In the movie, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Baudelaire children's Aunt Josephine has an irrational fear of Realtors. But is it so irrational?
I met a young lady today who started our conversation with, "Don't take this the wrong way but I don't like real estate agents!" And then she tells me why and I completely get it.
People get burned by bad real estate agents and it's very hard for them to come back from that experience. After all,
a home buyer is making the biggest financial purchase of their life. They need to know they can trust and count on their Realtor to be advocating on their behalf every step of the way!
To be clear, this young lady had not done her homework.
She saw a house she liked and called the listing agent who had a sign in the front yard. She asked the listing agent for a tour and while they toured the house, she told the listing agent how much she loved the house.
She said, "The listing agent wasn't answering my questions about the condition of the house. I felt like I couldn't trust her!" What she didn't know is the listing agent is representing the seller and has a fiduciary duty to his client. These fiduciary duties include; loyalty, confidentiality, disclosure, obedience, accounting and reasonable care and diligence.
Buying a home for the first time?
Here are a few things to consider before going to an Open House or calling a real estate agent.
Buying your second or third home? The rules have changed. Know your rights as a home buyer.
- You have the right to full and uncompromised representation - Research your options as a home buyer. There are buyer agents and exclusive buyer agents. Buyer agents work with Brokerages that list properties for sale. Exclusive Buyer Agents work with Brokerages that only represent home buyers. Their Brokerage does not list homes for sale. You will never sign a dual agency agreement with an Exclusive Buyer Agent.
- Interview your real estate agent - Check their reviews and see how quickly they respond to emails, texts, and phone calls. You want a responsive agent who will go see a property as soon as it comes on the market.
- Do not call a listing agent - If you want to have full representation, don't contact the listing agent. This person, as I've mentioned earlier, has signed an agreement with the seller to represent their best interest. You need someone to be on your side 100%.
- Don't disclose your interest in a property at the Open House - The agent at the Open House works for the Brokerage representing the seller. While this person will answer your questions about the property, remember that they work for the seller. You want to work with a real estate agent who will advocate on your behalf. Someone who will negotiate the sales price, negotiate the repairs and credits found in the home inspection and be looking out for you during the entire home buying process.
- Learn the commute & the neighborhoods that work for you - In Washington DC and Baltimore, the commute times can be brutal. Consider your drive times and talk to your spouse about what makes the most sense for both of you. Drive the neighborhoods of interest and check out what the communities have to offer.
Buying a home is challenging but it can be fun. Do your homework and interview agents to be sure you have an advocate on your side!