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My Sunday was spent walking in the shoes of a home buyer. Actually, in the shoes of a home buyer's mom - but that's close enough to have some thoughts about the experience from a buyer's perspective.
I began the day with every intention of being seen and not heard. After all, I was just along for the ride because my daughter Susan has bought and sold a previous home and she is also a licensed agent in Maryland.
Susan wants to purchase a turnkey townhome or condo in Northern Virginia, and she had narrowed down the results of her online home search to 5 communities throughout the area. She forwarded her favorite home in each community to the agent earlier in the week, and she looked forward to seeing them.
Property #1: Imagine our surprise when the first home was a short sale that was a dump, not the beautiful bright sunny unit Susan was interested in seeing The agent had actually scheduled appointments for us to see 5 homes in that one community, including this short sale that she thought might be a "great opportunity" - I was unable to remain quiet and couldn't resist saying that Susan was looking for a great home, not a great opportunity.
Property #2: The property had a combo lockbox, and the agent was not prepared Never mind that the MLS remarks said combo lockbox. As she called the listing agent and office for the combo, it was obvious she never made an appointment to show this property. Was she embarrassed? She should be. But I bit my lips and didn't say a word.
Property #3: By this time, it was apparent the agent did not have copies of the printouts for her buyer, and she was unable to answer questions about monthly payment, condo fee, commute etc. Unwilling to continue any effort to "be seen and not heard," I brought my iPad into the third property so I could quickly address the questions my daughter's agent's was not prepared to answer.
Did I say my daughter wanted to see homes in FIVE communities? Why yes, but mercifully, the agent didn't bother with the other two. We probably would not have survived the experience with sanity intact.
Susan has been the daughter of a licensed agent her entire life, worked as a part-time receptionist in a real estate office for 2 years during high school, and been licensed in Maryland for almost 2 years (although her license is in referrals and she has another career). She had an excellent experience buying and selling a home in Texas, so she knew what to expect. We agree that her expectations are probably no different from those of any home buyer:
A Buyer's Agent should, above all else:
1. Listen to and respect the clients wants and needs.
2. Make appointments and obtain showing instructions in advance.
3. Be prepared to answer general and specific questions about scheduled properties and communities.
This showing appointment reminded me of some other basics, too, such as drive a clean car... provide copies of printouts to the client... provide a few basic glossy slick brochures (your company, a personal brochure, a fair housing brochure, etc.)... pre-enter property addresses into the GPS, and learn how to use an iPad for showings so you can instantly calculate payments or estimate commuting time.
My day in a home buyer's shoes proved that all agents are NOT alike. Unfortunately, some of them need to go back to basic training, learn how to use an iPad, or maybe even get out of the business. Needless to say, my daughter had a new agent by the next day, and I expect her home buying experience this weekend will be much better.
Copyright 2006-13. Margaret Woda. All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
Margaret Woda, REALTOR & Associate Broker Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., 2191 Defense Hwy., Crofton, MD 21114 Direct: (410) 451-6245 or click on EMAIL
Real Estate and community information for home buyers and sellers, military transferees, and rookie agents in the greater Crofton area, including Bowie, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.