Details With Buyer & Seller

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642


1. When a buyer wants to see homes one of things I do is view the comparable sales for each and every home. I then write down the range on the bottom of the MLS printout. Say 240-260k. If the house is listed for 315k, then I know it's overpriced and will discuss the possibility of just skipping over it. Doing this prevents me from showing a property that likely will not appraise. No need for a buyer to fall in love with a home they cannot buy. Negotiating 30% is far fetched.

2. One of the things I do when my buyer is ready to make an offer is to pull the tax records to see if all taxes are current. There have been situations where the seller owed 15k in taxes and the listing agent didn't even know it!! Obviously this could cause a problem with a timely closing. So now I check those tax records prior to submitting an offer. Nothing worse then a seller and listing agent who are not on the same page financially.

3. I recently decided to start "opening title" as soon as I list a weird listing. This is one where the seller is the executrix, recently divorced, in a trust or some other situation that might cause the title company to need things like affidavits, wills, pages of the trust or even a divorce decree. These items can take time, especially if you're hunting down an ex-wife by using only her social. Get on the ball BEFORE you get an executed contract!

4. When representing a seller I find it important to suggest a presale home inspection for older homes, especially if the seller is wincing about electrical work, plumbing or maybe the roof. The home inspection is cheap in comparison to a buyer asking for thousands and thousands of dollars because they were SPOOKED by their inspector. First time buyers have a "belief" when buying. Once that "belief" has been created and mixed with fear, you'll find yourself negotiate very high $ amounts.

5. When a seller brags about "the brand new roof" I ALWAYS suggest that my home inspector inspect it. Home inspectors speak a different language than roofers, and that language is then translated to buyers. It's important because many roofers will NOT install the roof 100% to "happy inspector" specs. This inspection allows the sellerr to enforce their warranty NOW and not delay a closing when under contract with a buyer.

6. Now you have to be really pro active when helping buyers buy townhomes. They have to be FHA approved. It's CRITICAL to ensure the TH your buyer is interested in IS IN FACT FHA approved. Sadly, too many listing agents will say... "oh yeah, it is." When in fact it isn't. You can check online prior to showing the property! Don't lead your buyer down the primrose path.

7. When a seller has completed foundation work it's important to ensure that the SELLER pay for the expensive transfer fee. Often this "fee" isn't discussed until AFTER closing. If you're a good buyer's agent you'll approach this with your initial offer. Most transfer fees for the lifetime transferable warranty can cost upwards of $500.00.


8. Speaking about foundations... be sure to check for plumbing issues! If you have low water pressure it could mean that some pipes were pinched, cracked or completely severed when the foundation shifted. You can get the pipes hydrostaticly checked during the option period to ensure you buyer isn't buying a home with leaks.


9. Many listing agents demand a "proof of funds" for cash offers. NEVER has a listing agent demanded proof of funds for 20, 30 or 40% down. I wonder why? I do. 30% down on a $300,000 home is $90,000.00. That's a lot of money. As a LA I need to ensure that the money is LIQUID and readily available for a timely closing. Make sure you get a bank statement, one that looks authentic. You can request a bank stamp if you really want to be exact and extra cautions. If a buyer refuses then you know it's a RED FLAG!


Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Randy, yes.. for some reason it is. We do have fault lines, none of which are active. Our soil, the moisture, and being barely above sea level in some areas may have something to do with it. Many of the homes built almost always experience some sort of bending, twisting and fracture of some kind during its useful life. WOW, If I'm not careful I might start sounding like I know what I'm talking about. LOL.

Mar 14, 2010 06:46 PM #3
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Maria - thank you!

Mar 14, 2010 06:49 PM #4
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192 | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

On #1 I would say to show the home, and if there's an interest talk to the LA about their pricing.  Who knows?  I just had a LA tell me today, "My clients have some flexibility in the price."  Which, as you know, is our 'code' for "You can bring in an offer less than list."  Maybe the  sellers have equity and a stupid LA who just bought the listing.  I'd say, show it then negotiate the price down. 

Mar 14, 2010 07:11 PM #5
Betsy Schuman Dodek
Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate - Potomac, MD

I agree with Carla - I don't let list price discourage the buyers. I call la first to make sure the seller is flexible and actually wants to sell vs. stuck in pricing from 3 years ago and has priced himself out of the market!!!

Mar 14, 2010 11:16 PM #6
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Hi Greg that's a list of steps that a pro-active agent should use to keep their business moving along smoothly. Thanks for sharing

Mar 15, 2010 12:31 AM #8
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


It's an excellent list!

I don't know weather to limit myself to singing praises about #2, taxes or after such due diligence wonder why you limited your self.


When you're checking taxes why not check all the public records on the property and sellers? Those pass due taxes indicate a need to sell, NOD's an urgent need! Liens and judgments indicate both a need to sell and a warning to watch the seller! Recent building permits indicate builder"s and suppliers could still file merchant's liens! Then there's bankruptcy! An open BK says opportunity and possible delays, at the very least the court will have to approve your offer!

