Buyers agency, and other questions to ask a buyers agent

by | Jul 22, 2012 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Happy Sunday (or in my case Friday night)~

I have a confession to make this week…I am typing up this email early….of
course I do have a reason for doing so, you see Sunday is my birthday.  Yeah, after a certain age birthdays aren’t that exciting anymore, but still…  🙂
Saturday I am spending eight hours in a car driving to/from Snohomish for my
aunts birthday party so there went my free weekend this month.  LOL  It is what we do though, right?   😀
**Sunday morning here…  Snohomish was wonderful last night, and I enjoyed spending the time with my uncle’s family…his wife (my aunt) is a blast!  I am, however, so grateful that I typed this up Friday night because I am TIRED!   :-)**

For a real estate agent your birth day also means time to renew your license.  I went online and I had to type in my education hours, and which classes I took, and of course, pay my fees.  All good and accounted for.  Earlier this week I was actually still a couple hours short of my required educational hours, but I had already signed up for a two day class.  I am now a CNE…aka Certified Negotiation Expert.  Sound cool?  It doesn’t really mean a whole lot…as while some of the class was very good and educational, there was a lot that I did NOT agree with and that I felt was misleading to the public….the very people we are supposed to work for.  So…where do I begin???

I probably start about 3-4 emails a week in my head with the plan of typing them up when I get home, but often forget.  My 2 day class this week kept my mind running with about twice that number.  On a whole, agents want to help you, and we do want to do it ethically and in your best interest.  Real estate is a customer service industry and the vast majority of us want to be your agent for life….we want to be the agent you think of if you have any real estate questions, and if you know of anyone else that is thinking about buying or selling a home.  This is a relationship business.  It really is…  However, not all agents are the same…  just like any other customer service industry we have good ones, and ones that aren’t so good.  How do you know though?  Well, you can ask friends/family for referrals, but just because your friend refers you an agent that might not be the right agent for you….it is really a personal decision.  So, again, how do you know???  Ask questions…

How long have you been in the business?
nothing wrong with new agents, they are often very excited to be working for you.  🙂  However, do you know everything about a new job when you start out?  No?  How do you learn?  …yep, experience.  So, what about the agent that has been in the business for 20 years then?  A Lot has changed in 20 years…heck, a lot has changed in the 9 years that I have been involved in real estate!  We had 4 changes to our paperwork this year alone!!  Sometimes, people can become to complacent and may not be as willing to change with the times…  Again, this is a personal choice….how do you feel about the agent’s experience?  …and
commitment?

How many clients do you work with at a time?
This is good question because some agents might be fishing for smelt (grab a net and grab all you can), and some might be fishing for salmon (wait for the good ones, and throw the rest back).  Neither approach is a good one.  I always think of meeting a new client as a form of ‘dating’.  A good agent/client relationship works because both parties want it to work.  Sometimes personalities simply don’t ‘click’, and that is ok too.  Find a buyers agent that you feel comfortable with, but please, by all means…ASK QUESTIONS!  If you aren’t sure about something, or have a concern, please, again, TALK WITH YOUR AGENT.  We are here to help, and as agents we really want to, but often we don’t know because you don’t say anything.  🙂  Remember, this adventure is all about YOU…not us.  A good buyers agent is like an excellent support system, but the focus of the home
buying adventure must be about you, the buyer…

This is also a good question because it can help you get a feel for how much time your agent might have for you. For example, I am a sole proprietor…I have  no assistant or help, so I only work with 3 active and looking buyers at a time. I limit this so that I have enough personal time for each client, and still have time for my family.  Family is very important as well….

What times/days are you available for showing?  How do you like to communicate?
Ahhhh…great question!  Does that agents times work with your schedule?  with the way you prefer to communicate?

How many homes do you sell per year?
If an agent sells mostly high end homes they may not have to sell as many homes per year as some other agents do.  For instance, I work mainly with first time home buyers so I need to help between 20-24 homes per year to make enough
to support my family.  This is my job…my profession, and yes, how I help to
support my family.  I am lucky enough to work at something that I truly enjoy,
and for that I feel blessed.  The real question is really full time vs part
time.  Is your agent a full time real estate agent, or a part time real estate
agent?  Does your agent work at another job that they are going to have to split
their time with?  Or are they going to be able to be fully committed to
you?

