Marshall and I were leaving the settlement office with our client. She had just bought her first house and we were saying our goodbyes when she turned to us and said,
"So what are you guys going to do now?"
When we explained we are working with other home buyers she was surprised. We had spent so much time corresponding and house hunting with her that she didn't know we had other clients. Wow! It was my turn to be surprised.
But after thinking about it, I understood. We answered her emails, phone calls, and texts promptly. We worked around her schedule, as best we could, to tour houses. We helped her find local lenders, home inspection companies, and settlement companies. This is what we do to serve and advocate for home buyers, however, it's certainly not all we do!
What does a Realtor do for a buyer?
Explain How to Buy a Home - Your buyer agent should answer all your questions & guide you through every step of the process. They should help you find a local lender, a settlement company, and home inspectors. A good buyer agent will provide a book or manual on How to Buy a Home. Your agent will act as a coordinator for the transaction by communicating with lenders, settlement attorneys, listing agents and inspectors.
Stay up to date on market conditions - A good agent knows what's happening in their local market. They are checking on new listings, price changes and what's sold. They communicate with their buyer and suggest seeing a listing if it fits the buyers' needs.
Provide neighborhood information - You need to have as much information as possible about neighborhoods and communities so you can make an informed decision. Your buyer agent can be your community information source! They should provide links to the Chamber of Commerce, County Planning office, school information, childcare information and more.
Your Buyer Agent should ask, "What do you need?"
Schedule house tours & gather information - Once you have determined where you want to live, you and your buyer agent will see homes for sale. Your agent should be in contact with the listing agent for any house of interest. Acting on your behalf, a good buyers agent gathers lots of information about a property and the surrounding community.
Anticipate a home buyers needs - Buying a home can be stressful. A home buyer should not have to worry about what's happening next in the process. When you are in the hands of a qualified experienced buyer agent, they are one step ahead. They act as your guide which means you know what's coming up next. I have found this is the most critical aspect of the working relationship. When you develop trust with your buyer agent, you can focus on finding the right home.
Negotiating the contract - Your contract offer should be carefully written and reviewed by you and if you would like, an attorney. The details of your contract may include; a 7 day home inspection period, 21-day financing contingency, 14-day appraisal contingency, radon contingency and/or any other detail that fits the property. Only after careful review should you submit a contract offer. A good buyer agent will help you write the strongest offer at the best price.
Take care of every detail - A good buyer agent is scheduling inspectors, watching deadlines and facilitating all details between buyers and sellers/listing agents. Your agent should be in contact with your lender and know the stages of your loan and what happens with the appraisal.
The list above gives a general idea of what a buyer agent does for a home buyer. A good buyer agent will modify their service depending on the home buyers needs.
For example, in the Washington D.C. area, we help many families move from overseas. Our State Department home buyers start their home search months before they come to the United States.
For military homebuyers, the time constraints and deployments create another type of challenge. We often house hunt with one military spouse while face-timing with the other! If you are in the military and making a move, here's a link to the PCS checklist on Military.com
Enjoy your home buying adventure!