I was working with a buyer's agent on one of my listings this year that quite simply put did not represent her clients well. It was probably one of the first times in my career that I regretted having to split the commission. She did not earn it.
I met the agent once when I showed my listing to her buyers. They wanted to return the following day for a second look and to get a contractor's estimate for some modifications they were planning. I arranged for a second private tour on extremely short notice. The buyers' agent did not show. I was present during the home inspection as well as the well yield test. The buyers' agent did not show up for either appointment. She also did not show up for the final walk-through leaving her buyers hanging.
The contract that we ratified included one addendum that was to her buyers' disadvantage (I would have used a different one, covering all the bases for my buyers). When her buyers had a question about property use, she asked me to look it up for her instead of verifying the information herself. I am always happy to assist and do my due diligence but when working as a buyer's agent I go straight to the source for any information sought knowing it's the most reliable. Throughout the entire contract period, the agent's communication was pushy and unpleasant, repeatedly asking me for documents that I had already submitted. She did not know because she didn't appear to check her emails regularly, relying on her transaction coordinator instead.
I have met a lot of outstanding buyer's agents in my 19 years in the business, many I would love to do business with again.* This buyer's agent is not one of them. I would go as far as cautioning my future sellers if an offer with her name on it comes across my desk again.
When you set out to buy your first, second, or third.. home in Silver Spring, MD beyond, you may be interviewing several agents or asking family and friends for referrals. You'll be spending a lot of time with your buyer's agent, sharing personal details and trusting them with one of your biggest purchases, you should absolutely do your due diligence and ask a few questions.
Need a buyer's agent in Silver Spring, MD, and beyond? A few qualifying questions to ask (in no particular order):
1. What is your availability? It's important to know if your agent's availability aligns with your schedule, some have other careers and do not do Real Estate full-time. That may not necessarily be a problem but when you have to jump quickly to view homes before they are gone and/or get a preferred appointment slot, availability can be a decision maker.
2. Will you be present at all appointments? Apparently, there are agents out there who do not bother attending appointments after the contract has been ratified. There are also brokerages who will send different agents for showing or other appointments and have entirely different agents write the offer(s) and negotiate on your behalf. This works for some buyers, but if you prefer working with one agent and building a trusting relationship with the same, these types of brokerages (or teams) may not be the best fit.
3. Are you going to handle the transaction yourself? Again, there are different business models. Some agents hand the ratified contract over to a transaction coordinator or other team member and just trust that it will run its course. Whether I am representing sellers or buyers, I very much prefer working with the other agent directly. I have found that the smoothest transactions are those where both sides communicate well and are on top of all deadlines and details. When a problem arises - as it often does - it is much easier to navigate and find solutions.
4. What is your level of experience representing buyers? Asking your potential buyer's agent how many transactions they've closed thus far this year may not give you an accurate picture of their level of experience. A better question to ask is: How many times have you renewed your license? Especially in a tough market, experience can make all the difference.
5. Are you an ABR® (Accredited Buyer's Representative)? REALTORS® who have earned the ABR® designation completed specialized training, demonstrated commitment to delivering an excellent buyer experience, and have a proven track record. It is not required to have the designation in order to represent buyers, and you can have a great experience and successful closing by choosing a REALTOR® who is not an ABR®. But consider the commitment it represents and the investment in education. You may find that these are important criteria for you.
Looking to purchase a home or investment in another part of the country, or the world? Please reach out. I know the best agents and am happy to connect you with someone with a proven track record - friendly to boot - who will work diligently to get you to the closing table. I am also a CIPS® (Certified International Property Specialist).