How to Find a Good Agent
When we last left Hadley and her friend Sally, they had started interviewing agents to help Hadley buy her first home. The first agent (not an exclusive buyer’s agent) did not seem to have enough time to answer all of Hadley’s questions, so the young women discuss the next step. “I don’t really understand the difference between all the types of agents, do you?” mused Sally to Hadley. “I used the listing agent when I bought but I am pretty sure she said she was my agent, too. How exactly does that work?”
“I agree, that is a good question,” agreed Hadley, wondering why Sally had not asked it of her agent at the outset. “Let’s ask about that when we talk to the next agent we are interviewing. I found one on-line who appears to ONLY represent buyers. That seems like a good place to start to me.”
“Sweet,” said Sally.
Hadley and Sally schedule the next appointment with the “exclusive” buyer’s agent. They decide to spend some time on-line creating a list of homes they want to see with the agent if they decide to use her. Armed with the list, they go to the appointment.
The agent is ready for them at the appointed time and ushers them into her office, asking if they would like anything to drink. “Hmmm,” thinks Hadley “nice client service so far.” Before the home shoppers can pull out their list, the agent hands them a “Consumer Notice” form and goes over the types of agency the state allows in residential real estate transactions. She explains that selling agents (listing agents) represent the seller and have a duty to them, buyer agents are only representing buyers and dual agents are when the agent does both. Sally asks if a selling agent can be a buyer agent, and is told that any agent can legally act in any capacity at any time. But if it is for the same transaction, then it is dual agency and with that type of agency, the duties to the two parties are reduced. She further explains that she ONLY represents buyers and is therefore an exclusive buyer’s agent. She has no listings to tout, her company takes no listings and she never represents sellers.
Hadley perks up at this and thinks that makes sense to her. But before she can ask about her list of homes to see, the agent asks if she has pre-qualified with a lender. This is starting to annoy Sally, who wants to go out home shopping right away. “So she has to be pre-qualified before you will show us any homes?” “No”, replies the agent with a smile, “but if she sees one she likes, we can’t really submit a good offer without that so it makes sense to start early to get that done. It takes a while to get all the paperwork together and have the lender run the preliminary checking. Also, you might find out that you are not qualified for the price range you are looking at, which would be disappointing for you. Now, should we look at your list?”
Hadley and Sally hand her the addresses of the homes they liked on-line. The agent nods at the first home. “I have seen this one,” she acknowledges. “It looks nice in the photos, but it has been vacant for almost a year because of some stucco problems in that community. Notice the cobwebs across the front walk?”
• Hadley is making a wise move in finding an agent she is comfortable with before going to look at homes.
• Sally, like many homebuyers, really enjoys the shopping part of the process but does not enjoy the tedious parts like learning about agency and qualifying for a loan.
• Hadley may actually qualify for a program that helps with down payments or other options that might affect the price she can afford. So it makes good sense to talk a lender early in the process.
• Agents who take the time to see new listings when they come on can save buyers a lot of time by “previewing” homes and eliminating the bad ones.
To avoid these issues and others when buying a home, use the services of an experienced, trustworthy exclusive buyer’s agent. Sage Realty is one of the ONLY exclusive agencies in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Even if you are buying in another market, ask us to refer you to the best EBA in that area. If you are a first-time home buyer, your fears will be eliminated. And if you have bought a home before, you will have a completely different experience. Contact Sage today.