Amen to # 5! So often a "new roof" means new shingles over several layers of old ones!

Knowledge is power!


Mar 15, 2010 01:07 AM #9
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate

Hi Greg, I'm impressed.  You're very smart and this list shows that you are an experienced agent.  Have a great week.

Mar 15, 2010 02:42 AM #10
Christopher Watters
Watters International Realty - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor (512-829-8000)

Greg: As carla mentioned in a comment above I would show the home as well.  I've worked with sellers where we priced the home a little bit higher, received multiple offers at full price or above, and then it appraised less than the sales price that was agreed upon. This has happened several times to me over the past 2 years. From my experience the buyer will either bring more cash to the table or we dispute the appraisal. Sometimes the seller is receptive and will reduce the price to make the transaction go through. I think if the property is over valued by 30% however, like you mentioned, then you could have some serious issues. I think 10% is max. In Houston, if it's anything like Austin, I can't imagine a home priced more than 10% over market value, and the listing getting any activity whatsoever. Great list Greg!

Mar 15, 2010 04:05 AM #11
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Greg, #1 is something I think I want to copy for my listing presentations. Some Sellers won't lower the price, "But we'll negotiate..."

Mar 15, 2010 04:11 AM #12
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Greg, #1 is something I think I want to copy for my listing presentations. Some Sellers won't lower the price, "But we'll negotiate..."

Mar 15, 2010 04:13 AM #13
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

You make some great points here Greg. I especially liked the last one about "proof of funds".

I've not had any issues regarding downpayments, but it's a good idea to make sure before locking a house up in a contract.

Mar 15, 2010 06:01 AM #14
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Greg - While in your market, buyers with large down payments are not being asked for proof of funds, here in Los Angeles & Ventura counties, my financed buyers are constantly asked for proof of funds to close (some with very large down payments).  This is why it is so vital that LO's conduct thorough pre-approvals prior to a buyer looking at anything because we can provide that proof of funds to close.

Mar 15, 2010 06:51 AM #15
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Greg, I think this is a great list for all agents to follow. Each locale may have idiosyncracies which require more than the normal due diligence for both parties. I'm glad you're on the pre-inspection bandwagon...maybe now it will really gain some traction.

Mar 15, 2010 09:28 AM #16
Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA

Good list, Greg.  I too ask for proof of funds, and the buyer's agent usually gets a bit bent because of it.  Oh well.  Also, I have started to order HOA docs as soon as I get a listing that is managed by a home owner's association.  Some management companies won't even start the document process until your check clears the bank, then they allow themselves 10 days to get them to you.  Pretty tough going when the REO bank demands a 15 day escrow for cash buyers.

Mar 15, 2010 09:56 AM #17
Melissa Anderson
Mortgage of Texas & Financial - San Antonio, TX

Greg- Your giving away all your secrets on AR.

Excellent post.  Sounds like you have it all together.


Mar 15, 2010 03:04 PM #18
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Greg, I always learn something from reading your posts. #1 shows that you do some actual research into a home prior to showing, which is a great service to your clients. Many agents just schedule and show without giving much thought to it. Your thoroughness really shows that you are a top notch agent and your clients are in very good hands.

Mar 16, 2010 12:11 AM #19
Chris Grus
Premier Realty Exclusive - Saint Louis, MO

Great Post!  It sounds like a lot of extra work, but after thinking about it, many of the showings I do, I have the "comps" in my head if they are near my typical showing areas.  It does help to know how something is priced.



Mar 16, 2010 07:39 AM #20
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Very good tips, Greg! I have been in a couple of those situations before. Thanks for your post--I have flagged it for a feature.



Mar 16, 2010 10:38 AM #21
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Thanks Robin!

Chris - Good for you. Houston's pretty spread out and we're showing in different neighborhoods constatnly. Many times in communities we've never heard of!

Dan & Amy - thanks for saying so!

Melissa - I know, I know! But hey, good carma, right? ;)

Cynthia - really? Wow, that's very interesting.

William - well said! I love getting pre home sales inspections. It's critical if you ask me.

Donne - yup!

Craig - unfortunately for one of my sellers we had an offer with 20% down that wasn't LIQUID cash! He backed out when learned of the $ he'd have to spend to get to that cash. Insane! I couldn't believe the buyer's agent was so oblivious to the situation that developed.

Frank & Sharon - yeah, overlisting means you can get skipped over a lot by buyers and their agents! Now I never skip over anything without discussing with my buyers FIRST. ;) Just wanted to be fully disclosed. lol.


Mar 16, 2010 12:24 PM #22
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Dang, companies in your area are charging $500 to transfer the warranty? The most I've ever seen is $100, and most have free transfers if it's done just prior to a sale.

Mar 16, 2010 12:59 PM #23
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
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