Hiring a real estate agent involves entering into a relationship. While Realtors are eager to get new clients and buyers are anxious to find the house of their dreams, there can still be serious problems in such relationships.
This is especially true when one party has unreasonable expectations.
When it comes to the relationship between buyers and Realtors, the real estate agent has a pretty good idea of what they can offer.
But for buyers, this may be the first time they have ever worked with an agent before. Because of this, sometimes these buyers can do things that frustrate real estate agents.
Fortunately, most of these can be avoided, as long as you know about them beforehand and you understand at least a little of how the buying process works.
Things Realtors Wish Buyers Wouldn’t Do
- Call listing agents on your own – This is a free country, and you have the option of doing a lot of stuff on your own, even if you shouldn’t. There is a reason you hired a buyers agent. This person has the skills and expertise you need to get you what you want. Why not use them? If you don’t trust your agent to do a good job, you should probably hire another Realtor instead. And if you are happy with the one you have, tell him or her when you are interested in a property and let him or her do the calling for you.
- Ask the listing agent to show you a home when you have a buyers agent – If you have a buyers agent use them! Don’t call the listing agent to show you properties because your Realtor isn’t around. Showing a home to someone who is not a client is not the listing agent’s job. If your buyer’s agent can never accommodate your schedule, it’s time to find another agent. If your agent is going away for the weekend and you want to see a home that just came on the market, talk to your agent about having another Realtor from their office fill in for them.
- Ask Realtors to show properties without being pre-approved – Real estate agents are busy people. It takes a lot of phone calls and a lot of miles to do what they do. This is why they want to know that the time they spend with you is worth it. If you are not pre-approved for a home loan, what incentive does the real estate agent have to show you homes? It may take hours to view a single house, hours that could be spent on clients that can buy a home. A real estate agent doesn’t want to waste their time showing a bunch of homes to you at a price point that you are not qualified for. Before asking to see home make sure you get a pre-approval letter.
- Request to look at homes outside of your price point – If you are only approved for the purchase of a $400,000 home, what is the purpose of looking at a home that is listed at $500,000? No one is ever going to negotiate down on their price that far. Again, you are asking the agent to do things that serve no purpose for him or her and only serves to satisfy your curiosity. Look at properties that make sense based on your budget, not fantasy land.
- Not respecting our time by calling last minute – If you are working with a professional, they will want to be treated as such. Not respecting another persons time isn’t fair. Real Estate agents have schedules, lives, and family just like everyone else. Don’t expect an agent to drop everything they are doing on a whim because you want to look at a home in an hour. Treat your agent like a professional, and you should get the same respect back from them. Deciding the world revolves around you will not help your cause in the long run.
- Look at a home five times and don’t make an offer – If you are going to drag a Realtor to the same house five times, including bringing your favorite aunt Mildred, having a contractor to get a quote on re-finishing the hardwood floors, and the local Feng Shui expert along to say everything is swell, you better make sure you are going to make an offer!
- Not doing any research on where you want to live – If you are going to be looking at homes, you at least should have a general understanding of where you want to live. Asking a real estate agent to show you a bunch of houses in a town that you really wouldn’t consider living in just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Do some research on the communities and your commute first before asking an agent to show you homes.
- Making unjustified low ball offers – Before you make an offer on the home, your agent will do a considerable amount of research to determine what that offer should be. Part of this process will be looking at comparable sales – the prices of other homes sold recently that had similar characteristics. This is information he or she can show to you so you understand why the offer should be what it is. Some buyers will still insist on making low ball offers, which are both insulting and a waste of time. Writing an insulting offer is the quickest way to get a seller pissed off to the point they will want to have nothing to do with you. If you love the home, you are making an offer on you best be sure that your offer is not insulting. There is a way of testing the waters without making an offer so little you come across as a fool. There is a fine line – make sure you don’t cross it!
- Making an offer contingent on selling your current home – Sellers are not going to accept an offer with a home sale contingency 99% of the time. This is something your agent will explain to you as soon as you mention the idea. Sellers naturally prefer to sell to someone ready to buy, not someone that will only buy if their home sells. As much as we explain this, some people just won’t listen. They have to learn the hard way because they feel they know more than we do as agents. An offer contingent on selling another home is real estate fools gold. It’s like not having a real offer. So if you are serious about buying a home and need to sell yours first, get it on the market!
- Negotiating home inspection items that were visible pre-inspection – If the deck on the house is sagging or there is a leak in the basement that you can see, your agent will craft your offer around this fact. You both saw the problem, and you made an offer anyway. Some buyers will try to negotiate on those same issues after the home inspection is finished. Some will even do this if the problem was pointed out in a sellers disclosure. People do negotiate after a home inspection. If the home inspector finds a mold infestation or termite damage or anything else that neither you nor your agent was aware of when you made the offer, then negotiation is expected. But do not try to negotiate on things that were readily apparent before you made your offer. It just makes you and your agent look bad and has very little chance of succeeding.
- Expecting the home to be perfect after the inspection – some buyers will ask the seller to fix ridiculous things after the home inspection because they want to move into a house that seems brand new. If the home was built in 1980, it’s not going to feel brand new. And the seller cannot be expected to make it that way, especially after you have already made an offer. There will be minor problems with most older homes. Heck, there are even homes that are only a few years old that won’t be perfect – very few homes are. Just be aware of this. It’s important to understand what’s important to negotiate after a home inspection. Bringing a punch list of minutia to the listing agent after a home inspection is not going to be looked at favorably. Understand what is reasonable and what isn’t. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you on this.
- Work with a buyers agent for months and then buy with someone else at an open house – real estate agents work on commission. They do not get paid a dime unless they make a sale. Do you think it’s fair to have a Realtor tote you around for months showing property, only for you to decide one day to walk through an open house and buy from the listing agent? This is about as despicable as it gets. Your agent probably has shown you homes at all times including nights and weekends giving up time away from family and friends. This is the way you repay them? Don’t do it! This probably tops the charts of things buyers do that real estate agents hate.
- Work with more than one agent – As mentioned above real estate agents don’t get paid unless they make a sale. You should not be working with multiple agents at the same time in the same area. While you may think this is super convenient for you, it is not fair to either of the other parties involved. If this is something you plan on doing it should be discussed up front with both agents. Let them decide if they are comfortable with such an arrangement. The only time this is to be considered kosher is when you are looking in two different areas and have not decided on one yet.
Be a Reasonable Buyer
Buyers agents love to help people find homes. They like to help them get a good deal. But like anyone else, they prefer to work with people that have reasonable expectations.
No one can honestly expect an old home to be perfect, and no established professional can be expected to work for free. This is still a business, and the best deals are made between reasonable people.
Work with your agent so you have the right expectations about your home shopping experience and do your part of buying the best house you can for the price.
If you are not serious about the purchase of a home, don’t be the “lookie lou” that every real estate agent hates to deal with. Treat your Realtor like you would want to be treated. When you establish a great relationship with an agent, you will be paid back in kind!