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!