8 Home Buying Secrets Your Real Estate Agent Will (Probably) Tell You
Are there secrets to buying a home in today’s market?
But if you want to get the edge as a buyer you really don’t want secrets.
Some secrets, like problems with the home that weren’t disclosed, are definitely not something you want to find out about after closing.
This is about 8 buying secrets your real estate agent (a responsible, ethical one – probably the majority) will tell you. And just to be clear, this post is a rebuttal to the 8 points in an article by CreditSesame.com that appears on Mint.com that purports to share “home buying secrets’ your real estate agent won’t tell you.
Stuff like that always makes me wary, and you should be wary, too.
Journalists are not fundamentally writing real estate articles to help consumers. They get nothing out of these articles, as far as I know, except perhaps grabbing readership, and earning their salary or freelance fee. Based on the generalizations we often see they clearly don’t speak from the vantage point of true knowledge…after all they AREN’T helping people buy and sell real estate every day…and are simply writing to grab attention, which does more harm than good for the consumer.
The article I reference really annoyed me. So here are my thoughts – you may or may not agree, but make sure you read it.
1. Your Agent is Your Agent – what? A buyer agent won’t tell you that they are YOUR agent? That is the whole point of having a real estate professional represent you, to guide you and help you make the right decisions. We’re not buying the house, you are, and our job is to watch out for YOUR interests and help you get the best deal. You bet you will know we are working on your behalf.
2. Only Fools Fall in Love – sounds like a poorly written love song. Does anyone really think their agent is going to convince them to buy a home because they love it? Get real. Our role IS to help you acquire the home that you want, whether you love it, like it, or are simply settling for what you can afford in a competitive market. Our role IS to help you NOT make the wrong decisions because you don’t know, aren’t paying attention, or are ignoring issues you need to be aware of because you are smitten with a particular home.
3. Be Willing to Walk Away – you absolutely should be willing to step away from a house, or a negotiation, if it is not in your best interest. It’s YOUR choice. No responsible agent will encourage you to do otherwise. Our job IS to negotiate on your behalf and we need to know what you want and are willing, or not willing, to do. If anything is a secret, it’s when buyers are not honest with their agent about what they are willing and not willing to do. We can, and should, only represent what you tell us and give us permission to share. If you aren’t sure, we’ll help you sort through the issues.
4. Time is on Your Side – Really? This is a secret an agent won’t share? Hmmm. Seems to me the article misses the whole point about the reality of many markets, and that buyers need to know the truth about what’s going on. Maybe timing is in your favor in some market or price points, but in many it’s not. Are you aware there are multiple offers on most properties? That many homes are selling over asking? The issue really is…are you getting the right advice about how to approach offers and negotiations in your particular market based on buyer activity and inventory. There are no generalizations that “time is on your side” as this article implies.
5. Your Agent is Not Your Friend – well, I agree with that statement, but not the premise in the commentary. Our role is a business relationship, with the focus on your best interests…helping you buy the right home based on your decision and due diligence. No agent I know is working with a buyer because they want to be friends. But a good agent who earns the trust and respect from their clients and assists them in getting the best deal because of what they do may, and probably will, become a friend.
6. The Listing Agent Just Might be Your Best Friend – I think the author is confused about friendship and perhaps striving for an emotional response from readers by using the word. Get real. The listing agent is looking out for his or her clients’ best interests, and appropriately so. They want to get the best offer, and the best terms and conditions, for the seller. The same is true for buyer agents when we work on your behalf, except we are there to help you get the home at the best possible price, and the best terms and conditions for you, which may not be what the seller necessarily wants.
7. There is No Such Thing as an Embarrassingly Low Offer – Once again I think the writer’s “presumed” knowledge on this subject is skewed and not based on any specific experience or information about the realities of negotiating a real estate deal, at least these days. Yes, it’s true that some low offers may result in the seller countering. It depends on the market, the inventory, and who you are competing with. And an offer should be viewed as a starting point for negotiations. But “a good agent will encourage you to make strategically low offers?” That’s one heck of a generalization. Where did the writer get THAT gem. It would be pretty stupid for an agent to suggest that to a client when there are multiple offers on a property.
8. On-line Real Estate Companies Can Save You Money – well, if this isn’t a plug for RedFin I don’t know what is. Yet another generalization. The author states that on-line brokerages offer discounts and rebates on the “traditional 3% real estate commission” (hmm, where did you get THAT information?!) and are taking away the market share from bricks-and-mortar real estate companies (any data to support that?). What rock have you been hiding under? Are you not aware of what real estate companies are on-line these days and what they are doing? And then the implication that all on-line real estate companies offer discounts and rebates.
The whole article smacks of sensationalism, generalizations, erroneous reporting, and, dare I say, just a bit of insult to the real estate profession. And maybe to home buyers as well.