You cannot become a successful agent in real estate if you do not love working with people and helping them find the home of their dreams. Agents are fully aware that how they work with clients will go a long way in building their business. That said, professionals in real estate such as buyer’s agents observe a code of conduct that is specific to their industry.
Here are 7 rules to keep in mind when working with a buyer’s agent, according to FlintProperty.
- Do Not Contact a Listing Agent When You Are with a Buyer’s Agent
A buyer’s agent and a listing agent are both licensed professional real estate agents. But a listing agent represents the interests of the seller. Thus when you have appointed a buyer’s agent, do not enlist the services of a listing agent.
Some buyers think that by getting more agents onboard, they can cast a wider net into the real estate market and reel in more properties closer to their needs and wants.
But not all agents function in the same way. A listing agent is not advisable as it may expose the transaction to conflicts of interest. It is also disrespectful to the buyer’s agent whose intent is to protect your interest.
- Come Up With Your List of Expectations
Standards are not only expected in the type of home you want. You should also come up with a list of expectations when it comes to your working relationship with the buyer’s agent.
Before the agent even takes the first step in helping you find your dream home, set the guidelines for the working arrangement. If you are holding down a full- time job and have family, discuss your preferred schedule for viewing homes.
Let the agent know if you want him or her to provide transportation when visiting prospective homes. Many agents won’t mind picking you up at the home or office.
Lastly, it is very important to have close communication with your agent. You can schedule weekly meetings or set protocols for e-mails, text messaging and landline calls.
- Interview Potential Agents
Don’t hire the first buyer’s agent who comes your way. Come up with a short list of candidates and take the time to interview all of them.
Having tenure and industry knowledge are not enough reasons to hire an agent. You have to make sure you are comfortable working with them. The interview will help you identify which candidate is right- fit for the job.
Prepare a list of questions before the interview. Ask all candidates to provide references and sales figures, if possible. Don’t pull any punches during the interview and take note of unfavorable behavioral cues:
- Does the candidate tend to cut you off?
- Does the candidate sound annoyed during questioning?
- Does the candidate frequently fidget and look disinterested?
- Does the candidate entertain phone calls during the interview?
These unfavorable behavioral cues are potential red flags that you should look out for. It could foreshadow a difficult working relationship with the agent.
- Be Professional
Just because you are the client does not give you the right to undermine the agent’s schedule. In the same that you want to be respected, you should likewise extend respect and courtesy to the agent.
- Show up on time during meetings.
- Do not make changes on the planned schedule without advising the agent.
- Contact the agent if you are running late and ask if he or she wishes to reschedule.
- Do not set meetings only to miss them.
- Respond to e-mails and text messages within 24 hours from receiving them.
- Understand That Buyer’s Agent Get Paid a Commission
There is a common misconception that only listing agents get paid and hiring a buyer’s agent is a free service. That is not true. No professional works for free.
A buyer’s agent gets paid a commission on every successful and finalized sale. The usual arrangement is to have the buyer’s agent’s commission factored in the listing agent’s commission.
But not all buyers’ agents may work this way especially if the property came from his or her own network and not from a listing agent. Before engaging an agent, discuss and finalize the remuneration of services.
- Be Mindful of Open House Protocol
If you haven’t contracted a buyer’s agent yet, it is perfectly fine to attend open house events and auctions on your own. But observe protocol when doing so:
- Give the open house host your calling card or contact number.
- Be there as an observant but do not attempt to negotiate for the home. If you’re interested in the house, you might compromise your chances of landing it if you take the wrong approach in negotiation. In some areas, attending open homes and auctions without agent representation is frowned upon.
If you have signed up a buyer’s agent and you want to attend an open house event on your own, clear it up first with the agent. It’s all about establishing trust and transparency in the relationship. Share your opinions on the home you visited with the agent.
- Sign a Buyer’s Agent Agreement
Every arrangement that you get into should be covered by a written covenant. When contracting the services of a buyer’s agent, a handshake or an e-mail should never be enough to formalize the arrangement. Make sure there is a Buyer’s Agent Agreement to review and sign.
A formal agreement solidifies the relationship and sets the parameters of the working arrangement. Always ask for a non- exclusive buyer’s agent agreement which allows you to purchase homes from another agent. In this arrangement, the commission of the first agent is covered by the commission of the other agent.
A non- exclusive buyer’s agent agreement will protect you and give you an exit strategy in case the agent is underperforming or does not live up to expectations.
If you are not sure of buying a home, feel free to visit properties on your own and to do some research to familiarize yourself with the process. Buying a home is a life changing moment and you would want the experience to be as seamless and problem-free as possible. Once you have committed to buying a home, you can start looking for the buyer’s agent who can best fulfill your needs.