. You want to have a real estate agent that can speak well and get your voice heard about why you offered what you did. This is especially true in this market. It’s still a seller's market so there are a lot of multiple-offer situations. It is highly valuable to have someone in your corner that can explain your situation, listen to the seller’s situation and figure out how these two perspectives can become one. You don’t want an agent that is just going to email the offer and say, “Okay hopefully we get it, fingers crossed!”. You want somebody that will say, “Okay, I talked to the seller and this is their situation. If we do this, they'll be happy and you can still have what you want.”
7. We have connections and will keep you on track
Now that we’ve got the offer accepted, we will walk you through the inspection, the appraisal, and the loan process. Everything has a deadline, so we will keep track of what kind of timeline you need to be on. The inspection and appraisal have to happen by a certain time in order to get to closing on time. Along the way, we can recommend you to reputable inspectors and contractors in Northwest Ohio, if necessary. This is so helpful and takes a lot of worry out of it for you and puts it on us.
8. We have the answers you need
The last thing that I want to say is make sure that you are working with an agent that you know, like and trust. You’re going to want somebody who is responsive and who is concerned about what’s important to you in a home. Work with an agent that’s listening to what you want in order to make sure that you are making the right decision. Tell your agent if you want to be in walking distance to restaurants or if you want to be in a certain school district. It’s also important to find someone who is available. Some agents are super busy which is great, but you want somebody who can answer their phone for you when you're worried about something or have a question that you want answered right away because you're second guessing your decision. You need an agent that’s going to pick up the phone and reassure you. Ask me all the questions and I’ll talk to you all day long because you’re probably spending $100,000 or more and when are you ever going to do that again? I want you to feel comfortable and you shouldn’t have any lingering questions that you’re scared to ask. This is a big deal. I do this everyday, so I'm a lot more comfortable with it, but you have probably never done this or you haven't done it in 5-10+ years, so it’s okay to ask questions. When choosing a realtor, pay attention. Are they attentive? Do they care about what you want? Do they care about where you’re going to raise your kids? Are they a nice person? This is so crazy, but on more than one occasion an agent has told me, “Your offer wasn't the highest, but you seem like a much easier person to work with, so we're going with your offer.”. I know, this is crazy! You would think the seller wants the most money, but in reality if it comes down to the difference of a few thousand dollars, they'll pick the easier person to work with just to get the deal done. Pick a nice person, but somebody that will also get the job done and is attentive!
There are a bajillion other things that I could say on this topic, but those are the main benefits to a buyer’s agent.
If you or someone you know are walking through random open houses and skimming Zillow every single day, let me know if you want help. I'll be here for you and I'd love to work with you. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have somebody in your corner that has done this before and does it every day.
In the meantime, click here for a free buyer’s guide. If you have any questions or you want to get started today, please contact me anytime.
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