What is the average cost of the homes you sell?
This is pretty important as every price range is unique.  Someone who is used to selling high end homes may not be as skilled with the first time home buyer price range and vice versa.

Do you work with more sellers or buyers?  How many buyers and/or sellers did you work with last year?
This is a lot like the previous two questions, and really ties into it.  From taking our home buyer classes and from the weekly emails you know that a sellers agent and a buyers agent are two very different things….they are really polar opposites.  If an agent is more experienced, or prefers to work with sellers then you need to ask themselves how good they are going to be as
your buyers agent….and again, vice versa.

How do you feel about Dual Agency?
this is a HUGE question!  You all know how I feel about dual agency…I am a strong believer in every buyer having their own agent, and in every seller having their own agent.  I honestly believe that an agent can’t serve two masters, and in trying to do so an agent really only serves themselves.  I just don’t see the benefit to the buyer/seller in having the same agent on the one
home…  I just don’t.  Again, this is up to you…  dual agency is not illegal in Washington, it is only my opinion that it isn’t really ethical.
DISCLAIMER TIME….**I am probably going to receive some agent flack on this when I blog about it, but again, this is my opinion and based on my experience.  The next question is another question that I am sure will garner some flack from other
agents.  Please remember that every real estate agent/broker works differently…you need to ask questions to make sure that the person who you have hired to help you with your home buying adventure is a buyers agent that you feel comfortable with, trust, and don’t feel pressured by.  Also make sure that the agent is not just telling you what you want to hear.  One of the hardest parts about being a buyers agent is telling me people the ugly truth that they might not want to hear, and there are quite a few agents who won’t tell you the ‘ugly truth’ because they are afraid they will lose your business.  I am a firm believer that the ugly truth is always better than a pretty lie.  I want my clients to succeed with their home buying goals, and I think the ‘pretty lies’ sets everyone up for disappointment.  My job is to be a matchmaker….not a heartbreaker.  :-)**

Do I need to sign a Buyers Agency?
Again…one of the more important questions you can ask.  As you know from taking our home buyer classes, and from my weekly emails, you know that this again, is one of those things that I really don’t agree with….but a LOT of real estate agents
do….and there are a lot of scripts to convince you that you want to sign one.  A buyers agency agreement is where you agree, in writing, to work with that one agent for a specified length of time.  For that time period (and for a length of time after that) you are LOCKED in with that real estate agent and if you chose to fire that agent and purchase a home with a different agent you are legally contracted to provide a commission to the agent you, in essence, fired.  Many agents also write in, or can convince you that it is ok, that you provide an additional commission amount to your agent above, and beyond, the BAC (Buyer Agent  Commission) that is being offered to and split with your agent by the sellers agent.  Some scripts…

  •  “There are a lot of papers in real estate and this is just another one that I need to
    have you sign…”
  •  “By signing this form you are saying that I am your agent, and that you are my
    client.  It says that we have a working relationship and that we have
    responsibilities to one another. Without this form we don’t have a agent/client
    relationship and you are just a customer….”
  •  “I am willing, as a agent, to put my responsibilities to you in writing, in a legal
    form, so that you know that I take those responsibilities seriously.  Only a
    buyers agent who really takes these seriously will put it in
    writing…”
  •  “This is a required form in my office that I need to have you sign…”
  •  “This  piece of paper says that I am working with you, and you are working with me, and
    that we are working together to help you find a home.  These are my
    responsibilities to you, and yours to me as your agent.  As a real estate agent
    this is how I get paid….how I support my family…”
  •  “By signing this form, you become my client, and I have a fiduciary responsibility
    to you, and your goals…”

All of the above comments (in their various forms) are scripts that agents are taught, or come up with to convince you to sign a buyers/broker agreement.   Some truths…

  •  You do NOT have to sign this form.  This is a legal contract, but it is NOT a
    required one in the state of Washington…again, you are not required to sign
    this form if you do not want to.
  •  Even without signing this form, if you are a client, you are a client, and your agent
    should already have a fiduciary responsibility to you, and your goals.  If you
    have chosen to work with an agent then that agent works for you…regardless of
    whether you sign a buyers agreement or not.
  •  By signing a buyers agreement you do have the right to still fire your agent,
    HOWEVER you can be held responsible for that other agents commission.  Number
    One reason why an agent wants you sign the buyers agreement is because they are
    afraid that they might ‘lose’ your business…and therefore your paycheck.  My
    belief is that excellent client service makes for good client loyalty.
    Sometimes a relationship doesn’t work out…it happens for whatever reason, but
    that is life.  Sometimes meeting with a client is a lot like dating.  Sometimes
    the relationships is short, and sometimes long term…, but everything happens
    for a reason.  🙂 
  •  A buyers agent is FREE to the BUYER!  The buyer shouldn’t be paying for their real
    estate agent.  If a home is on the rmls, and it meets the home guidelines that
    the buyers have laid out, then the buyers agent has a responsibility to show
    that home to the buyer and do everything the buyers agent can to help the buyer
    get that home….regardless of how much the BAC (see above) is.  There are agent
    who will ask to you to pay the difference (and yes, there are scripts for that
    as well), but you can say “no”.  Be careful here because if anything is in
    writing you could be giving your agent permission not to show you homes under a
    certain amount of BAC…. 
  •  Just because an agent doesn’t choose to use these forms it doesn’t mean that they
    don’t take their responsibilities seriously, and every agent is held to the same
    ethics, and standards…with or without a buyers agreement signed. 
  •   There is no standard time for a buyer to find a home.  I have had clients find a home
    in 2 days, and clients who needed 3 years.  Every buyers home buying adventure
    is different.
  •  You do not need to sign a buyers/broker agreement for your agent to get paid. 
  • A buyers agent only gets paid after you get keys.  Be wary of an agent who tries to slip one in when writing the offer.

I could go on all day about this topic, but I think I have taken enough of your time today.  As always, if you are looking for a buyers agent, I hope to be able to help you with your home buying adventure!  I want to be your agent…for life.  🙂  I am always available for questions…

If you know anyone who is thinking about buying a home, our next class is Saturday, July 28, 2012, at the Vancouver YMCA located at 11324 NE 51st Circle from 10am-1pm    With reservations, lunch is included…. 🙂  Don’t forget to stop by and see us at the Clark County Fair 8/3 – 8/12…. we have prizes to give away…  😀

Please let me know if you have any questions!  And again as always, if you are looking for a buyer’s agent, please give me a call or drop me an email…I would love to help you with your home buying adventure!

Please call, email, text, or even facebook me (at Tracie DeMars Real Estate Q&A) anytime with any questions, or if there is anything I can do to assist you with your home buying adventure! As a buyers agent, I am, as always, here to help!!
😀

Thank you again for your business and for your referrals!

If there is anything you would like to see on here…please let me know and I will make it a weekly note…as always…if you have already purchased a home, or no longer would like to receive these emails from me, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from receiving any more.

Thank you again for attending the home buyer education classes, and I hope that you will continue to refer the classes out to your friends, family, and co-workers. Upcoming class dates and times are located at www.freehomebuyerclasses.com. Just click on the link on the left hand side. Or you can go to www.learningtobuyahome.com and click the links.
We appreciate your referrals and word of mouth! Also, if you have somewhere that we can place the flyers at, please let me know….
:-D

Next Week:  Home Loans Pros/Cons  (sorry!  this was supposed to be this week, but I am waiting for updated information from my lender.  It will be next weeks!)
Last Week:  Why is your rent going up? …and other frequently asked buyer questions

Remember that you can always go to ‘Free Home Buyer Education’ on Facebook for all of my weekly blogs and upcoming class dates/times/locations. I post the weekly blogs on there as well.

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
;-D

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA
360-903-3504

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